December 1929 Radio-Craft
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics.
Radio-Craft was published from 1929 through 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles
Radio-Craft magazine ran a monthly series of short articles paying tribute to some of shakers and movers
in the field of science - this time it was Sir
Oliver Lodge. "While Hertz was discovering radio waves in air, Lodge was determining the laws of the
corresponding activity which takes place in electrical conductors. It was Lodge who demonstrated the possibility
of radio communication, experimentally, as Marconi did its commercial value - just as Henry created the telegraph
and Morse made it of practical utility."
Men Who Made Radio - Sir Oliver Lodge
The Third of a Series
While the inventor is nowadays the most spectacular figure in the
development of a great new art, such as radio, there is always in the
background, behind the inventor, the man of "pure" science. The mathematician
and the researcher into the by-ways of Nature prepare the way; often
many years before any practical benefit is extracted from their work
by the inventor who turns it into a new, everyday necessity of life.
In no branch of human endeavor has this been so apparent as in the application
of electricity. The scientists made thousands, and millions, of painstaking
observations; the mathematicians made millions of most complicated calculations,
all in the hope that, some day, mankind could profit by their labors.
"What use is electricity?" demanded a practical man of Franklin, a century
and a half ago. "What use is a baby?" returned old Ben.
Among the greatest of the scientists whose life work has been to
contribute to the creation of radio as a separate, and most important,
branch of electricity, is the man whose thoughtful face appears upon
the cover of this issue of Radio-Craft. He it was who brought the prophetic
calculations of Maxwell and the laboratory work of Hertz to his own
generation; and he has lived to see radio, which he adopted when it
was - so to speak - an orphan child, become an honored member of every
home. More than that, it is the annihilator of space and the unifier
Oliver Lodge is in his seventy-ninth year; for over half a century
he has been a prominent figure in the scientific world. Among the countless
lines of investigation he has followed in that time, that of the oscillations
of electricity in a conductor is the most important with respect to
.our subject. While Hertz was discovering radio waves in air, Lodge
was determining the laws of the corresponding activity which takes place
in electrical conductors. It was Lodge who demonstrated the possibility
of radio communication, experimentally, as Marconi did its commercial
value - just as Henry created the telegraph and Morse made it of practical
The discoveries of Lodge in the matter of the properties of an electric
current in a liquid, and the phenomena of "ionization," have contributed
in no small degree to the building up of highly-complicated modern electric
theory; with its marvelous implications as to the theory of the universe.
Similarly, the researches of Lodge into the actions of light - which
is, after all, merely radio of invisibly-short wavelengths - are valued
steps in the history of modern science. The genius of Lodge anticipated
by many years the commonplaces of popular electricity today; the moving-coil
or dynamic speaker, for instance, having been described by him more
than thirty years ago.
As one of the most distinguished scientists of the present day, his
fame and honors are international. A great teacher as well as a great
investigator, he is a man whose wide sympathies and zeal for the spread
of science have left their mark upon every field of his activity. The
Grand Old Man of Radio is still vigorous; although for some years other
fields of inquiry have made his name most familiar to the public at
large, it is undoubtedly upon his pioneer work in the fields of electrical
oscillation and radiation that his greatest permanent fame will rest.