In 1900, Reginald Fessenden transmitted his voice about a mile (1.5 kilometers) using a "high frequency spark" transmitter. But because of a high level of audio distortion, Fessenden moved on to other designs, eventually developing an alternator-transmitter, which produced much better audio quality.

In later years other experimenters tried to develop improved high-frequency spark transmitters--Victor Laughter himself wrote an article about William Dubilier's efforts along these lines in the June, 1911 Modern Electrics. (A second article on Dubilier appeared in the January, 1912 issue--this time followed two months later by a letter from Laughter, complaining that Dubilier was now claiming credit for a transmitter design actually developed by Laughter). And in spite of the optimism Laughter expressed in this article about the future of his system, no high-frequency spark system for audio transmissions was ever developed to the point that it was successfully put into commercial service.

Technical World Magazine, September, 1913, pages 84-85:
Laughter apparatus

T H E   V O I C E   F R O M   T H E   A I R


E D W A R D   J.   M c C O R M A C K
WILL wireless revolutionize the telephone industry? Is the science of man about to perfect an invention that will make the millions upon millions invested by the telephone companies come to naught?
    It looks as if in time we might actually be independent of telephone companies. The remarkable results that are being obtained in experiments with the wireless telephone form the basis for this statement. From the wireless station at Nauen, Germany, an operator communicated with Vienna. In Memphis, Tennessee, Victor Laughter, an amateur, & a device of his own, can talk for a distance of twenty-five miles. In this article, direct and to the point, Edward J. McCormack tells of Laughter's remarkable work.--Editor's Note.

    After ten long years of experimental work Victor Laughter, who until a few months ago was hardly known in the world of things scientific, has given his wireless telephone a public trial. Upon the roof of an office building in Memphis, Tennessee, he established his laboratory. In that building there are men who will tell you that the young Southerner is "a fiend for work". Day in and day out, he would work twenty hours at a stretch over some intricate mechanism. And now he is abundantly rewarded. In the wee small hours when belated clubmen, cab drivers, chauffeurs, and others of the nocturnal tribe were wending their way homeward, there would come from the top of the big skyscraper a crackling sound that was as distinct and virile as the snap of a machine gun. Greenish flames seemed to fairly sizzle from the ends of aerials being worked by the man of the wireless.
    Then there came an evening when Laughter called in the newspapermen. Upon a table in his office rested the mechanism that represented a small fortune as well as a decade of years of labor.
    "Boys," he said, "I have done it!"
    And then he went on to say that others had talked without wires, but that his was the invention destined to revolutionize the business.
    "I can talk two miles or twenty-five miles with just as much ease," he declared. "As soon as I get in my new aerials I am going to talk fifty. The other fellows talk four and five minutes over the phones--I am going to talk an hour tonight and let you judge for yourselves!"
    The Laughter device can talk into any wireless receiving apparatus. So the party journeyed four miles out to the home of a Master Vance Thompson, a young wireless enthusiast. There Thompson gave them headgears and they sat down and waited.
    There was a pause of a few minutes. The slight buzzing of the static in the ear bells was all that could be heard.
    Then out of the stillness of the night there came a strange sound. It was a strain of music--a far-away, ethereal melody. Laughter had introduced his new invention with a graphophone record doing the talking.
    The wireless, despite the static, worked so perfectly that the scraping of the needle and the other mechanical sounds incidental to the playing of a cheap talking machine could be heard as distinctly as if it were in the next room.
    The static began to pop again. It drowned out the music. Then the rhythmic strains of the waltz came back soft, swingingly tuneful, and yet weirdly strange.
    The waltz died away.
    "Hello, Hello, Old Man!"
    It seemed very wonderful. Here was a human voice apparently coming from nowhere over nothing.
    Then Laughter played the "Yankee Girl" and "The Blue Danube". He read a chapter from the Bible, told a story from Maupassant, and finally said "Good Night".
    Laughter will offer his invention to the Government. He is not selling stock. A syndicate of Memphis capitalists have taken him in charge and declare that his invention will not be put on the market until he has so reduced the cost of the apparatus that two hundred dollars will cover everything. Later he hopes to get the cost down to fifty dollars.
    The peculiarity of Laughter's device consists in a steel cylinder about seven inches in diameter. He has patented this apparatus, which he calls his "oscillator".
    "All that I care to say about it is that I am getting a frequency of one hundred thousand breaks per second out of it," was his rather terse explanation.
    His system can be used with any wireless by taking only a few minutes for adjustments. It has been found to possess many advantages.