recently on a business trip in Bermuda I recalled Fred Hammond VE3HC,
mentioning that Bermuda was the final home and burial place of a famous
Canadian, Reginald Fessenden. As it turned out the Hotel I am
staying in is just a few steps from his home and the Whitney Institute at
which he was Headmaster. Fessenden had married a Trott (an old Bermuda
family) and in his memory there are scholarships called the "Fessenden-Trott
Scholarships". Tony, VP9HK informed me that two of his sons have
been awarded this Scholarship.
In 1876, when he was only 10 years old, Reginald watched Alexander Graham Bell demonstrate the telephone in his lab in Brantford, Ontario. Six days later, Bell made the first long distance phone call in history, from Paris, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario, a distance of 113 kilometres. From his home in Fergus, Ontario, Fessenden closely followed the work of Bell, and he never forgot his dream of transmitting words without wires.
Few people shared Fessenden's belief that broadcasting voices was possible. When he asked the opinion of the great Thomas Edison, Edison replied, "Fezzie, what do you say are man's chances of jumping over the moon? I think one is as likely as the other." - - - Edison was wrong.
It took six years for Fessenden to refine his invention but, on Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden made the first radio broadcast in history. Radio operators on ships in the Atlantic were shocked to hear a human voice emitting from the equipment they used to receive Morse code. Many operators called their Captains to the radio room, where they heard Fessenden make a short speech, play a record, and give a rendition of "O Holy Night" on his violin.
Discovering a way to broadcast human voice by radio is only one of Fessenden's accomplishments - during his life he came up with over 500 other inventions including the Fathometer or depth finder which are reflected in the words of the memorial above the vault of Fessenden's final resting place.
73 Information courtesy Tony VP9HK,
Laurie VP9NMR and © 2001 updated Hits=27788
Information courtesy Tony VP9HK,
Laurie VP9NMR and