NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

ca 1914 __ The use of whistlers
Comment : Thomas Watson listened to the early silence in a telephone circuit which gave an opportunity for listening to stray electric currents. Watson significance to audio communication was being the assistant to Alexander Graham Bell in the invention of the telephone in 1876. In fact, “Mr. Watson” was the first words spoken through the telephone according to Bell’s laboratory notebook. Another study of whistlers was documented over a period of 6 years at Sonnblick Meteorological Observatory in Austria, which they were looking for terrestrial sounds.Another interesting use of whistlers (see Natural Radio, 1876) was in WWI by signal corps vet from Germany and England. The whistlers were commonly heard in wireless gear used for communications and surveillance. Interestingly enough, the enemy was sometimes able to use this to their advantage by locating the direction of where the low frequencies were coming from. So whistlers were also used for war tactical strategies. (Arthur To, “Aesthetics of Natural Radio”, 2009)

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