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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/08/2010 11:34:43 EDT
Subject: RE: The Beardslee Machine

Message Detail:
Tom, you make me recall seeing a senior figure sitting at a TTY machine and poking out (as I am on this contraption) with two fingers -- poke, poke-poke, poke -- and sitting back and exclaiming "Isn't this wonderful -- 100 wpm!" Yeah, sure. Or the early complaints of the AR-15/M-16 jamming.

I'm certainly not the expert on the Beardslee, but certainly my impression is that under optimal conditions, operated by those who knew and cared for it, it worked a heck of a lot better than walking, running, riding ... maybe even flagging, certainly at times. So, slowness of speed must be weighed by "compared to what?" Plum isn't the one to give us the answer -- sure he and his fellow diddy-dah types were faster than the dial turners. And at times his wire connection was better, his power more reliable, and his proficiency higher than a "machine man." (This was, after all, the forerunner in the Army of the EE-8 of WW-II and later fame -- or infamy.)

Perhaps those better qualified can cite a Beardslee "Plum" whose honest evaluation is worth reading. (Not necessarily young Capt. Beardslee, who might be discounted for having a proprietary interest, but someone from Port Royal or the like.) Competition with the telegraph industry didn't offer the best time for a pioneer such as Myer to advocate a radical new idea that hadn't emerged from its beta testing and was being tried and upgraded under the sress of battle, both field and Washington. Ask yourself, as commander, which would you have chosen, USMT or SigC, to "deliver the goods" for you in electrical communication? I suspect that the answer depends on your circumstance, your past experience, and the odds you place on the service. It would have taken an exceptional or otherwise deprived commander to opt for the SigC, wouldn't it?

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