The original scan for this article is at: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015415/1909-08-11/ed-1/seq-7/.
Hawaiian Star, August 11, 1909, page 7:
SCHWERIN'S OBJECTIONS TO THE WIRELESS
SAN FRANCISCO, August 4.--Jack Binns, the Cockney wireless operator who stuck pluckily to his apparatus during the trying hours following the collision of the big ocean liners Republic and Florida in the Atlantic ocean last January, and thus is said to have saved the lives of 1600 passengers, is no hero, never was and never will be, according to R. P. Schwerin, vice-president and general manager of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
"The story that Binus operated his wireless machine by storage batteries is buncombe," declared Schwerin. "It requires the motors of a vessel to run the wireless telegraph; the motors require engines and the engines require steam. When the water struck the engine-room of the Republic the wireless machine was rendered useless and all the talk of Binns' heroic conduct was made out of whole cloth.
WILL NOT INSTALL WIRELESS.
In this wise Schwerin responds to the query:
"Will the Pacific Mail Steamship Company install wireless telegraph mechanisms upon its transpacific liners to safeguard the lives of passengers?"
The Pacific Mail vice-president declares with emphasis that wireless has not in any degree added to the safety of a single vessel, notwlthstanding the fact that reports of the extraordinary efficiency of this latest application of electrical energy are being published daily.
Schwerin does not know of a single wreck that has been averted through the use of wireless mechanisms, and is of the opinion that the installation of the apparatus upon ocean-going vessels is for commercial purposes only.
"The only effect the wireless had upon the Republic and Florida collision was to instill confidence in the passengers by bringing numerous steamships to the aid of the disabled vessels. It could not possibly have aided the Columbia, which went down a year ago. The Columbia was rammed by a steam schooner, and went down in eight minutes. In what way could the wireless have aided the passengers of that steamer? I do not know of a single instance in which the wireless has contributed to the safeguarding of any vessel.
"It is true that we have considered installing wireless machines on the transpacific steamships, but the manufacturers have been unable to provide us with suitable apparatus. The present type, which is capable of sending a message only 500 miles, or possibly 1000 miles at night, is of no use to us. The manufacturers now advise us that they will furnish a two and one-half kilowatt machine which will send a message 1500 miles, but we, as a matter of fact, are waiting until they perfect a machine suitable to our needs.
"If we were now to install wireless on our Pacific steamers it would be of no advantage to any one. There are stations here and at Hawaii. There is one in Japan which has only recently been opened to the use of merchant steamers and only for the receipt of messages of distress. There is no wireless station in China. Intercourse then naturally would be restricted to tho United States and the Hawaiian islands. On the Atlantic, where hundreds of business men are traveling in both directions and anxious to keep in touch with the stock markets and business conditions I consider the wireless important. But here our passengers are mostly in quest of health or of pleasure.
"On the Atlantic the wireless has been immensely popularized by the passengers, who find amusement in communicating with friends on nearby steamers. It is a fine amusement to wire back and forth from the steamers, and I think the bulk of the wireless business on the Atlantic comes from such intercourse. I fail to see that the wireless in any way protects a vessel from disaster.
"We don't care anything about reporting that our steamers are a few hundred miles out at sea or will arrive at a certain hour. They are run on railroad schedules, and their positions are determined with some degree of accuracy."
All of which is intended by General Manager Schwerin as an answer to an oft-repeated inquiry as to whether the big Pacific Mail liners will ever be equipped with wireless apparatus.