Milestone-Proposal:Wireless Transmission between Fixed Antenna and Moving Trains, 1913
This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone Nomination
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Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old?
Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s fields of interest? (e.g. “the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences” – from the IEEE Constitution)
Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity?
Was it of at least regional importance?
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)?
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony?
Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated?
Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an Electrical Engineering Milestone? Yes
Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:
Title of the proposed milestone:
Wireless Transmission between Fixed Antenna and Moving Trains, 1913
Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:
In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:
IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):
Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.
Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):
Henry Street, Binghamton, New York
Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.
Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need.
The Milestones Plaque will be placed on the actual tower used in the experiment. It is located beyond the sidewalk on Henry St in Binghamton, New York. As the tower and plaque will be outside there is no need for visitors to go through security.
Are the original buildings extant?
Details of the plaque mounting:
How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?
The tower is accessible off the sidewalk
Who is the present owner of the site(s)?
Mr. Ari Meisel
A letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property:
A letter or email from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application:
What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?
Prior to 1913, wireless communication had only been used between two fixed stations on land or between one fixed station and one slow moving station, such as a ship at sea. It was not known whether this form of communications would perform adequately with one of the stations moving at a high rate of speed, for example a train moving at its maximum speed in 1913 of 40-55 miles per hour. The transmission between the train moving from Binghamton to Scranton at this speed, and the fixed towers at Binghamton and Scranton convincingly demonstrated that such communications were feasible, reliable and practical. For example, it was demonstrated that the length of the antenna / receiver on the train could be as small as 18 inches above the train for good communications performance. GIven the dominance of trains for high speed transportation of the early 1900's, there was a great advantage of an enabling technology to support communications from a moving train to the stations. The 1913 feasibility demonstration from this tower provided the ability for improved safety and convenience of train transportation and also spurred future development of wireless communications for other applications.
What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?
The technical obstacle consisted of understanding the correct parameters for wireless communications to succeed between a fixed antena and the antenna on a rapidly moving train.
What features set this work apart from similar achievements?
Michael C. Duffy's account of this test in Electric Railways 1880-1990 states that the test performed on November 21, 1913 was the first demonstration that wireless communication between between fixed stattions and moving trains was practical and reliable. Tests prior to then, such as those in 1909, were judged to be too primitive for dependable results. The 1913 experiments demonstrated that wavelengths of 600m-3000m and power of 1kW-5kW provided adequate communications for the train and fixed stations transmitters and receivers. It was also demonstrated that that a single tower (station) could communicate with a moving trin for over a distance of 130 miles. A series of stations could be used to cover a much longer range. This technology was rapidly adopted after its utility was shown. A severe storm in 1914 in the United States crippled most train transportation except for those lines already using wireless communication.
References to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article.
Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.