No Wires Needed

  • About this Collection

    Some of the most popular exhibits at the Fair demonstrated the sending of messages over land and water without using any wires.

    The new invention of wireless telegraphy was attracting lots of interest at the turn of the century. The Fair would be remembered as the first one to demonstrate the growing potential of this new technology.

    Fair-goers watched messages being sent and received at exhibits in several of the palaces. Or, while walking around the Fairgrounds they could see the seven wireless telegraph stations operated by the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company.

    Lee DeForest the mastermind behind the stations received the grand prize medal for general excellence in wireless telegraphy on Electricity Day.

    The largest of the Deforest wireless towers appears in the background of this picture. After an exciting ride to the top of this 300-foot tower, fairgoers would watch the operator inside an office at the top as he sent messages to Chicago over 300 miles away. Daily messages were also sent from this tower to two St. Louis afternoon newspapers detailing Fair activities.

    Even fair-goers who were not interested in this new wireless technology enjoyed riding the elevators to the top of the tower and getting an exciting view of the Fairgrounds and much of St. Louis City and County.

  • Plaza of Orleans, view northward

    The DeForest Wireless Telegraph tower appears in the background. It allowed communication between St. Louis and Chicago, Springfield, and Kansas City.

  • East lagoon and Plaza of Orleans from roof of East Pavilion, Louisiana Purchase Exposition

  • From wireless telegraph tower west over huge Manufactures building to the Pike, World's Fair

    This lofty standpoint is up on the steel structure of the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Tower from which messages are continually being sent across the country, even as far as Chicago, three hundred miles away to the northeast. The larger part of the Fair reservation lies off at your left; you are looking now over some of the northernmost buildings and away out over the suburbs of St. Louis towards Kansas City, two hundred and fifty miles away. The lady with the opera glasses is admiring Festival Hall on the hill above the Grand Basin off at your left.

  • Over bridge-spanned lagoon to Telegraph Tower (Mines bldg. at right with obelisks), World's Fair

    That 300 ft. steel tower straight ahead demonstrates one of the most stupendous marvels of the age. It belongs to the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company and from transmitters up there in the cage at the top messages are successfully sent at the rate of forty words a minute to Chicago, three hundred miles away straight ahead beyond that far horizon. Similar messages have gone from here to Cleveland, five hundred miles away beyond the Mines building.

  • Palace of Manufactures, with DeForest tower on right

  • Plaza of Orleans and East Pavilion from Wireless Telegraph Tower, Louisiana Purchase Exposition

    Taken from a point 150 feet high, half way up the tower, this view shows the Plaza of Orleans which lies east of the Plaza of St. Louis as the Plaza of St. Anthrony lies on the west.

  • Ticket : American DeForest Wireless Telegraph Co., World's Fair, St. Louis, 1904, pass

    The 'season pass' was issued to Frederick M. Crunden, librarian of St. Louis Public Library. The pass was signed by L.Z. Harrison, manager of the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Co., and the company's president, Abraham White.

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