Very Early Radar (Oct, 1935)

MYSTERY RAYS “SEE” Enemy Aircraft

AMERICAN and German War Departments announce simultaneously new rays capable of “seeing” enemy aircraft through fog, clouds, or dark, at distances of up to fifty miles. First tests in this country are being held at the Lighthouse Station near Highlands, N. J., by the War Department, the details of the invention being closely guarded by military police.

No larger than a penny match box is the German mystery ray machine, a highly-perfected ultra-short wave radio transmitter.

Groups of these transmitters, mounted along the border of a country and adjusted to send their “feeler” beams into the sky at a fixed angle, could be used for air defense. The 5 to 15 centimeter long beams act much like invisible light rays, and are reflected back to earth by aircraft.

Groups of ultra-short wave receivers stationed some distance from the transmitters would pick up one or more of the beams reflected. With each transmitter sending out a different type of signal, something like the interrupted signal produced by a dial telephone, and each receiver connected to the central switchboard, the distance and height of the plane could be calculated automatically and almost instantly by a machine built to interpret optical and trigonometrical formulas. With this data, air defense guns could be aimed accurately at the unseen targets.

  1. […] Meanwhile, here are a few interesting blogs I’ve come across recently. I’m Too Sexy for My Master’s Thesis is a sentiment that most academic bloggers can relate to, I’m sure; but Rachel’s thesis topic sounds pretty sexy too, on the British Army’s Jewish Legion in the First World War. It’s very much a research blog, which is good to see. Cas Stavert of Only Two Rs is writing a novel set in the First World War, and also reading lots of early twentieth century British novels—which I’m finding very educational! (Via Great War Fiction.) Finally, Modern Mechanix extracts weird and wonderful articles and advertisements from old science magazines. Sadly they are all American, not British, but there is still much of interest to me. For example, check out this Italian gas mask for typists, or these early German and American radar devices. (Via Boing Boing.) air-minded, adj. […]

  2. Stannous says: June 3, 20061:55 am

    From the May 30, 1936, issue of Science News

    A rugged, simple signaling device with which a mere Army private could communicate on invisible rays, a possible mechanism for detecting the presence of enemy ships off a fog-bound coast, and a highly sensitive apparatus for use in atomic research are among the potentialities of a new receiver of radiation invented by Dr. Hammond Vinton Hayes, veteran electrical scientist of Boston, who was formerly chief engineer of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.

    Dr. Hayes, made cautious by a lifetime of experimental research, makes none of these claims for his new invention with the exception of the possibility of the signaling. But the implications of the discovery are clear.

  3. Rollmops im Kanzlerbunker says: September 25, 20062:38 am

    Akustischer Radar…

    Bevor Mitte der Dreißigerjahre die ersten Radare auf Ultrakurzwellenbasis entwickelt wurden, war das frühzeitige Erkennen von feindlichen Flugzeugen schwerste Ohrenarbeit. Das zeigen diese Fotos des Museum of Retro Technology von Radaren aus der FrÃ…

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