100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

First Radio Message Received From Airplane To Ship

The USS Stringham was a steel torpedo boat launched in June 1899 by Harlan & Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Delaware. She was launched and sponsored by Miss Edwina Stringham Creighton. In October 1906 she was assigned to the 3d Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. Stringham operated on the eastern seaboard between Key West, Florida and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The USS Stringham was assigned to temporary duty with the 1st Torpedo Division in April 1910 and transferred to the Engineering Experimental Station at Annapolis, Maryland.

On July 26, 1912 the USS Stringham was the first ship to successfully received radio signal transmitted from an aircraft to a surface ship. From an altitude of 300 feet Ensign Charles H Maddox USN transmitted to the USS Stringham 3 nautical miles distant:

“We are off the water, going ahead full speed on a course for the Naval Academy.”

Later test messages from Maddox’s Wright flyer were received by USS Stringham at distances of up to 15 miles. Maddox later wrote, “These were the first radio messages ever received from an airplane radio transmitting set in the United States and probably in the world.”

USS Stringham

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