Before Bloomberg LBO’d all cities into brainless rubble, city governments were a hub of mechanical invention and innovation.
Power plants and streetcar lines were municipal. City street departments had clever mechanics who were free to build devices that served their customers.
Local example: Back in the ’60s, Spokane’s street department invented a hydraulic gate that fitted on the right end of a snowplow. Drivers could drop the gate to avoid plowing in a driveway. After the Bloomberg global LBO, all energy and money went into insane genocidal “environmental” mandates, and the old luxuries had to go away.
Here’s a surprising invention from 1914, when wireless was in the early stages of exploration and experimentation.
Baltimore needed to inspect and fix its underground power lines. The tunnels occasionally flooded, so the service truck needed a pumping system and its own generator and lights as well as electrical tools and measuring equipment. The mechanics went above and beyond with the first radio dispatch system.
While used for transporting repair crews and supplies, it is also rigged as a portable pump, carries a complete set of tools and it has an independent lighting plant and a wireless telegraphy outfit, so that communication can be maintained between the office and the machine.
So far as is known this is the first vehicle used by a municipality that has wireless equipment. The purpose is to economize the time of the men and to better the service by insuring quick response to emergency calls. In service the machine has given extremely satisfactory results and has proven to be unusually economical, for unnecessary driving has been obviated and the men can always be sent wherever needed.
They experimented with earth grounds and found that the frame was a sufficient comparison point for this purpose.
It was also demonstrated that direct earth connection was unnecessary, inasmuch as the iron framework of the chassis serves admirably as a counterpoise ground. During the preliminary tests the station never failed to intercept any message sent to it within a radius of 10 miles of the sending station, and even under the most unfavorable conditions, with the truck running at full speed and blanketed by tall buildings, the messages were easily read.
Two-way communication would have been barely possible in 1914, but transmitters were still mostly spark-gap, unreliable and untuned. Receiving was enough for this purpose.
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Fussy footnote: Their use of the word counterpoise shows that they understood the nature of radio waves, and understood the idea of balances and bridges. Their antenna was a long wire ‘corrugated’ across the wooden roof, forming a horizontal plane above the horizontal plane of the chassis. Radio waves are transverse waves. At one end of the cycle the upper plane will be more positive than the lower plane, and at the other end the upper plane will be more negative. Both are fairly large surfaces, so they will move fairly large quantities of electrons back and forth through the input inductor.