The original scan of this article is located at: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016352/1901-11-17/ed-1/seq-8/.
Washington Globe, November 17, 1901, page 8:
Controlling Spirit of the American Wireless Tel. & Teleph. Co.
A SKETCH OF THE MAN.
His Genius and Capacity for Work--His Characteristics, Wealth and Standing in the Business World--The System Controlled by His Company and the Tremendous Impulse Given it by the Commercial World.
The Globe has had considerable to say touching wireless telegraphy and on Sunday last published a statement from the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company. This statement was in reply to a sinister and malicious attack in the New York Herald, inspired, no doubt, by the owner of that sheet who is the principal backer or stockholder in the Italian Marconi's imperfect system. Marconi has been boosted by the Herald and even imported into this country for a brief space to inject some life into his failure of sending messages without wires and the Herald (as it boasts itself) has influenced other papers to copy its misleading statements. But in wireless telegraphy, as in everything else, mankind falls back on that homely, but truthful, epigram, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it." And so when it came to a show down in the international yacht races the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company put Bennett and Marconi out of business.
The great head or master-mind of the American system is a German-American, Dr. G. P. Gehring. The Doctor is still a young man somewhere in the forties. He is not only self made, but an intellectual prodigy in this era of superbly equipped mental geniuses. That Doctor Gehring is a genius we will not assert, as we do not know what the attributes of genius is, except the freak things some of the literary cusses do, who are called geniuses. But that he has a marvelous capacity for work, a trained and sagacious intellect capable of grasping and solving mercantile or business enterprise, all who know him testify. He has no difficulty in dictating matters of great moment and involving great enterprises with the rapidity of lightning, and on subjects wide apart, to perhaps a half a dozen secretaries. Indeed the editor of The Globe has seen him perform this feat and marveled at the typically phlegmatic manner in which the Doctor rolled off his thoughts. The half hour in which we had a chance to study him at work while waiting for an interview revealed to us the secret of success of this millionaire and king of wireless telegraphy.
Doctor Gehring is, as stated, a man in the forties, he is scarcely of medium height, but of stout build, with the quiet, phlegmatic outward demeanor of his race. His face in repose is an almost perfect prototype or likeness of the Great Napoleon. The Doctor has the same large, round eyes with that semi-childish, dreamy look seen in the Napoleonic pictures; the contour of features is an exact facsimile of the Corsican's and even in the placidity of expression, while evolving weighty and important enterprises to his secretaries he more than ever reminds one of that marvelous character who rose from being a subaltern in the French army to the most dazzling height of mortal greatness. In like manner, too, Dr. Gehring, the much sought after president of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, has risen in another field from a lowly position to his present commanding standing in the commercial and business world. Born in Germany, he came while still a youth to the United States, and having graduated from an Eastern college he launched out in mercantile pursuit.
That he has been eminently successful goes without saying, when a man can have his check honored in the seven figures many times over. A compact figure below, as stated, the medium height, with a semi-oval face and Napoleonic look and action, Dr. G. P. Gehring is known in the marts of trade and in mighty enterprises as a giant in conception, untiring in action and invariably successful in result. It is, however, among his employees that he is the most affectionately appreciated, however high he is regarded by his peers in the business world. From his confidential secretary to the most humble of his employes, Dr. Gehring is fairly idolized because of his uniformly urbane manner and kindly temperament. Unlike Napoleon in this sense, he neither storms, swears nor reproaches those who eat his bread and all are compensated for their services so generously that their best faculties are stimulated to the limit point. Nor is the Doctor an exacting master, but on the contrary a considerate employer, who can correctly gauge the capacity of those who serve him and that capacity he never strains to the limit of endurance. Hence he has always at his command fresh and willing servants to execute his mandates, flesh his thoughts and intelligently give point to the necessarily rough or unfinished drafts of his teeming brain.
A millionaire and a man of culture, he is a worker and a student from choice. When time permits he can be found in the laboratories of the company in consultation with Prof. Shoemaker and his assistants, as intelligently and effectively active as in the midst of his secretaries or directing his many varied private interests, for although the Doctor, as the president of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, devotes his inexhaustable energy to that tremendously developing concern he is compelled to keep tab and in touch with the investments his millions have naturally created or enlarged.
With such a man at the head and front of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, controlling besides own great wealth millions in the business world, even a less valuable utility than wireless telegraphy would be developed into a financial and successful finish. This new scientific principle attracted the intelligence of Dr. Gehring from the first and its possibilities fascinated him,, commercially speaking, so that even before the successful demonstration of the principle involved and when the admitted commercial utility and necessity were in the embryonic stage he saw with the genius of a superior intelligence the great commercial revolution the operation of wireless telegraphy would work and the certainty of its future, and before others could grasp the possibilities he had seized and to this day controls for his company and its stockholders the basic principle, as well at the latest and most scientifically as well as practically demonstrated system of wireless telegraphy in the world.
Such is the man at the head of this coming--or rather present--utility, public and private, which is now close to our very doors, at narrated in the daily papers of Washington the past week in special despatches from Baltimore to the following effect:
Baltimore, Md., Nov. 12.--A wireless telegraphic station is to be built in this city which will communicate with another at Washington. William E. Woodall & Co., the ship-builders, have erected an air mast 150 feet in height for the new station and today shipped a similar one to Washington, which will at once be erected.
Mr. James Gordon Bennett's futile efforts to foist the Marconi system on the public of this country through the medium of the Herald ingloriously failed:
Baltimore and Washington were chosen because of the historic experiments between these cities when the Morse telegraph was first invented. The new company claims that it has overcome the objection to the Marconi system by combining the best features of the Picard-Collins and Shoemaker systems, based upon the systems patented by Prof. Dolbear of Tufts College. It expects to be ready to give a test at its new station in a very short time.
First. Because Marconi has no system which does not conflict with the patents issued the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company by the Government of the United States, and which have been applied for in all the countries of Europe by the American Company, and
Second: Because such a system as Marconi attempted to cover by United States patents is worthless and imperfect, as was demonstrated at the international yacht races, and he and his backers, Bennett et al have withdrawn from their pretended competition with the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, which would in any event prevent them from operating under the Dolbear patent, which is the property of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, of which the subject of this sketch. Dr. G. P. Gehring of Philadelphia is the president, head and controlling spirit. And thus American brains and enterprise scores a signal triumph over the world's competition, and in a brief time will be honeycombing a circling world with messages, swift as the lightning and like that great phenomena, without wires or poles.