If someone sets themselves up to be a teacher, you would expect that person to understand the subject that they are claiming the ability to teach someone else.
Not so with Paul Rusling. Having already declared that he hates reading history books and that he dislikes doing research, he has opted for a condensed form of plagiarism. But to condense information it is necessary to understand what you are condensing. Not so with Paul Rusling.
The trouble with this self-appointed teacher is that he was a very poor pupil in the subject matter that he has set out to teach other people. In plain language, Paul Rusling does not know what he is writing about and consequently he has no way of verifying that what he is writing is true, or even that it makes literal sense!
There is a lot of controversy that swirls around the character of Nathan Subblefield, who Paul Rusling refers to on page 10 of his 'bible'. But typical of the way in which Rusling writes, he gets one bit of information mixed-up with another bit of information and hey presto! - Rusling has created yet another misleading bit of nonsense.
Nathan was born on November 22, 1860, and after tinkering around in the fields of Kentucky as a "truck farmer", he began experimenting with his telephone. Nathan Stubblefield experimented with the idea of transmitting point-to-point communications across his fields by wireless telephony.
Nathan's story first sprang to life on January 12, 1902 as a big feature on page 35 of the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Then, on March 20, 1902, it is alleged that Nathan transmitted both voice and music from a steamer anchored on the Potomac River about a third of a mile from shore at Washington, D.C. But there are a lot of unanswered and scientific questions with a corresponding lack of documented answers about what Nathan did, and how Nathan claimed to have achieved it.
Now let's have a look at what Paul Rusling writes about Nathan Stubblefield without reference to any documentation at all: "In the 1890s, Nathan Stubblefield had demonstrated broadcasting voice and music from a boat on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. No recordings survive but the event was widely publicised in newspapers of the day." (sic)
Clearly Paul Rusling does not depend upon factual reporting as the basis for his text, because that event is alleged to have taken place in 1902, not in the 1890s as he claims. But does it matter whether Paul Rusling is accurate with his dates and information?
Well, since his 'bible' is supposed to be a work of fact, and not fiction, it would seem that a confidence trick is being played out on the paying readers of his 'bible'. His readers must surely believe that what they have bought is a factual account, and not a work of fiction.
However, it is apparent that in instance after instance, Rusling not only uses poor grammar and allows typographical errors to remain uncorrected, but his storytelling is mostly based upon fable, and that fable is geared to selling his readers a series of nonsensical lies. In total, these lies are in fact commercial propaganda in support of a tiny U.K. licensed radio station controlled by his friend Malcolm Smith who has called his station 'Radio Caroline'.
Since Rusling is so concerned with transmitters, he might have spent some time telling his readers about the fanciful way in which Nathan Stubblefield claimed to be 'transmitting'. Let's review what the St Louis Post-Dispatch published on page 35 of its edition for January 12, 1902: "At the public test of wireless telephone held in Murray, Ky., Mr. Stubblefield placed his transmitter in the courthouse square, and ran two wires from it into the ground. He established five 'listening' stations in various parts of the town, the furthest six blocks distant from the transmitter. Then Mr. Stubblefield's son took his place at the transmitter .... simultaneously everyone at the receivers heard him with remarkable distinctness."
What exactly Nathan Stubblefield did that day, and how Nathan Stubblefield did it, is open to question. But what is certain from this newspaper account, is that this event took place before the event on the steamer, and that both events took place in the year 1902. Rusling claims that the steamer event took place in the 1890s.
So what if Rusling got his years mixed-up? Well, what if he gets his 'facts' mixed-up in addition to his dates? It seems that we are drifting very close to a work of fiction. However, none of the above is intended to ridicule Nathan Stubblefield or his early experiments; it is intended to place Rusling's content within the context of his (lack of) factual reporting.
In 1986, Mervyn Hagger, under the pen name of John England, recorded a documentary program called 'The Story of Radio'. It was distributed to attendees of a KRQX-AM and KZEW-FM 'live' concert in the Dallas and Fort Worth Metroplex of Texas. That broadcast acknowledges the part played by Nathan Stubblefield in the development of radio broadcasting.
The recording was made in two parts, and it is still available on line at:
A caveat is proffered: At the time that the recording was made, a reference was drawn from the autobiography of David Sarnoff who became the guiding force behind the creation of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Sarnoff claimed that he had personally intercepted the radio distress calls sent by the RMS Titantic. This has now been established to be untrue.
On page 11, Rusling tries to inform his readers about the creation of the RCA, but it is clear that Rusling does not know why this entity was created or who created it and under what circumstances it was created. Rusling claimed that it was the result of: "the American government removing many of the restrictions on radio in 1919."
However, the background story to the creation of RCA is the background story to the creation of the British Broadcasting Company Limited in 1922, and the entangled claims to copyrights in the United Kingdom that gave rise to Phonographic Performances Limited and 'needle-time'. Rusling on the other hand simply blunders ahead with these words: "Many component manufacturers joined a 'talent pool' called RCA, ostensibly to share new technology, but in practice this became one of the largest group manufacturing companies in the business."
So what was RCA and why was it so important?
Rusling does not tell his readers, but if readers want to know the story in detail as told according to academic standards, they would do well to refer to the abundant material on the subject that has been authored by Gilder and Hagger and which is available free of charge and on line at http://foundthreads.com/
In brief, RCA was the result of a forced buy-out of American Marconi by the General Electric Company of America. American Marconi with its parent company in Chelmsford, Essex in England, was forced to sell out to G.E. of America at a time when the U.S. Navy was looking with suspicion on the Royal Navy as a potential enemy protagonist.
What Rusling refers to as a 'talent pool' was in fact a cross-licensing system of patent exchanges by other electrical manufacturers who then became shareholders in a gigantic Trust that the U.S. Congress eventually took aim at. But there is no way to understand the creation of the original BBC or the British record cartel created initially by RCA under the banner of Electric and Musical Industries (EMI), without first learning all about the GE-RCA Trust.
Rusling continues with his blind essay leading his readers into the ditch of confusion on his next page, and I shall address that in tomorrow's blog.
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