Electrical Experimenter

The Electrical Experimenter was an American technical science magazine that was published monthly. It was established in May 1913, as the successor to Modern Electrics, a combination of a magazine and mail-order catalog that had been published by Hugo Gernsback starting in 1908.[1] The Electrical Experimenter continued from May 1913 to July 1920 under that name, focusing on scientific articles about radio, and continued with a broader focus as Science and Invention until August 1931.[1]

The magazine was edited by Hugo Gernsback until March 1929, when the Experimenter Publishing empire of Sidney and Hugo Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy; after that date it was edited by Arthur H. Lynch.[2]

Under the editorship of Gernsback, it also published some early science fiction; he published several of his own stories in the magazine starting in 1915, and encouraged others through a 1916 editorial arguing that a "real electrical experimenter, worthy of the name" must have imagination and a vision for the future.[3] Between August 1917 and July 1919, Nikola Tesla wrote five articles in the magazine,[4] and also published parts of his autobiography in segments in several issues in 1919.

Electrical Experimenter
Electrical Experimenter Aug 1916 Cover
Electricity Lighting Liberty, August 1916
EditorHugo Gernsback
PublisherHugo Gernsback
First issueMay 1913
Final issue
July 1920
Vol 8 No 3
CompanyExperimenter Publishing
Based inNew York City
OCLC number8740783


  1. ^ a b Massie, Keith; Perry, Stephen D. (2002). "Hugo Gernsback and Radio Magazines: An Influential Intersection in Broadcast History" (PDF). Journal of Radio Studies. 9 (2): 264–282. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-04..
  2. ^ Magazine Data File: Electrical Experimenter
  3. ^ Michael Ashley (2000). Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the beginning to 1950. Liverpool University Press. pp. 30–33. ISBN 978-0-85323-855-3.
  4. ^ Tesla Bibliography

External links

Atmospheric electricity

Atmospheric electricity is the study of electrical charges in the Earth's atmosphere (or that of another planet). The movement of charge between the Earth's surface, the atmosphere, and the ionosphere is known as the global atmospheric electrical circuit. Atmospheric electricity is an interdisciplinary topic with a long history, involving concepts from electrostatics, atmospheric physics, meteorology and Earth science.Thunderstorms act as a giant battery in the atmosphere, charging up the ionosphere to about 400,000 volts with respect to the surface. This sets up an electric field throughout the atmosphere, which decreases with increase in altitude. Atmospheric ions created by cosmic rays and natural radioactivity move in the electric field, so a very small current flows through the atmosphere, even away from thunderstorms. Near the surface of the earth, the magnitude of the field is on average around 100 V/m.Atmospheric electricity involves both thunderstorms, which create lightning bolts to rapidly discharge huge amounts of atmospheric charge stored in storm clouds, and the continual electrification of the air due to ionization from cosmic rays and natural radioactivity, which ensure that the atmosphere is never quite neutral.

Charles Grafton Page

Charles Grafton Page (in Salem, Massachusetts January 25, 1812 – May 5, 1868 in Washington, D.C.) was an American electrical experimenter and inventor, physician, patent examiner, patent advocate, and professor of chemistry.

Like his more famous contemporaries Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry, Page began his career as an astute natural philosopher who developed innovative work with natural phenomena through direct observation and experimenting. Toward the later part of their careers, the science of the day had moved on to a more mathematical emphasis in which these scientists did not participate.

Through his exploratory experiments and distinctive inventions, Page developed a deep understanding of electromagnetism. He applied this understanding in the service of the US Patent Office, in support of other inventors, and in pursuing his own ill-fated dream of electromagnetic locomotion. His work had a lasting impact on telegraphy and in the practice and politics of patenting scientific innovation, challenging the rising scientific elitism that maintained 'the scientific do not patent'.

Experimenter Publishing

Experimenter Publishing was an American media company founded by Hugo Gernsback in 1915. The first magazine was The Electrical Experimenter (1913–1931) and the most notable magazines were Radio News (1919–1985) and Amazing Stories (1926–2005). Their radio station, WRNY, began broadcasting experimental television in 1928. In early 1929 the company was forced into bankruptcy and the Gernsback brothers lost control of Experimenter Publishing. The magazines did not miss an issue and were quickly sold to another publisher. The Gernsbacks promptly started new magazines to compete with their former ones.

Radio News became Popular Electronics and the January 1975 issue featured the Altair 8800 computer on the cover; this launched the personal computer revolution. Hugo Gernsback's Amazing Stories is regarded as the first dedicated science fiction magazine and every year World Science Fiction Society gives the Hugo Awards for the best science fiction and fantasy works.

Georg Matthias Bose

Not to be confused with the unrelated Georg Bose.

Georg Matthias Bose (22 September 1710 – 17 September 1761), also known as Mathias Bose, was a famous electrical experimenter in the early days of the development of electrostatics. He is credited with being the first to develop a way of temporarily storing static charges by using an insulated conductor (called a prime conductor). His demonstrations and experiments raised the interests of the German scientific community and the public in the development of electrical research.

Gladys Kathleen Parkin

Gladys Kathleen Parkin (September 27, 1901 – August 3, 1990) was one of the earliest and youngest women to obtain a first-class government-issued radio license.

Greenleaf Whittier Pickard

Greenleaf Whittier Pickard (February 14, 1877, Portland, Maine

– January 8, 1956, Newton, Massachusetts) was a United States radio pioneer. Pickard was a researcher in the early days of wireless. While not the earliest discoverer of the rectifying properties of contact between certain solid materials, he was largely responsible and most famous for the development of the crystal detector, the earliest type of diode detector. The crystal detector was the central component in many early radio receivers from around 1906 until about 1920. Pickard also experimented with antennas, radio wave propagation and noise suppression.

On August 30, 1906 he filed a patent for a silicon crystal detector, which was granted on November 20, 1906.

On June 10, 1907 he filed a patent for a Magnetic Aerial (a loop aerial) which was granted on January 21, 1908. Pickard's loop antenna had directional properties that could be used to reduce interference to the intended wireless communications. On June 21, 1911 he filed a patent on a crystal detector incorporating a springy low inertia wire of about 24 gauge formed with a loop or helix and pointed to make contact with the crystal. Crystal detectors incorporating this construction would become the most widely used and popularly known by the term cat whisker detector. This patent was granted on July 21, 1914. Greenleaf Whittier Pickard was named after his great-uncle, the American Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892). Pickard was president of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1913.

Hermann Plauson

Hermann Plauson was an Estonian professor, engineer and inventor. Plauson investigated, among other things, the production of power based on atmospheric electricity.

Hot wire barretter

The hot wire barretter was a demodulating detector, invented in 1902 by Reginald Fessenden, that found limited use in early radio receivers. In effect it was a highly sensitive thermoresistor which could recover amplitude modulated signals, something that the coherer (the standard detector of the time) could not do.The first device used to demodulate audio signals, it was later superseded by the electrolytic detector, also generally attributed to Fessenden. The barretter principle is still used as a detector for microwave radiation, similar to a bolometer.

Hugo Gernsback

Hugo Gernsback (; born Hugo Gernsbacher, August 16, 1884 – August 19, 1967) was a Luxembourgish-American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher, best known for publications including the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher–although not as a writer–were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction". In his honour, annual awards presented at the World Science Fiction Convention are named the "Hugos".

Isabel Martin Lewis

Isabel Martin Lewis (July 11, 1881 – July 31, 1966) was an American astronomer who was the first woman hired by the United States Naval Observatory as assistant astronomer. In 1918, Lewis was elected a member of the American Astronomical Society. She was also a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

List of Nikola Tesla writings

Tesla wrote a number of books and articles for magazines and journals.

Among his books are My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla; The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla, compiled and edited by David Hatcher Childress; and The Tesla Papers.

Many of Tesla's writings are freely available on the web,

including the article, The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, which he wrote for The Century Magazine in 1900,

and the article, Experiments With Alternate Currents Of High Potential And High Frequency, published in his book, Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla.

Modern Electrics

Modern Electrics was a technical magazine for the amateur radio experimenter. The magazine existed between 1908 and 1914.

NAA (defunct)

NAA was a major radio facility, located in Arlington, Virginia and operated by the United States Navy from 1913 until 1941. The station was originally constructed as the first link in a network of high-powered transmitters used for international communication. During its years of operation NAA was best known for broadcasting daily time signals, however, it also provided a variety of additional services, using multiple transmitters operating on frequencies ranging from longwave to shortwave. The station also conducted extensive experimental work, including, in 1915, the first transatlantic transmission of speech.

Tesla Experimental Station

The Tesla Experimental Station was a Colorado Springs laboratory built in 1899 by inventor Nikola Tesla and used that year for his study of the use of high-voltage, high-frequency electricity in wireless power transmission.

Tesla principle

Historically, the term Tesla principle was used to describe (amongst other things) certain reversible processes invented by Nikola Tesla. However, this phrase is no longer in conventional use. It was developed during Tesla's research in alternating currents where the current's magnitude and direction varied cyclically.

A reversible process in engineering is a process or operation of a system or device such that a net reverse in operation will accomplish the converse of the original function. The principle was that some systems could be reversed and operated in a complementary manner. During a demonstration of the Tesla turbine, the disks revolved and machinery fastened to the shaft was operated by the engine. If the turbine's operation was reversed, the disks acted as a pump.

Wildman Whitehouse

Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse (1 October 1816 – 26 January 1890) was an English surgeon by profession and an electrical experimenter by avocation. He was recruited by entrepreneur Cyrus West Field as Chief Electrician to work on the pioneering endeavour to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable for the Atlantic Telegraph Company between western Ireland to eastern Newfoundland. This pioneering project of the Victoria era began in 1854 and was completed in 1858, however the cable functioned for only three weeks. While Whitehouse sent the first telegraph communications in 16 August 1858 to the United States of America, he was ultimately held responsible for the undersea cable failure after he applied higher voltages in an effort to boost declining signals.

Women in early radio

Women have been active participants in the development of radio (initially called "wireless") communications since its beginning. The age of radio communication began with the development of wireless telegraphy around 1900, in which Morse code could be transmitted over large distances using simple spark gap or carbon arc transmitting equipment, and various types of detectors for reception. Guglielmo Marconi achieved international fame in 1901 when he succeeded in sending a simple message in Morse code - the letter "s" - across the Atlantic from Cornwall in England to Newfoundland.

World Wireless System

The World Wireless System was a turn of the 20th century proposed telecommunications and electrical power delivery system designed by inventor Nikola Tesla based on his theories of using Earth and its atmosphere as electrical conductors. He claimed this system would allow for "the transmission of electric energy without wires" on a global scale as well as point-to-point wireless telecommunications and broadcasting. He made public statements citing two related methods to accomplish this from the mid-1890s on. By the end of 1900 he had convinced banker J. P. Morgan to finance construction of a wireless station (eventually sited at Wardenclyffe) based on his ideas intended to transmit messages across the Atlantic to England and to ships at sea. His decision to change the design to include wireless power transmission to better compete with Guglielmo Marconi's new radio based telegraph system was met with Morgan's refusal to fund the changes. The project was abandoned in 1906, never to become operational.

During this period Tesla filed numerous patents associated with the basic functions of his system, including transformer design, transmission methods, tuning circuits, and methods of signaling. He also described a plan to have some thirty Wardenclyffe-style telecommunications stations positioned around the world to be tied into existing telephone and telegraph systems. He would continue to elaborate to the press and in his writings for the next few decades on the system's capabilities and how it was superior to radio-based systems.

Despite claims of having "carried on practical experiments in wireless transmission", there is no documentation he ever transmitted power beyond relatively short distances and modern scientific opinion is generally that his wireless power scheme would not have worked.

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