Page images

as one message seemed to leap up and drown out The messages may thus be picked out of the sky all the rest. It is possible to "cut out" a par- and telegraphed or telephoned in an interval ticular message from a score of others.

measured by seconds only. "That is what we call a dead-head message," "It is as easy to recognize an operator from explained the operator. “It comes from a steamer his touch as you pick out a familiar voice in a 400 miles out at sea, telling her owners when she crowd," the operator explained in the next lull. will get in. It is the commonest of all messages.” “They sound much alike to you, but you will soon The operator nodded to his assistant, who reached get to know a man's speed, and touch of the key, over and pulled a lever on the wall. The quiet whether light, strong, or hesitating. Almost of the room was broken by the whir of a dynamo every operator, besides, has some little trick of

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

suddenly released, while the room was lit up his Then there is a great deal of differwith a vivid greenish glare. From above came ence in the machines themselves. Let me show the sharp crack of the sending instrument noti- you just what I mean." fying the steamer far out at sea that her mes- A touch of the arrow on the broad dial, and a sage had been received.

single message suddenly leaped out of the conEvery preparation had been made in the great fusion. "See how powerful that message is,” he station for economizing time. At any moment, explained. “That comes from the Government some message asking for help may be picked up, station near by at the Brooklyn navy-yard. They when every minute is priceless. Without mov- are sending to Washington. The message is in ing from his chair the operator can call up the cipher, so I can't read it. Now take this one." entire country. He sits with a telegraph instru- The operator translated rapidly. "Will be ment and a long-distance telephone at his elbow. over after school . . ;; that 's from two kid amateur operators talking, probably not more mercial messages lets up, the great station does than fifty miles away. Here 's another: 'Will its best work. The delicate instruments are meet you at dock with Mother.' The message is tuned to catch the faintest wireless vibration being relayed to an incoming ocean steamer. And from oversea. When the conditions are at their so it goes."

best, messages leap the entire width of the AtA moment later the operator caught his own lantic, or wireless calls are distinctly heard from call. An incoming transatlantic liner, several far west of the Mississippi. It is common to hundred miles out, was clamoring to deliver her talk with Panama, and soon, when the new stamessages, and so, for the next few minutes, the tion is installed in South America, despatches will operator wrote busily on his type-writer, taking be sent from points far south of the equator. down, as they came in, the numerous despatches The alarm call of the skies is the famous addressed to all parts of the country. The mes- CQ D or SOS. The distress signal is reserved sages were quickly relayed, some by telephone, for cases of extreme necessity, and when they others by telegraph, to their destinations. are heard, everything is dropped, and the ma

“Many of the amateur wireless operators, boys chinery of the station is put in operation to catch and girls, too, are very successful, and they are the message and forward it to its destination. The all pretty good at it.” The operator took up the signal is picked up by the great New York staconversation where he had been interrupted. tions much oftener than one imagines, or on an "Sometimes just with a wire strung up like a average of about once a week. Many of these clothes-line between trees, they are able to pick distress signals are from small vessels, often up many long-distance messages. I know one from freighters which have broken down and boy who catches messages sent out from Panama. need a tug to bring them in. And since there is I understand that a boy near here caught the no danger to life, the public does not hear of news of the Titanic disaster among the first.” them.

This seemed a good time to ask whether the One of the most remarkable instances of the wireless amateurs make as much trouble as some SOS call in the experience of the New York people imagine. Both the operators said, good- station occurred some months ago, when a large naturedly, that they were a bit of a nuisance, passenger steamer ran aground down in the Baalthough they had a good deal of sympathy for hamas. She was more than 1000 miles south of them, nevertheless. Most of these amateur opera

New York. The moment after she struck, she tors do not wish to be annoying, and respond began sending out the SOS for all she was very promptly when they are asked to keep worth. It was late at night, everything was quiet. Their sending apparatus is not often very quiet, and this station caught practically the first powerful, and no difficulty is likely to arise message, clear and distinct. Word was sent at except when they are within a few miles of the once to her owners, so that they were informed great stations.

The wireless companies expect within a few minutes after the accident. Then that this will soon be regulated by law, to the there were the Titanic and the Republic. In the satisfaction of all.

old days before wireless telegraphy, these ships “As a matter of fact,” the operator explained, would have gone down and the world would "the wireless disturbance from the amateur wire- probably never have known what happened to less is limited to a few hours each day. The them. boys get busy early in the evening, soon after There is a great deal of interesting informadinner, and they talk as only boys can, until bed- tion floating about the air every hour of the day. time. When there is nothing coming in, I like Every steamship line, or wireless station, whether to pick out their messages and listen to them. for private, commercial, or government use, has They begin by sending out their own particular its own code or signal which it sends out private call. There are thousands of them all before beginning a message. Upward of 200 over the country. Then, with their apparatus ad- such signals are in use within striking distance justed, they begin to gossip about everything of New York. There is even a wireless newsunder the sun. They ask each other for the paper service which is sent out broadcast at regbase-ball or foot-ball scores, make appointments ular intervals. The ships far out at sea are on to meet the next day, compare their lessons. And the lookout for this news, which is posted on the they quarrel and talk back and forth by wireless ships, or printed daily, in the ships' newspapers. in regular boy-fashion."

The news contains a summary of the happenings The important long-distance work is usually of importance, fires, elections, accidents, even done late at night. When the amateurs are interviews with prominent people, and winds up safely tucked away in bed and the rush of com- with the quotations from the stock-exchange.

Vol. XXXIX. - 140.

There was a time when the keepers of lonely exact position, even should it be in the midst of lighthouse stations were greatly to be pitied, and the thickest fog or most blinding storm. The when some went insane from solitude. Soon wireless, or blind, lighthouses flash their position,

and the master of a ship receiving messages from two or more such points on shore can readily figure out his own position by a simple process

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

FASTNET LIGHT, OFF THE COAST OF IRELAND. these men will be in touch with the affairs of

IV the world, and learn the news as quickly as the man who reads the latest editions of the newspapers. For it has been proposed that in some of the lighthouses along our coasts a wireless equipment should be installed, and supplement the work now done by the beacon light. The advisability of doing this is being carefully considered the by Government experts, and tests are being made with these “blind lighthouses” as they are called.

This plan seems very reasonable. To-day these great land beacons throw out a flash-signal or sweep of light, so that a vessel can recognize a particular lighthouse miles at sea. In very clear weather the most powerful of these lights are visible upward of forty miles, most of them, how

W ever, having a much shorter range. A warning by wireless may, of course, be thrown hundreds

VERTED INTO A "BLIND LIGHTHOUSE." of miles to sea, telling a vessel many hours in advance that she is approaching a dangerous of triangulation. Such an extension of the woncoast. Nor is this all. For, in the experiments derful system of wireless communication makes now being carried on, these wireless signals do us realize that we have probably only begun to more than warn ships at sea of the perils of the enjoy the benefits that this great discovery is shore-they actually enable a ship to calculate its destined to confer on humanity.


("Simple Thoughts on Great Subjects")



No matter what else we do in this world, we must Now, while every man who makes a living is make a living. Of course some people inherit not a genius, yet the real joy of creating can beenough money to keep them alive, but I think we long to each of us in just as real and true a way. shall see, before our chat is ended, that even they, If we put into farming, or banking, or our school too, must, in a sense, make a living.

work, the sense of making something, we get the In the first place, we must keep ourselves alive. great treasure out of it. When we fill any task That means we must have food, and clothing, and with ourselves, we make something. A girl says, shelter. And these mean money. And that means “I made the room tidy,” which simply means she helping to keep some one else alive. The world put something of herself into the disorderly room, does not pay us for being here, but demands pay and so beautified it. After she had made it tidy, it from us.

We enjoy a privilege for which we reflected something of herself; it looked like some must pay. At first glance this seems hard; but, idea of order such as she had in her own mind. looked at more closely, it is those who regard life A boy says, “I made a good recitation in school

a privilege, something worth having, even yesterday"; and he is right, for although the lesthough it costs a great deal, who really enjoy life. son was already there, it had to wait for him to Very few great songs about happiness have come come along and make it a recitation. from countries where a living may be had for So it is everywhere. Making anything means, nothing. In general, it is true that very few have no matter how simple the task, that we bring out come from people who just live on fruit that something that did not exist before; and that that drops off the trees into their open hands. They something is to some degree like the maker of it. pick up a living, but do not make it.

We get out what we put in. If any one wants to In civilized lands like ours, making a living be miserable, the surest way is just to do things has come to mean that every one must earn at without putting his whole heart and self into least enough to prevent him from begging them. Think of the mere outside of the tasks, others to keep him alive. And it is in this way and they are not worth doing. But once put yourthat we must first look at the matter. When we self into them, and all that is changed. leave school or college, we must begin to prove Here is a letter from my friend. The writing to the world that we are able to carry ourselves is just some scrawls of ink, not very graceful. along. But it is not particularly pleasant to think Nothing very wonderful here, surely. But I open of going on year after year doing the same thing, it, I begin to read it, I smile, then I laugh, then or even a number of different things, merely to I read farther and farther on; and when I reach prove that we can stay alive. I am sure we must my friend's name at the end it, I have really find something more than this in making a living, found him. Why, then it is n't just a letter: it 's or we will be a sad race of people.

my friend himself! He has literally shut himself First of all, then, there is the joy of really mak- up in an envelop, put a two-cent stamp on himing something. Every boy and girl knows that self, and talked with me. the dullest day is brightened the moment we say, The wonderful part of making a living is that, “Let 's make something." Whether it be paper by making it, we show the world who we are: dolls, or toy boats, or an engine, or any one of a We carve ourselves out of our tasks. dozen things, the charm lies in the word "make.” So, then, we can go a step farther, and say that The minutes fly, and even if we have only half when we make a living, we make ourselves. finished what we started to do, we have entirely Some one has put it this way: “A shoemaker driven away the dullness of the day. To make makes the shoe, but the shoe also makes the shoesomething, to actually bring something into exis- maker.” If it were not for the shoes, there really tence, is, perhaps, the highest joy in life. The would n't be a shoemaker. man who does this in a big or unusual way is Now notice the word “living”— the thing we called a genius. Out of a few words he brings make. It is n't so much money that we make, into being a great poem; out of a few colors he but something far larger. We make our own paints a great picture; out of a stone he carves living. It is something entirely new; the world a beautiful statue or a great figure, like that

saw it before ! That is a wonderful of the Lion of Lucerne; out of ill-clad, undrilled thought ! The world has seen other men make men he makes an army, as Washington did. a living, but never before did it see you or me do it, nor did it ever see just the living we make. are not happy unless they are busy. To many of It has seen many boys go to school, but it is very them the securing of pleasure is a harder task much interested to see just how you are going to than our toil is to most of us. Often they don't do it. You must make the school live! You get their pleasure as they go along, but have to must, in turn, make the bank, or the church, or travel away off to Europe or, perhaps, Asia to the railroad live, and in doing that you make find it. They have to make a living by spending yourself live. You keep them and yourself alive! a great deal of money all the time, while, to many And really this, in its way, is just as great a thing simpler people, pleasure comes every day as they as making a poem, or a statue, or a picture. To go about their work. So we need not criticize or make a living is n't the dull grind that many blame these people too much; and least of all people suppose it to be. It is a constant surprise need we envy them. to us, and to every one else, too..


It 's a splendid phrase "Making a living !" It Now I promised to say a word about the people really means making a life. While we may seem who do not seem to need to make a living, the to do it just to get food and shelter, we are really people who inherit a great deal of wealth. If you doing it to get vastly greater things. I make mywatch them, you will see that they, too, work self, I make something for some one else, I help hard at making a living-in a sense. For they to make the lives of other people.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »