Possibly the earliest existing recording of a radio broadcast An early spark-gap telegraphic radio transmission concerning champion boxer Jack Johnson.
Prior to 1920, most radio transmissions were telegraphic messages generated using a "spark-gap" transmitting apparatus (see illustration).
It is known that during World War I some
radio broadcasts were monitored (for suspicious messages) and
wax cylinder "off the air" (aircheck) recordings were
The concensus to date is that this is not "modern" International Morse Code
(used primarily after 1920), but the original "American" or "Railroad" Morse
Here is the best translation to date
Many thanks to all who have
. JOE JEFFRIES OWES JACK JOHNSON A GOOD DEAL OF MONEY. THAT IS HE HAS MADE A FORTUNE THROUGH HIS RELATIONS WITH THE COLORED CHAMPION. IN FACT THE CALIFORNIAN HAS CLEANED UP $62218.28 SINCE NOV 17 ALL BECAUSE THE NEGRO FIGHTER INSISTED THAT THE RETIRED CHAMPION AGREE TO MEET HIM IN A FISTIC CONTEST. 1 235 46789 342156.
To learn about Jack Johnson, see:
Dr. Adrian M. Peterson reports that an article in the August 1910 Modern Electrics magazine, which indicates that details of the Johnson-Jeffries match were transmitted progressively by radio station "TG" in San Francisco, leads him to believe that this aircheck recording could reasonably be dated to shortly before 3PM on Monday July 4, 1910.
For help playing these sounds, click here.
Although the American Morse Code heard in this recording is essentially extinct, International Morse Code quite recently (May 24, 2004 on the 160th anniversary of the first telegraphic transmission) had its first new addition since World War I: a code for the "@" (at sign) character was added to the Morse character set.
To learn more, see:
To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the
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