Loomis Day, which falls on May 30 each year, celebrates Mahlon Loomis and his important discoveries relating to telegraphic communication. Loomis, who was an American dentist, was fascinated by the Earth’s atmosphere and how it could be used for long-distance wireless communication. While most of his experiments failed and/or have been discredited, one of his most prominent experiments led to the accidental discovery of primitive radio technology. This wireless technology was further developed and refined to provide the modern world with WiFi, TV, radio, telephone, etc. So, even if it was accidental, the world has Mahlon Loomis to thank for the wireless telegraphic technologies we all can enjoy today.
History of Loomis Day
Loomis Day on May 30 honors Mahlon Loomis for his invaluable contributions to the telegraphic communications world. Loomis was an American scientist and dentist in the 1800s. He was born in New York and was the third eldest amongst his siblings. Later on, Loomis moved to Ohio to become a dentist and work full-time. While Loomis is most known for his telegraphic communication inventions, he is also credited with creating artificial teeth from porcelain in 1857. Around the same time, in the mid-1800s, it became clear that the Earth was wrapped in an electric atmosphere. Loomis saw the potential of generating electricity from the atmosphere to meet growing electrical demands and realize the possibility of wireless communications.
In October of 1866, Loomis put his ideas to the test on the mountains of Virginia. He believed that the atmosphere’s discrete concentric layers would be able to generate wireless connections when individually tapped. He tied two kites to copper wires and flew them 20 miles apart on two different mountains. Each of the copper strings was attached to a galvanometer, which is an electromechanical instrument used to measure electric current. Through his experiment, he was able to move one kite by moving the other. Loomis believed he had created a closed circuit but it was actually an early form of radio signals. He received a patent for his discovery titled, ‘An Improvement in Telegraphing,’ in 1872. From then onwards, many other scientists and researchers worked on Loomis’ discovery. Today, we have a number of technologies ranging from WiFi and TV to walkie-talkies and internet-connected home appliances, all thanks to wireless telegraphy.
Loomis Day timeline
Mahlon Loomis accidentally discovers a form of wireless communication while conducting his kite experiment.
Italian electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi develops the first wireless telegraph system.
Bell Labs’ engineers invent cellular technology which eventually leads to modern-day mobiles.
The first 4G is launched at the International CTIA Wireless show.
Loomis Day FAQs
What does wireless telegraphy do?
Wireless telegraphy, also known as radiotelegraphy, uses radio signals to transmit telegraph signals.
How did they communicate on the Titanic?
By 1912, many passenger ships were operating on the Marconi telegraphic communication system. The main form of communication on ships was Morse code.
How do you make a wireless telegraph?
One of the simplest ways to make a wireless telegraph is through generating and controlling a spark by using a switch known as the telegraph key. The key will switch a buzzer on and off, generating sparks. In order to detect or receive said sparks, you can use an AM radio tuned to a dial without any other stations.
How To Celebrate Loomis Day
Read up on Loomis
One of the ways to celebrate the day is by learning about Mahlon Loomis. His contributions to the scientific world, both in wireless telegraphy and elsewhere, have led to many important technological discoveries.
Use a radio
Loomis’s kite experiments led to the discovery of radio signals. It was due to said discovery that many other wireless technologies came to be. So take some time to listen to a radio station to appreciate how far technology has come.
Appreciate wireless technologies
Today, we have several wireless technologies on our hands. We can connect with the world at the click of a button. We can also talk to our loved ones several miles away. And, at the sound of our voice, home appliances, connected to WiFi and software, can operate. Take the time to appreciate these things that we now completely take for granted.
5 Facts About The Radio That Will Blow Your Mind
Radios have the highest reach
Radios have the highest reach of any wireless platform — a whopping 92%.
License to listen
From 1922 to 1971 in the U.K., you could not listen to the radio without a license.
Starting from a young age
Americans as young as six listen to radio stations every week.
The radio’s locality advantage
84% of people believe that radio stations that customize their shows according to their locations bring in more of an emotional connection than other, more broader-targeted stations.
Huge online radio market
Online radio listeners are growing by 180 million per month.
Why We Love Loomis Day
It’s a celebration of determination
Mahlon Loomis was a passionate scientist. Many of his theories failed or were discredited. However, these failures did not stop him from achieving his goals. Had he given up, we might not have had access to wireless telegraphy today.
It’s a celebration of endless possibilities
Who would have thought 100 years ago that there would be a means of wireless communication connecting the whole world? From a simple accidental discovery, human ingenuity led to the discovery and invention of many other things. The sky’s truly the limit here.
It’s a celebration of wireless telegraphic technologies
Do you find yourself in your day-to-day life relying on the internet, or Google Home, or other similar systems? If so, celebrate the day by appreciating these blessings that have made our lives easier, especially with no strings attached, literally and figuratively.
Loomis Day dates