[Ads-l] Antedating of "Ham" (Radio)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sun Jul 31 17:31:00 EDT 2016


For the fastidious in these matters:  the last three paragraphs came from
p. 133

GAT

On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 5:29 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>
wrote:

>
> I take a personal interest in this topic, since my father was a
> professional wireless telegraphist in the early decades of the 20th C.
> Here are notes made from the article, as found in Proquest's American
> Periodicals Online.
>
>             [wireless telegraphy has been the domain of the Navy
> Department until recently]  It is estimated that throughout the United
> States over four thousand amateur Wireless Telegraph stations are in active
> operation.   ***  A town of nine hundred inhabitants in upper New York
> State [has] twenty-eight wireless stations.   Three electrical publications
> cater almost exclusively to these operators. . . .    [Their transmissions
> interfere with the Navy's]  [p. 131]
>
>             [the amateurs call up] their friends, carrying on long
> conversations . . . , and occasionally . . . sounding the call letters of
> the nearest naval operator and inquiring about his health.  ***  A Boston
> amateur, when recently told by a naval operator to "butt out," made the
> following classic remark: "Say. you navy people think you own the ether.
> Who ever heard of the navy, anyway?  Beat it, you, beat it."
>
>             An interesting record of amateur gossip as it is carried on
> over the ether has been compiled by one of the naval operators.  ***
>
>             "How do you get me to-day?  I am using my new transformer and
> my helix is hooked up different.  ***  Say, old man, I get you fine as
> silk.  ***  Say, old man, I met your lady friend yesterday.  Ha, ha.  Quit
> your kidding.  Say, do  you know the fellow who is putting up a new
> station out your way? I think he is a ham. Will call you up in ten minutes.
> Say, old man, must go to supper now, but will be on the rest of the night.
> O.K., O.K., will see you later."
>
> The "electrical publications that cater almost exclusively to these
> operators" would be worth looking at.
>
> If someone had invented a wireless key and transmitter that could fit into
> a pocket, this scene would have been an antedating of the 21st century.
>
> GAT
>
>
> On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 4:16 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> How do you distinguish ham=bad telegraphist, which goes back to 19th C.
>> from ham=amateur wireless radio operator?
>>
>> On Jul 31, 2016 2:09 PM, "ADSGarson O'Toole" <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> The Wikipedia article "Etymology of ham radio" also mentioned a
>> citation in April 1909 for "ham" that seemed to match the desired
>> sense of: "An amateur telegraphist; now esp. an amateur radio
>> operator."
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_ham_radio
>>
>> Here are the details (please double-check for errors):
>>
>> Date: April 1909
>> Periodical: Electrician and Mechanic
>> Volume 19, Number 10
>> Article: Wireless Interference
>> Author: Robert A. Morton
>> Start Page 422, Quote Page 424, Column 1 and 2
>> Database: HathiTrust Full View
>>
>> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hxhis4
>> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hxhis4?urlappend=%3Bseq=636
>>
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> "How do you get me to-day? I am using my new transformer and my helix
>> is hitched up different.
>> . . .
>> Say, do  you know the fellow who is putting up a new station out your
>> way? I think he is a ham. Will call you up in ten minutes. Say, old
>> man, must go to supper now, but will be on the rest of the night. O K,
>> O K, will see you later."
>> [End excerpt]
>>
>> The passage was repeated in a later article by Morton.
>>
>> Date: January 15, 1910
>> Periodical: The Outlook: A Weekly Newspaper
>> Editor-in-Chief: Lyman Abbott
>> Article: The Amateur Wireless Operator
>> Author: Robert A. Morton
>> Publisher: The Outlook Company, New York
>> Start Page 131, Quote Page 133, Column 1
>> Database: Google Books Full View
>>
>> https://books.google.com/books?id=l5tFAQAAMAAJ&q=%22is+a+ham%22#v=snippet&
>>
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> "How do you get me to-day? I am using my new transformer and my helix
>> is hitched up different.
>> . . .
>> Say, do  you know the fellow who is putting up a new station out your
>> way? I think he is a ham. Will call you up in ten minutes. Say, old
>> man, must go to supper now, but will be on the rest of the night.
>> O.K., O.K., will see you later."
>> [End excerpt]
>>
>> Garson
>>
>>
>> On Sat, Jul 30, 2016 at 8:50 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu>
>> wrote:
>> > The OED first use of the radio sense of "ham" (ham, n.1 4.) is dated
>> 1919.  According to Wikipedia, this term was used in an article titled
>> "Floods and Wireless" by Hanby Carver, published in the August 1915 issue
>> of Technical World Magazine.
>> >
>> >
>> > Fred Shapiro
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> George A. Thompson
> The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998..
>



-- 
George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list