19th CENTURY WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY - 1896

Regrettably the Museum does not hold a copy of the official reports for the experiments of 1896 which are mentioned in the 1897 HMS Vernon report. This in itself,  although desirable, is not a disaster because subsequently, in the 1897. pdf report, at page 109 under THEORY, the views expressed in the missing report were much altered in the light of experience.  Throughout this site, where possible, we are using ROYAL NAVAL information only, but on this occasion we have researched  the old  'Army and Navy Illustrated News' {ANIN} for mention of such data. This magazine, whilst always 'unofficial', was nevertheless closely aligned with the day to day happenings of the British Armed Forces and rarely missed a trick or a 'good' story.  More than anything else, it "flew the flag" for both the War Office and the Admiralty and as such was a most respected journal.  In every way it can be considered to be today's Navy News which serves the same purpose.  However, it wasn't until this article of 1901 that mention was made of this up and coming naval Captain and his experiments of 1896.  As you will shortly read, the euphoria experienced in 1896, though justly acclaimed and exciting, was relatively short-lived, because in the 1898 official HMS Defiance report, it states...."The experiments with the Telegraph without Connecting Wires which were commenced by Captain Jackson, and reported on in last years report, have been continued, but so far without such results as will justify the turning over of the apparatus to seagoing ships."   The telegraph without wires was a proven science, but the navy was about going to sea to fight and it was still doing this using the tried and tested {although limiting} visual signalling techniques of flag hoists, semaphore and flashing light, whilst those on terra firma were left scratching their heads. Click here to read the Army and Navy Illustrated News article on Captain Jackson which mentions the experiments of 1896, albeit without much detail  wireless telegraphy in the Royal Navy circa 1901.