Friday, March 11, 2016

Historical Marker: Dr. Mahlon Loomis - West Springfield, MA

Dr. Mahlon Loomis
West Springfield, MA

N 42° 06.246 W 072° 37.367

Short Description: 

An historical marker honoring Dr. Mahlon Loomis is locate opposite 232 Park Street in West Springfield, MA.

Long Description:

Mahlon Loomis was born in Oppenheim, NY in 1826. Married a woman from West Springfield, Acshah Ashley, in 1856 and lived at 232 Park Street before moving to Washington, DC later that year to practice dentistry.

In 1866, he reported that he was able to transmit electrical signals through the air a distance of 14 miles from one mountain peak to another by using kites covered with thin copper gauze and the kite strings made of copper wire. A galvanometer was used to detect the passage of current. Loomis then made claims that he used this method for long-distance wireless communication by telegraphic and later by wireless telephone. However, no one actually witnessed these communications and there is no scientific basis for his invention to actually work.

An historical marker describing the work of Dr. Mahlon Loomis has been erected near the site of his former home in West Springfield, MA. The Marker contains a picture of the dentist turned inventor and the following inscription:

                  DR. MAHLON LOOMIS
                            1826 - 1886

In 1850, Dr. Mahlon Loomis, dentist, inventor and
wireless communications pioneer, lived with his wife,
Acshah Ashley, in a nearby cottage at 232 Park St.
It was here that he began experiments in electricity
that led him to prove that signals could be sent
without wires. In 1866, he successfully transmitted 
wireless signals between two Virginia mountains 14
miles apart. In 1872, he was granted a U.S. patent
as inventor of wireless telegrophy, and in 1873,
Congress chartered The Loomis Aerial Telegraph
Company. Unfortunately, a financial recession
eliminated his funding resources, allowing others to
develop and gain credit for the discovery of what
the world now calls radio.

West Springfield Historical Commission - Rotary Club - Bicentennial Committee

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