Tribute to Henry Primm Broughton K2AE
1865 - 1959

Henry was one of radio's pioneers. He participated in the world's first wireless contact with Nikola Tesla in 1893.

W2IR DEDICATION SPEECH
Wm. G. Broughton, Licensee Schenectady Museum Feb. 6, 1976

Eighty-three years ago, in St. Louis, the National Electric Light Association sponsored a public lecture on high-voltage high-frequency phenomena. On the auditorium stage a demonstration was set up using two groups of equipment.

In the transmitter group on one side of the stage was a 5-kva high-voltage pole-type oil-filled distribution transformer connected to a condenser bank of Leyden jars, a spark gap, a coil, and a wire running up to the ceiling. In the receiver group at the other side of the stage was an identical wire hanging from the ceiling, a duplicate condenser bank of Leyden jars and coil--but instead of the spark gap, there was a Geissler tube that would light up like a modern fluorescent lamp bulb when voltage was applied. There were no interconnecting wires between transmitter and receiver.

The transformer in the transmitter group was energized from a special electric power line through an exposed two-blade knife switch. When this switch was closed, the transformer grunted and groaned, the Leyden jars showed corona sizzling around their foil edges, the spark gap crackled with a noisy spark discharge, and an invisible electromagnetic field radiated energy into space from the transmitter antenna wire. Simultaneously, in the receiver group, the Geissler tube lighted up from radio-frequency excitation picked up by the receiver antenna wire.

Thus wireless was born. A wireless message had been transmitted by the 5-kilowatt spark transmitter, and instantly recieved [sic] by the Geissler-tube receiver thirty feet away. There was the first public radio communication ever. The world-famous genius who invented, conducted, and explained this lecture demonstration was Nikola Tesla. (Now here is the punch line.) Tesla's twenty-eight year old assistant on stage was my father (K2AE).

Photos from the estate of W2OZH
Dedication speach from
http://teslaradio.com


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