There is a man, as there is always a man (or woman), who is responsible for everything we take for granted today. Neither he nor we could have seen the long term effects of what he had done, for many things had to come after it for what he designed to come to pass. In the fullness of time, the creation of the ‘wireless telegraph’ has utterly changed the world, and it took an American dentist in 1886 to set it all in motion. Loomis Day celebrates Mahlon Loomis, a humble Washington, DC Dentist who created something amazing and changed the world.
The History of Loomis Day
As with many things, the history of Loomis Day is actually the history of a man, and an event, and how they changed the world to come. Mahlon Loomis was a dentist in the 1800’s who had an idea that had nothing to do with teeth. He knew about the electrical properties of the atmosphere, and like Tesla had conceived of an idea to transmit electricity through the air to a distant location. His idea was, perhaps, off a bit. He thought to ‘charge’ a layer of the atmosphere to create an electrical conduit between two metal towers set high on mountaintops (Sound familiar?).
What we find interesting about this entire process is that in the end, most if not all of Loomis’s theories on how the atmosphere worked and, indeed, how his own apparatus worked were completely wrong. Loomis was able to successfully transmit information from one location to another, but the reasons it worked were not the reasons he professed. He felt that two kites, however many miles apart, flown at the same altitude, would be able to establish a DC circuit through the ionosphere and transmit information thusly. The results were exactly what he expected.
The reason, however, was completely wrong. We know that his idea of creating an electrical circuit through the DC wouldn’t work as he described it, what was likely happening is, since the kites were at the same height the ‘kite wires’ that were being used to transmit and receive information would therefore be of the same size. This means the signal being sent from the transmitting kite would be at the correct frequency to be received on the other end. In short, it worked, but not how he thought it did.
How to Celebrate Loomis Day
Loomis Day is best celebrated by taking a little time to consider the way that this mans discovery helped to shape the world you live in today. TV, Radio, even your Wi-Fi signal is all being sent through wireless means, on technology descended from a man standing on a mountaintop with a kite and a bit of wire for string.