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W ollensak 














Made by Douglas Perham and Erv Rasmussen at the New 
Almaden Museum, New Almauen, California, June, 1963 

Early wireless in the U.S. 

Life story of Douglas Perham. 

Cy Elwell and Federal Telegraph Co. 

1912 — De Forest's discovery in Palo Alto. 

Discussion of early tubes. 

Marconi case of the Perham collection: items 1 

through 36. 

Marconi case: items 37 to 69. 

Letters from archives of Marconi Co. 

Story of Alahlon Loomis who sent wireless signals in 
early 1860s. 

Story of Dr. Charles Herrold told in detail by Perham 
Letters re herrold equipment and long distance wire- 
less telephone events. Also news clippings. 
Interview with Terry Hansen, early student of Herrold 

June, 1963 * at the New Almaden Museum, New Almaden 


Tape 1 , Side 1 

I Early wirelessMu t.hp TT*£* 1898 , troop transport 

corning from Phillipines sent message to station 
in the Cliff House, San Francisco* 1901 , series 
of stations in Hawaiian Islands* 1901 , Marconi’s 
first U*S* station, Nantucket Island* 1905, Mar- 
coni station on Mt * Tamalpais* 

43 Life story of Douglas Perham * Born in Duarte, Calif* 
in 1885 . Father a teacher and headmaster* High 
school in Stockton* 1893 , World’s Fair in Chicago* 
Visited George V/estingh^use and Nikola Tesla* 
Westinghouse started his collecting career with a 
lamp and socket* 1898 , Perham in Palo Alto* Im- 
porting X-ray tubes from Germany* Crookes tube 
in collection built at Harrison Lamp Works, New 
Jersey for Thomas Edison* 1902, installed first 
X-ray on Pacific Coast in doctor’s office in Palo 
Alto* Bought Cashel’s Plumbing Company buildings 
at 913 Emerson Street* He and Joe Baker had spar'k 
sets — early hams* 1913 got his commercial license* 

1 8 5 St o ry of Cy Elwell and Federal Telegraph Co • El we 1 1 

be^g^rW^erested in radio telephony after checking 
a /radio telephone system for Fenshaw Brothers, Oakland 
lawyers, about 1905* 1903, Valdemar Poulsen arc 

system* Elwell bought patent rights for U*B, use* 

David Starr Jordan subscribed $500 for project* 

1909, Poulsen Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Co*, 
first communications company in America to use wire- 
less as a medium* Out of this came Wireless Devel- 
opment Co*, Federal Telegraph Co*, Mackay Radio, IT&T* 
Doug Perham first employee* 

1912--De Forest’s discovery * Van Etten, Logwood 
and de Forest, at 913 Emerson, discovered audion 
tube would oscillate, could be used as a generator 
of high frequency current* Description of circum- 
stances • 

Early tubes * Discussion of tubes by de Forest, 
Perham, Hyde, Moorehead, Cunningham, McCandless* 
De Forest’s first triode was tubular — in the Per- 
Iiam collection* 

Abstract, Tape 1 , Side 1--2* 



324 Item 1« Marconi loose coupler * Used to receive 
signals from the PouLs an station* 

Item 2 » Electrose insulator. Famous, widely used. 

1909 used by Dr. Herrold's station. 

Item 5 . Leyden .jars . Crude but efficient condensers 
from Marconi station* Moskicki condensers an improve- 
ment • 

Item 4. Stanley AC ammeter . Stanley Kelly Co • 
produced first polyphase motor after Tesla developed 
ac motor. 

Items 6 , 7 . Thordarson transformers ■ About I 9 J 5 . 
Started with apparatus for doctors, therapeutic 
macnines * Still in business* 

Item 9 . 5 Murdock condenser sections. Murdock 

in Portland only source for amateurs* Prior to this 
had to make their own with glass plates, tin foil. 

Item 10 . Whitney Co. ammeter. Whitney one of early 
companies making ammeters. 

Item 11. Transmitting vario coupler. Unknown origin. 

Item 12* Marble base changeover switch. No comment* 

Item 15 . Baldwin headphones. Baldwin & Kolster 
combined to form Kolster — Baldxvin Co* Rolste^r! made 
radios in old green building. University and County Road, 
Palo Alto. 

Item 16 ♦ Two mirror galvanometers. Made by Lord 
Kelvin in England* Used in early cable receivers- 

I^em 20 . Mercury interrupter. Made in England 
by Max Levy (?) prior to Oct 12, 1899- Used in 
place of electrolytic interrupter — thicker spark. 

A complete description of this (by manufacturer?) 
is read by Perham- 

1 1 e in 21. Roller S m ith voltmeter. First meter man- 
ufacturer to bring down prices within amateur's 
pocketbook . 

Item 22. Magnetic detector. Found by E. S* Pridham 
who founded Magnavox. Pridham worked with Peter 

Abstract, Tape 1, Side I --3 

MARCONI CASE (cont'd) 


Jensen in Perham’s laboratory in Palo Alto* This 
detector is very early, handmade • 

Item 2k* Marconi relay* From an elaborate Mar- 
coni receiver* First polarized relays to be built 
with great sensitivity. Used in Western Union and 
also wireless work* 

Item 26 * Western Electric tangent galvanometer . 
Built in great quantity by Western Electric Tor 
Western Union* Used extensively by all communica- 
tions companies. 

Item 26 . Decade box* Made by Queen 8c Co* > London* 
Very early* 

560 Item 29* Edeirnan galvanometer* No comment. 

Item 30 * Spark coils* Originally designed Tor 
ignition systems on early single cylinder engines* 
Taken over by amateurs as source of spark power* 
McCarty, Herr old started out with spark coils* 

Item 52* Marble base key by Picard Co* which later 
became Wireless Apparatus Co* 

Item 33* Two magnetic relay keys* Description 
of Lafayette Station* 

I tem 36 * Frahm frequency meter* Ge r m an* P e r h am 
used one in ac lighting plant* Uses vibrating reed* 


Abstract, Tape 1, Side 1 — 4 

June, 1963 , at the New Almaden Museum, New Almaden 

Tape 1, Side 1 (cont'd) 


609 Item 37 . Marconi speaker. 40~50 years old. Ampli- 

fied dot and dash signals* 

Item 39 • Chaffee quenched gap. Made by Telef unken. 

Item 4l» Leeds Northrup instruments. First American 
supplier of good devices. 

Item 42. Russian condensers . From the Marconi Co. 

Item 43 ♦ 366 Murdock condenser. Every ham had one • 

665 Item 45 • Miscellaneous carborundum detectors * 

Greenleaf W« Pickard was prolific producer, patents 
on many combinat ions • 

Item 46. El Company potentiometer. Shown in catalog 
of 1910. Hugo Gernsback, founder of El Co, Electro- 
Importing Co. Also magazines: Electric ? Writer 

Modern Electrics, Radio News, Electrical Experimenter. 

IlO Item 53- Electrolytic detectors. Discussion of 

component parts, manufacture. 

Item Miscellaneous crystal holders • 

Item 55» Uncle A1 1 s miracle receiver . Still in 
business in Oakland. 

Item 59* Slaby-Arco coherer . Invented by German, 

Braun, adapted by Slaby— Arco . Used extensively by 
Marconi. Description of action. 

Ite m 60 . Steinite interfere n ce eliminator . 1920 . 

Item o l . Variable Marconi condenser* In brass housing. 

769 Item 62 . Roister waverneters * History of Roister Co. 

Roister radio compass manufactured by Federal Tele- 
graph Co* Dr* Roister first to build a parabolic 
reflector* First one here to experiment with short 
waves • 

Item 69 . One IP receiv er and two SE 1^3 receivers- 




Abstract) Tape 1> Side 1--5 • 


821 Item 69 (cont'd) 

Built in World War I by many manufacturers for the 
Bureau of Steam Engineering- Designed by Pickard- 

852 Letters between Marconi Co- and National Wireless. C o - 
From archives of New Almaden Museum- 

893 Story of Dr« Mahlon Loomis - From Perham archives- 

News story from New York Evening Mail- Mahlon Loomis 
a dentist who transmitted signals without wires in 
early i 860 ' s • 

Story of Dr- Charles Herrold - Told in detail by Perham- 
1857-19^8 - San Jose High School) Stanford- 1909) radio 
school in San Jose- 1909) first broadcasting station-- 
now IvCBS- 

and long distance radio telephone events- 
Letters re Herrold equipment >/ National Wireless Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Co- > Marconi Co- All from Perham 
archives- Also newspaper clippings- 1913-1915* 

446- Interview with Mr- Terry Hansen - Early student of 
575 Herrold. Ham 5 navy; commercial license in 1912- 

(Interview continued on side 2 * ) 




Transcriber's notes: 

Tape 1, Side 1, item 3 in Marconi case: Perham gives 

the spelling as Moscicki; other sources give Moskicki. 

Tape 1, Side 1, indicator 40 , states de Forest stayed 
in Palo Alto until 1915* His autobiography and letters 
state he left in May > 1913*