During the night of 15 April, the passenger steamer Titanic collides with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sinks. Only 700 out of 2,200 passengers can be saved by a ship that was called in by radio. This tragedy raises scientific awareness of an almost forgotten idea: In 1904, Christian Hülsmeyer demonstrated his “telemobiloscope” for detection of obstacles via electromagnetic waves on the river Rhine. The device did not attract much interest back then and Hülsmeyer disappointedly concentrated on other fields.
1912 Music by wire
On 9 July, an opera is transmitted remotely by telephone on a Lorenz apparatus. Crown Prince Wilhelm had the line installed so that he could also listen to performances of the Berlin State Opera in his villa in Danzig, West Prussia. For Alfred Lorenz it was (almost) the farewell performance: He leaves the company the same year and starts his career in the field of national telegraphy.
1914 Europe at war
The period of scientific progresses and economic prosperity comes to an abrupt end on 28 June: After the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne, rivalries and alliance obligations among the European powers quickly lead to the First World War. Leading the armies of millions requires an enormous amount of communications engineering equipment. Telegraph, telephone and radio networks are soon to be found in each trench.
1915-18 Mass production
To supply the military demands, the industries of all warring parties increase their productions. In 1915, Lorenz takes over the W. Gurlt telephone and telegraph plants that have specialised in the field of military telegraphy at an early stage. At the same time, a modern factory complex is established in Berlin-Tempelhof and taken into service in 1917. In France, the Société Française Radio-électrique (SFR), founded in 1910 by telegraphy officers at the intercession of Gustave Ferrié switched to war production. Their masterpiece: Radio equipment for installation in aircraft. With the SFR affiliate later holding company Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie sans Fil (CSF) another Thales predecessor takes the stage.
1919 Eberswalde “to everybody!”
Since 11 November 1918, all weapons have finally been silent. People long for normality and soon after the end of the war, a different rhetoric is present. From summer 1919, preparations are made in the Lorenz test radio station in Eberswalde to broadcast language and music using the “Pungs throttle” invented by the Lorenz developer Leo Pungs. Soon after, the first wireless concerts were transmitted, all starting with the characteristic call “An alle!” (To everybody!) – The German public radio is born.