Titanic CQD message and Marconi recording devices
- From: Parks Stephenson
I think that I found a historical tidbit that may drive the final
nail into the coffin about the authenticity of the "Titanic CQD"
recording that has been a topic of discussion in this group for the
past couple of months.
As some of you know, there was an wireless pioneer by the name of
Charles Apgar who is acknowledged as the first to make recordings of
wireless transmissions, using a modification to his Edison
dictaphone. The original wax cylinders on which he made these
recordings have been lost to time, but on 27 December 1934, Apgar
presented a sample (only 2, unfortunately) of his recordings to NBC
host George Hicks on radio station WJZ in New York. That broadcast,
copies of which are kept in the archives of both the AWA and the
Library of Congress, does not contain the Titanic CQD message, but
Apgar's voice in the WJZ recording sounds a lot like the unknown
presenter who says, "1912," at the beginning of the Titanic
recording. For that reason, we can surmise that the Titanic
recording was demonstrated during a similar radio broadcast at around
the same time (give or take a few years).
Here's the real kicker, though...according to Apgar's biographers,
Apgar invented his wireless recorder in 1913, while working as a
researcher for Roy Wigan, the chief engineer in the New Jersey office
of the American Marconi Company. There was no known wireless
recorder (of sound) in existence, much less in use by the Marconi
Company, prior to 1913. If this information is correct, then there
was no recorder available to record Titanic's signals in 1912.
The recording itself begins right as the presenter says, "1912." If
you listen carefully, you can tell that the beginning of "1912" is
clipped; evidently, the speaker was saying something before "1912,"
but that part of the recording was omitted. I would like to know
what was being said at that point (could it have been something like,
"...as it would have sounded like in 1912"?). I believe that therein
lies the correct description for this recording and it is not what
people who want to pass this off as a genuine Titanic artefact would
like to have us know.