100 Years Ago Today
Christmas Eve 1906 marked the demonstration of a device that changed the world forever. It has impacted each and every one of us. The invention continues to be a part of our every day lives because we choose to use it every day. It would be difficult to imagine life without it. Its invention paved the way for similar and more complex inventions, one of which I am using to create this weblog entry. Every time I get in my car, I use this phenomenal invention. Probably most of us do.
Some scientists even believe that if we are contacted by another species from another world, this device will be the medium they employ. SETI believes it so strongly that millions of dollars are spent on it annually.
Have you not guessed yet what this fantastic device is?
It’s the radio.
Sure, radio was a concept that was employed before Christmas Eve 1906, but it had been used only to broadcast Morse code. The concept that understandable sounds could be broadcast wirelessly was so novel that radio operators at sea were startled to hear a voice and music coming over their receivers.
Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian physicist and inventor, conceived the idea of the voice transmission and was able to put receivers on ships throughout the North and South Atlantic Oceans. On Christmas Eve, in a marvelous bit of holiday showmanship, he broadcast a reading from the Bible and a violin solo of “O Holy Night.” I guess this means that a Christmas carol was the first big AM hit.
With this broadcast, radio took off as the communication medium for the masses.
Radio wasn’t the only great invention of 1906.
1906 was a great year and paved the way for our modern culture. The muffuletta was invented in New Orleans, Louisiana, that year, and ham sandwiches have never looked back.
Pass the olive tray, please? And turn up the Christmas music on the radio!
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