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1300 Frenchtown Road
East Greenwich, RI 02818 USA
Telephone: 401-885-0545
Frederick Jaggi, President





The National Electric Signaling Co.
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was born in 1866 in East Bolton, Canada. He worked for Thomas Edison from 1886 until 1890 developing flame-proof electrical insulation. He then married Helen May Trott and moved to the Westinghouse Laboratories in Newark, NJ. His first patent (1902) in the wireless field was for an electrolytic rectifier he called a "liquid barreter". It was made from a fine metal wire dipped in dilute acid. After working at Purdue University, the Western University of Pennsylvania, and the US Weather Bureau he obtained funding from two Pittsburgh investors and started NESCO (National Electric Signaling Company).

The BO station in Brant Rock, MA was established in 1905. A 400 Ft. high tubular antenna with an insulated base was setup and held in place with guy wires that used the same technology that Roebling developed for the Brooklyn Bridge. From Brant Rock on Christmas Eve in 1906 Fessenden became the first person to broadcast musical and vocal programs over the air. The broadcast was heard by US Navy and United Fruit Company wireless operators in ships along the east coast since the receivers were equipped with appropriate rectifiers. The Christmas program was picked up as far south as Norfolk, VA.

He invented and patented the heterodyne principle in 1902, a high-density car parking system, and a light weight air cooled engine. He later joined the Submarine Signal Company in Boston and invented the Fathometer.


Fessenden's lab in Brant Rock. At the right is the alternator. On the bench at the left is the Multiple Arc Apparatus with Rotary Electrodes.
Goldsmith in Wireless Age said that the transmitter was 2 KW.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


This electrode from the collection at NEWSM may be part of the apparatus in the photo above.


Early form (ca 1906) of Alexanderson alternator under test at the Brant Rock station of the national Electric Signaling Company. The alternator spun at 20,000 RPM and generated an 80 KHz signal.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


A later version of the alternator.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


Steam engine driven AC generator and 500 CPS Synchronous Rotary Gap transmitter at Brant Rock, Ma. Ca: 1906. The drive belt is in the foreground, the inductors are near the roof, and the high pressure capacitors are to the right.


The steam engine that drove many of the experiments is in the background.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


The same steam engine can be seen in the background of this image.
The DC generator and the high pressure capacitors are in the foreground.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.

Click for larger image.
The tower at Brant Rock.
Click on the image to see a larger version.


Looking north to the Brant Rock station, taken from the beach east of Blue Fish Rock.


The Brant Rock station in 1912, taken from Blue Fish Rock.
The tall stacks exiting from the building's roof are for the steam engine's boiler.


Almost the same image, but taken a few feet further west, and with less retouching.


Fessenden's Brant Rock Staff in front of the building just to the east of the antenna in the images above.
Fessenden is seated at the front. His son Ken is at the left holding their car Mikums. Mr. Pannill is at the far left. To the right is Jessie Bent, secretary. At the far right is Mr. Stein.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


A late picture of Fessenden's staff. There are a lot more buildings at the base of the antenna.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


Left to right: Mr. Stein, Mr, Pannill, R. Fessenden.
This photo looks like it was taken in the radio shack just to the west of the antenna base.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


The Brant Rock station in 1914.
Blue Fish Rock is in the foreground.


You can see the house in the postcard above at the left in this picture.


The Brant Rock station in 1914-1915
This photo was probably taken from the jetty at the entrance to Green Harbor


Taken from Green Harbor.


Blackman's Point Trailer Park and Campground in 1944
This is the site of the Fessenden radio station. The two buildings at the middle right can be seen in the photo below.
From the book: Marshfield, A Town of Villages 1640-1990, with permission from the author.


Blackman's Point today with the antenna and buildings added. This Google Earth image includes the antenna and buildings from 1906 created with Google SketchUp.


Early photo of the Brant Rock Station.
The Blackman House is on the left.


Photo of the Brant Rock Station taken at the intersection of Island St. and Central St.
The trees have grown a lot in the last 100 years, and there is now an addition to the house on the right.


The east side of the two buildings that NESCO rented. The one the right was Fessenden's residence. The one on the left was the NESCO office.


Fessenden's Staff Brant Rock in front of the building at the right in the image above.
Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.


Nancy and Robert Merriam standing in the same location on September 13, 2008.


The Brant Rock Station.


Brant Rock Station and the patent for the antenna.
The tall stacks exiting from the building's roof are for the steam engine's boiler.


Dr. John S. Belrose (left), a noted wireless historian, and Robert Merriam (right), Director of the New England Wireless and Steam Museum,
stand in front of what remains of the antenna base.


Most of the insulators between the layers of concrete have been broken.


The plaque that is affixed to the antenna base was dedicated by Robert Merriam in 1966.


This plaque was affixed to the antenna base on September 13, 2008 as part of the IEEE Milestone dedication.


Nancy and Robert Merriam standing next to the southern anchor for the antenna.
None of the other seven anchors remain.

Radio-Craft Magazine January 1930
Radio-Craft Page 309
Radio-Craft Page 336

Click for larger image.
U.S.S. Aylwin, Destroyer #47, later DD-47, 1914-1935.
This ship was used by Fessenden to develop submarine detection equipment.
Click on the image to see a larger version.


The dedication at the bottom left of the U.S.S Aylwin picture reads:

For Professor R.A. Fessenden
with sincere regards of
D. MD. LeBreton (David McDougal Le Breton)
Lt. Comdr. U.S.N.
Commanding U.S.S. Aylwin
November 1917


A Fessenden was a consulting engineer to the Submarine Signal Company. One of his accomplishments was the invention of the Fathometer. The company was purchased by Raytheon in 1946.


The top side of the electronics for the Fathometer


The bottom side of the electronics for the Fathometer

Fessenden Patents:

U.S. Patent 452,494, "Lead-in Wire for Incandescent Electric Lamps" 18 February, 1891
U.S. Patent 453,742, "Manufacture of Incandescent Electric Lamps" 9 June, 1891
U.S. Patent 506,311, "Molding for Electrical Conductors" 10 October, 1893
U.S. Patent 638,837, "Pencil for Incandescent Lamps" 12 December, 1899
U.S. Patent 638,838, "Pencil for Incandescent Lamps" 12 December, 1899
U.S. Patent 638,839, "Incandescent Lamp" 12 December, 1899
U.S. Patent 638,840, "Incandescent Lamp" 12 December, 1899
U.S. Patent 639,161, "Incandescent Lamp" 12 December, 1899
U.S. Patent 644,972, "Induction Coil for X-ray Apparatus" March, 1900
U.S. Patent 648,660, "X-ray Apparatus" May, 1900
U.S. Patent 650,521, "Incandescent Lamp" 29 May, 1900
U.S. Patent 654,390, "Induction-coil" July, 1900
U.S. Patent 670,316, "Incandescent Lamp" 19 March, 1901
U.S. Patent 706,735, "Wireless Telegraphy" 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,736, "Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy" 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,737, "Wireless Telegraphy" 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,738, "Wireless Telegraphy" 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,739, "Conductor for Wireless Telegraphy" 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,740, "Wireless Signaling" (heterodyne principle) August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,741, "Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy" August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,742, "Wireless Signaling", 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,743, "Wireless Signaling", 12 August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,744, "Current Actuated Wave Responsive Device" ("Liquid Barretter") August, 1902
U.S. Patent 706,745, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" issued August 1902
U.S. Patent 706,746, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" ssued August 1902
U.S. Patent 706,747, "Apparatus for Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" (voice modulation of 50 kHz alternator continuous wave transmitter) August, 1902
U.S. Patent 715,043, "Current Operatied Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" 2 December, 1902
U.S. Patent 715,203, "Selective Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" (multiplex transmission and reception) December, 1902
U.S. Patent 727,325, "Transmission and Receipt of Signals" 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,326, "Selective Signalling by Electromagnetic Waves" 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,327, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,328, "Receiver for Signaling" May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,329, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,330, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 727,331, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" (improved "Liquid Barretter") 5 May, 1903
U.S. Patent 730,753, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 9 June, 1903
U.S. Patent 731,029, "Method of Utilizing the Energy of Waves" 16 June, 1903
U.S. Patent 742,779, "Signalling by Electromagnetic Waves" 27 October, 1903
U.S. Patent 742,780, "Signalling by Electromagnetic Waves" 27 October, 1903
U.S. Patent 752,895, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 23 February, 1904
U.S. Patent 753,864, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 8 March, 1904
U.S. Patent 754,058, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 8 March, 1904
U.S. Patent 777,014, "Apparatus for Transmitting and Receiving Signals" 6 December, 1904
U.S. Patent 793,648, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" December, 1904
U.S. Patent 793,649, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 793,650, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 793,651, "Aerial for Wireless Signalling" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 793,652, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 793,718, "Wireless Telegraphy" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 793,777, "Condenser" 4 July, 1905
U.S. Patent 814,951, "Capacity" 13 March 1906
U.S. Patent 916,429, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" 30 March, 1909
U.S. Patent 897,278, "Wireless Telegraphy" 1 September, 1908
U.S. Patent 897,279, "Means for Generating High Frequency Oscillations" 1 September, 1908
U.S. Patent 915,280, "Electric Signaling" 16 March, 1909
U.S. Patent 918,307, "Apparatus for Wireless Signaling" 13 April, 1909
U.S. Patent 932,111, "Producing High Frequency Oscillations" 24 Aug. 1909.
U.S. Patent 928,371, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 20 July, 1909
U.S. Patent 938,836, "Method for Cleaning Guns" 2 November 1909
U.S. Patent 941,565, "Method for Determining Positions of Vessels" 30 November, 1909
U.S. Patent 948,068, "Wireless Telegraphy" 1 February 1910
U.S. Patent 956,489, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 26 April, 1910
U.S. Patent 960,631, "Wireless Signaling" 7 June, 1910
U.S. Patent 962,016, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" 21 June, 1910
U.S. Patent 962,018, "Method of Signaling" 21 June, 1910
U.S. Patent 974,762, "Improvements in Wireless Telegraphy" 1 November 1910
U.S. Patent 979,145, "Electrical Signalling" 20 December, 1910
U.S. Patent 998,567, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 18 July, 1911
U.S. Patent 1,002,051, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 29 August, 1911
U.S. Patent 1,002,052, "Electrical Signalling" 29 August, 1911
U.S. Patent 1,002,141, "Determining Positions of Vessels" 29 August, 1911
U.S. Patent 1,015,881, "Means for the Transmission of Energy by Electromagnetic Waves" 30 January, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,019,236, "Signaling" 5 March, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,020,032, "Signaling by Electromagnetic Waves" 12 March, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,022,540, "Wireless Signalling" 9 April, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,035,304, "Wireless Telegraphy" 13 August, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,039,717, "High Frequency Electrical Conductor" 1 October, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,048,670, "Contact for Electromagnetic Mechanism" 31 December, 1912
U.S. Patent 1,050,441, "Electrical Signalling Apparatus" 1925
U.S. Patent 1,059,665, "Wireless Telegraphy" April 1913
U.S. Patent 1,108,895, "Signaling by Sound and Other Longitudinal Elastic Impulses" September, 1914
U.S. Patent 1,121,722, "Agricultural Engineering" 22 December, 1914
U.S. Patent 1,126,966, "Sending Mechanism for Electromagnetic Waves" 2 February, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,132,465, "Apparatus for Converting Heat Into Work" 16 March, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,132,568, "Electric Signalling" 23 March, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,132,569, "Wireless Telegraphy" 23 March, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,141,386, "Method of Transmitting and Receiving Electrical Energy" 1 June, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,147,010, "Improvements in Wireless Telegraphy" 20 July 1915
U.S. Patent 1,156,677, "Apparatus for the transmission by electrical oscillatiuon" 12 October 1915
U.S. Patent 1,158,123, "Apparatus for Generating and Receiving Electromagnetic Waves" 26 October, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,158,124, "Signaling Apparatus Aerial Navagation" 26 October, 1915
U.S. Patent 1,166,892, "Apparatus for Producing High Frequency Oscillations" 4 January, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,170,969, "Means of Transmitting Intelligence" 8 February, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,172,017, "Method of Transmitting Energy by Electromagnetic Waves" 15 February, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,172,018, "Electromagnetic Indicator" 15 February, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,178,507, "Wireless Signalling" 11 April, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,191,072, "Method of Using Pulverulent Matter As Fuel" 11 July, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,207,338, "Method and Apparatus for Submarine Signalling" 5 December, 1916
U.S. Patent 1,212,202, "Submarine, Subterranian, and Aerial Telephony" 16 January, 1917
U.S. Patent 1,213,176, "Apparatus for Phonograph Kinetoscopes" 23 January, 1917
U.S. Patent 1,217,165, "Power Plant" 27, February, 1917
U.S. Patent 1,240,328, "Method and Apparatus for Finding Ore Bodies" 18 September, 1917
U.S. Patent 1,247,520, "Method for Storing Power" 20 November 1917
U.S. Patent 1,265,068, "Method and Apparatus for Producing Alternating Currents" 7 May, 1918
U.S. Patent 1,268,949, "Method and Apparatus for Agricultural Engineering" 11 June, 1918
U.S. Patent 1,270,398, "Method and Apparatus for Transmitting and Receiving Sound Waves Through Ground" 25 June, 1918
U.S. Patent 1,291,458, "Apparatus for Submarines" 4 January, 1919
U.S. Patent 1,318,740, "Method of and Apparatus for Obtaining Increased Circulation" 14 October 1919
U.S. Patent 1,319,145, "Detecting and Locating Ships" 21 October, 1919
U.S. Patent 1,348,825, "Method of and Apparatus for Detecting Low Frequency Impulses" 3 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,348,827, "Method and Apparatus for Submatine Signaling" 3 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,348,828, "Method and Apparatus for Sound Insulation" 3 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,348,855, "Method and Apparatus for Detecting Submarines" 10 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,374,293, "Wireless direction finder" 12 April, 1921
U.S. Patent 1,384,014, "Method and Apparatus for Signaling and Otherwise Utilizing Radiant Impulses" 5 July, 1921
U.S. Patent 1,384,029, "Sound-Signaling" 5 July, 1921
U.S. Patent 1,384,556, "Apparatus for Submarine Signalling" 3 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,384,826, "Method and Apparatus for Submarine Signaling and Detection" 3 August, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,394,482, "Submarine Signaling" 18 October, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,394,483, "Method and Apparatus for Submarine Signaling" 18 October, 1920
U.S. Patent 1,397,949, "Method and Apparatus for Submarine Signaling" 22 November, 1921
U.S. Patent 1,414,077, "Method and Apparatus for Inspecting Material" 25 April 1922
U.S. Patent 1,415,539, "Method and Apparatus for for Submarine Signaling" 9 May, 1922
U.S. Patent 1,429,497, "Method and Apparatus for Detecting, Measuring, and Utilizing Low Frequency Impulses" 19 September, 1922
U.S. Patent 1,453,316, "Acoustic Method and Apparatus" 1 May, 1923
U.S. Patent 1,472,558, "Directional Receiving of Submarine Signals" 30 October, 1923
U.S. Patent 1,473,979, "Method for Eliminating Undesired Impulses" 6 November, 1923
U.S. Patent 1,534,205, "Eliminating Distrubing Energy" 1925
U.S. Patent 1,547,740, "Means for Eliminating Disturbing Noises" 28 July, 1925
U.S. Patent 1,553,152, "Method and Apparatus for Generating Electrical Oscillations" 8 September, 1925
U.S. Patent 1,561,441, "Apparatus for Directive Signalling" 10 November, 1925
U.S. Patent 1,576,735, "Infusor" (for making tea) March, 1926
U.S. Patent 1,616,416, "Method and Apparatus for Coordinating Radio and Phonograph Reproductions" 1 February, 1927
U.S. Patent 1,617,241, "Method and Apparatus for the Transmission of Energy by High Frequency Impulses" 8 February, 1927
U.S. Patent 1,863,841, "Method and Apparatus for Coordinating Radio and Phonograph Reproductions" 21 June, 1932
U.S. Patent 1,882,183, "Means for Parking Cars" 11 October, 1932
U.S. Patent 1,899,026, "Means for Modulating Electrical Energy by Light Impulses" 28 February, 1933
U.S. Patent 1,901,503, "Rotary Brush" 14 March, 1933
U.S. Patent 1,965,226, "Method and Apparatus for Sound Transmission July, 1934
U.S. Patent 1,991,892, "Height Indicator" 19 February, 1935
U.S. Patent 2,059,221, "Television System" 3 November, 1936
U.S. Patent 2,059,222, "Television Apparatus" 3 November, 1936
U.S. Patent RE12,115, "Receiver for Electromagnetic Waves" duplicate of 727331 reissued May, 1903
U.S. Patent RE12,168 "Wireless Telegraphy" duplicate of 706,737 reissued 10 November, 1903
U.S. Patent RE12,169 "Wireless Telegraphy" duplicate of 706,737 reissued 10 November, 1903


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