Coleman 2happening by historians such as J. J. Fahie, A. T. Story, and John V. L. Hogan and thus theymade important contributions and created valuable sources on early wireless. Government publications were also important sources of public information on wireless, especially for several designs for crystal radio receivers that were reproduced by the thousands all acrossAmerica, even through the depression years. Finally, archives of personal correspondence,laboratory notebooks, and transcriptions of interviews of significant personages providedvaluable perspectives into the history of the crystal radio receiver and its influence on thedevelopment of wireless. It is the hope of this writer that this study will further illuminatethe history of the crystal radio receiver.
Waves in the Ether
The story of radio begins appropriately with James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), preeminent physicist of the nineteenth century. Maxwell’s work provided the core of whatwas to become the new physics that drove the scientific revolution of the twentieth century.Albert Einstein once said, “One scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell”, and so it was—and it all began with electromagnetism.What we now call radio or wireless is based upon electromagnetism, one of the four fundamental forces of nature. Electromagnetism as such was completely unknown prior tothe early 1860’s, although the study of its separate components of electricity and magnetismdates to antiquity. When James Clerk Maxwell published
A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field
he achieved one of the rarities of science, a synthesis of twodistinct bodies of knowledge. Using the force-field ideas of Michael Faraday, Maxwell produced a theory that described all the previously known phenomenon of electricity and