New York Times, May 26, 1897, page 6:
TOPICS OF THE TIMES.
--English electricians, particularly those connected with the army and navy, are much interested in the Marconi system of telegraphy without wires. Some remarkable work has already been done with this machine, and improvements now making are expected to add many miles to the two or three over which it is already effective. The new transmitter consists of an accumulator battery, an ordinary telegraph key, an induction coil sending an eight-inch spark, and wires connecting the three. The induction coil is wound, half with thick wire, the two ends of which are connected with the key and battery, and half with thin wire, whose ends are soldered to separate metal rods, each with a large brass sphere at its extremity. If the key is closed for a short or long time a current passes from the accumulators for a corresponding period through the thick wire of the coil, and induces a current in the thin one wound over it. The induced current rushes to the brass spheres, and in the form of bluish-tinted sparks leaps the space that intervenes. In this space is hung an ebonite vessel filled with oil and having a brass sphere in each side, opposite to and in a direct line with the two spheres previously mentioned. In shape it is not unlike a big drum, with a ball stuck half through each parchment side. From this point the electrical waves are sent out in short or long sweeps that overcome all barriers and miles away actuate an instrument that is in electrical harmony with the transmitter. The receiver is like a wire hoop broken at one point and separated there. At each side of the break a copper strip stands out, and these form arms for collecting the electrical waves approaching it. A local battery and a sounder are intervened in the wire hoop, but its current is not strong enough to leap the gap. The waves sent by the transmitter arrive at the copper arms, flow down them, and, being of vigorous electricity, easily pass from one broken end to the other. Each time the waves jump the gap the electrical circuit of the hoop is completed, and the battery current is enabled to cross the break and work the sounder. Even a mountain between the transmitter and receiver does not, it is said, prevent transmission, and secrecy can be maintained, if necessary, by the use of cipher codes. The system, it is thought, will be of especial use to the commanders of fleets at sea by enabling them to communicate with their other vessels without the use of visible signals.