New England Wireless and Steam Museum, a must visit

Nancy n Bob Merriam at NEWSM

Monday I had the great pleasure of touring the New England Wireless and Steam Museum with two of its founders, Nancy and Bob Merriam. I got there by tagging along with Jim Fullilove, editor of NMEA’s Marine Electronics Journal, and he was there to work on a story for the organization’s upcoming 50th anniversary. You see, Nancy and Bob were two of the dealer/installers who formed NMEA way back when. Hence the table full of early RDFs, AM radios, fathometers, and radars they’d pulled up from the Museum’s basement. The Merriams are a deep well of knowledge about that gear, and the early NMEA, but their real passion is the very dawn of marine electronics a century ago, and the museum reflects that. Below, for instance, is the very first wireless communications station—building and all, and in operational condition. Check the giant Morse key, capable of handling 20kw without a relay. What you can’t see in this photo is the intense blue sparks generated by the Massie spark transmitter upper left.  The museum—which has all sorts of other early wireless artifacts, not to mention a major collection of working steam engines— is only open by appointment and best visited during the warmer months, but very much worth doing. Meanwhile this novice “sparkie” is very much sparkless, down with the flu while visiting New York City, and regular posts may not resume until next week.

Ben the sparkie

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

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