Wednesday, May 30th: Loomis WASN’T a looney! Today is LOOMIS DAY, honoring Mahlon Loomis (1826-1886), aWashington,DC dentist. Loomis’ fame has nothing to do with his dental practice; it’s because of his controversial (for the times) beliefs.
Long before the days of cellular phones, wireless internet and wireless printers, Loomis believed that we could transfer telegraph messages wirelessly, by harnessing the upper atmosphere’s electrical currents. Loomis aimed to prove his theory. With the aid ofMassanuttenMountaininVirginia, he flew two kites at equal height 14 miles away from each other. The kites, tied with copper string were attached to galvanometers. (Echoes of Benjamin Franklin?) Loomis discovered that it was possible to use one kite to move the other’s meter. In 1872 he patented his idea for wireless communication titled “An Improvement in Telegraphing.” Looking to set up a network of wireless communication, he sought government funding, unsuccessfully. Loomis kept working on an idea he believed fervently in. Rumor has it that he was working on a wireless telephone by the late 1870’s. The people in Loomis’ world did not see the possibilities that Loomis saw. They dismissed him, believing he was a fraud … a Looney Loomis, if you will.
But look at us now! Our world now revolves around wireless technology. It’s amazing the things that Benjamin Franklin and Mahlon Looms ultimately proved with a kite! Celebrate life; appreciate your cell phone and wireless internet, thanks to the laughs that Mahlon Loomis endured. Happy Loomis Day!