Marconi Comemorates the 90th Anniversary


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Mar 3, 1998
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From the site mentioned above:

<font color="#006600">The Marconi Archives have also been assisting other programme makers throughout the world in preparation for the anniversary. One of these includes James Cameron’s ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’. The director, famous for his Oscar winning film ‘Titanic’ has returned to the wreck to make a comprehensive documentary about the sinking.

That's referring to correspondence between myself and Louise Weymouth, Marconi plc Company Archivist. Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil are owed thanks for introducing me to Louise. She put me into contact with the company's Historian, Gordon Bussey, who has written several books about Marconi history, including the story behind Marconi's first transatlantic signal. Louise was very generous in offering to take pictures at the Godalming exhibit of various pieces of Marconi equipment, in order to help me identify a possible Marconi apparatus found by Cameron in Stateroom Z. She also took a picture of a (non-functional) rotary spark discharger that I am using for illustration in my book about the apparatus.

The layout and physical makeup of the Marconi apparatus aboard Titanic was so lightly documented that it wasn't until Cameron's discovery of the Silent Room aboard the wreck that the exact configuration could be confirmed. I called Marconi plc looking for information and ended up giving them more information than I received. This is through no failing of their own -- it's just that Titanic's installation was relatively unique, even among her sisters, and Titanic never lived long enough for photographers to record her Marconi equipment on film. By combining what is known by the historians at Marconi plc with what Cameron has discovered in the wreck, the exact configuration of Titanic's wireless telegraph apparatus can finally be documented. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be in the right place at just the right time to participate in this process.

Parks
 

Kate Bortner

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Congratulations Parks. We are all glad you have a hand in the reconstruction. Can Mr. Marshall please illustrate your (the pluaral you) findings, soon?!!!! I'm on the edge of my seat.
-kate.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Kate,

Do you mean "illustrate" literally? We have talked about his painting the Marconi Silent Room, but that will probably depend on Madison Press's plans for the companion book for "Ghosts." If he doesn't have time to paint the room, then I will probably have to draw it myself.

If you mean "illustrate" as in "will he provide a detailed description in his report," that's already been done. If you click on the "quicklook report" link on Page 3 of his wreck report, you'll go to my description of what was found. Or, to make it simpler, go to:

http://home.flash.ne t/~sparks12/ps01.htm l

I provided as much detail there as is appropriate to release at this time. I have submitted a detailed description of Titanic's Marconi apparatus to the Antique Wireless Association (this is above and well beyond my previous AWA article, which is posted on my site) for publication this summer in their annual review. Because the AWA Review is not widely distributed, I am arranging with a publisher to print the entirety of my Marconi research in a book to be published next year. The book will include the information submitted to the AWA for both their publications, plus a bit more. My intention is to make people sick to death of hearing about Parks Stephenson and Marconi wireless (if you're not already, then stand by!).

Parks

P.S. I do not cover the lives of the Marconi operators, other than to discuss their operating procedure and living conditions aboard Titanic. There are other authors -- Barbara Goldberg and Jemma Hyder are two that I know -- who are covering that aspect.
 

Kate Bortner

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Parks, Yup I mean illustrate as in I wanna SEEEEEEE it! I feel straped to a chair here in Seattle and what I really want is to be knee deep in an actual dive (ignore the mixed metaphors, please) It's how I feel every time I go to the zoo or a circus: I don't want to stand outside the cage or in the stands. . . I want to walk right up and pet the tiger!
You and others here on this site are as close as I can get to the tiger and personally I'll never get sick of your descriptions (or Inger's details, or Randy's photographs, or Cook's jokes. . . . . .) Bring 'em on!
-kate.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Kate,

To actually view the wreck video, that will have to wait until "Ghosts" is released. In the case of the Silent Room, it is only pretty for someone like me to look at. Not that nobody else would be interested, or to make myself out to be all-important, but to recognise specific equipment from lumps protruding from the sediment is not a task for a layman. Even Cameron flew by some equipment without realising that it was hidden in the cascading rust. I missed entire equipment the first, second and third times I visited the room (on tape), and I knew what I should be looking for. The real, slap-your-forehead, eye-popping moments came around the fifth, sixth, seventh visits. Ken is working to clarify some images (everyone knows about his paintings, but he also works wonders manipulating photos for clarity) to see if he can find clues to some equipment that appears to be missing.

As I mentioned, the Silent Room appears to the layman to be a jumble of rust and half-buried equipment. Most detail is smoothed over by the ever-present layer of silt. There is no real "payoff shot" that gives the viewer a sense of the room as it should appear. Because of this, it may not show in "Ghosts," despite the historical signifance of the room. At this point, I don't know if Cameron will include the scene or not. Obviously, I hope he does. If he doesn't, I will ensure that there is some sort of rendition of the space in my book.

Parks
 
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