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Loomis Day

Mahlon Loomis thought of what seemed impossible and gave people an idea to see things as they not yet were. His idea: wireless communication. This is something we take for granted now—whether talking or texting on a cell phone, using a laptop to surf the web, watching television, or listening to the radio, we use wireless communication on a daily basis. Loomis's application of wireless communication was to make a telegraph that didn't need wires. Instead of wires, he wished to harness the electrical currents of the earth's upper atmosphere.

When experimenting, he flew two kites fourteen miles apart, tied them each to a copper string, and tied each string to a galvanometer. During his experiment, he was able to move one kite's meter with the other kite and thought he had created a closed circuit using the atmosphere. However, this was not the case. Instead, it is likely that he created a radio signal, where the wire on one kite acted as a receiver of the signal. Nonetheless, he had been able to discover some form of wireless communication.

Believing that he had been able to use wireless electrical currents, which he thought could be applicable to the telegraph, he requested a patent for his idea on July 30, 1872. His patent only included a description of his idea and did not include a diagram or scientific evidence. Furthermore, it was similar to a patent that had been granted three months earlier to William Henry Ward.

Loomis hoped to get government funding for more research and to create a possible network of wireless communication, but he was unsuccessful at both. He continued to work on other inventions and patents until his death in 1886. A few sources say he applied for his patent on today's date-May 30-and that is why we celebrate the day today. But that is not correct, as he actually received his patent on July 30. He is honored today not for the success of his inventions and ideas, but for his drive to think up something new and to dream. It was his imagination that helped set the foundation for wireless devices we use today.

How to Observe Loomis Day

Celebrate the day by using different forms of wireless communication. Listen to the radio, text someone, and send someone an email from a mobile device. You could also read some books about the history of radio or other forms of wireless communication. The day could be used to explore other dreamers and inventors who came up with ideas that seemed crazy at the time, but which have helped enrich our lives. You could even try to dream up something new yourself.

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