Published in The Coast Star on February 9, 2006 By Fred Carl on Page 6

A photo from the early 1910s shows workers erecting one of the massive steel masts for the Marconi Road radio station.

     It might surprise many residents of the town, but Wall Township was the site of history-making advances in the science of radio many years ago. The events of that cold Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in 1914, on which radio was invented, are recalled in nearly every history book and video on the subject.
     Only vestiges of a once-massive line of six, 400-foot towers remain that brought a small group of radio greats to Wall Township.
     Where are the masts, and the famous shack in which they worked all night, and who were the players in a 40-year saga of power and greed that would end in tragedy?
      Author and historian Daniel Stashower describes the events in Wall Township as the birth of modern radio in his 2002 book  “-The Boy Genius and the Mogel — The Untold Story of Television.- But only one man might be looking for the physical evidence of the events.
      Steve Goulart of the New Jersey Antique Radio Club is on a quest to rediscover the concrete bases and massive concrete guy-wire anchors that supported the steel masts that once ran the length of Monmouth Boulevard. He has been using, aerial photos and asking homeowners whose homes might have an anchor in the back yard or, in one case, under the front porch.

      So far, Mr. Goulart has located the remains of 2 of the six mast bases. One base is on Harrison Street. A ring of large bolts can be seen on the top On this 10-foot, squared concrete mass. In neighbors’ yards 200 foot away from the center base, he found the remains of the four guy-wire anchors. He has found nine of the 24 massive blocks with large metal bolt connectors on side which once held the Roebling Wire Company manufactured  wires.
      If anyone can help Mr. Goulart in his quest, call the InfoAge Science-History Center at 732-280-3000.
     Only a recently eBay-purchased photo remains of the famous construction shack in which Edwin Armstrong, David Sarnoff and others worked two days and one night.  They were testing Mr. Armstrong’s first fantastic radio-circuit break through. For the first time, high-power radio stations from as far away as Germany and Hawaii could be heard clearly across the globe with this new invention. It is a celebrated event in radio history.
      Mr. Armstrong would go on to invent many other circuit.  The most famous is FM, which is used
in radios and television.
      Meanwhile. Mr. Sarnoff would become the powerful president of the Radio Corporation of America [RCA]. The two became friends that January night in Wall and they would meet for dinner or call one another to recall the event for many years.

      But after World War II, Mr. Sarnoff would refuse to pay Mr. Armstrong the patent royalties for FM circuits used in television broadcasts. A long and expensive court battle began. Forty years to the day they had met in Wall, Mr. Armstrong ended his productive life in frustration at being cheated by Mr. Sarnoff and RCA.
     Not far from the construction shack, in a radar shack on a hill a few hundred feet to the east, the Project Diana team would open space communications at Camp Evans in 1946, just 32 years later.
     Today both shacks are gone. The site with all this history and much more is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because Wall Township cares enough to preserve its histo­ry to make a better future.


Web editor Note:  The photo below was cropped in the newspublication.
This is the entire photo as published in 1914


Web editor Note:  In the photo below, on the left, one can see the famous construction shack
in which Edwin Armstrong demonstrated his first breakthrough circuit.
Page created March 3, 2006