Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Collins Wireless Telephone

This wireless telephone from 1909, at the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, is the last known surviving Collins Wireless Telephone.

Archie Frederick Collins was a controversial figure, and possibly a fraudulent one. He toured the United States with his Collins Wireless Telephone Company, setting up demonstrations and selling stock. While his wireless telephone allegedly sent communication, in one instance, from Newark to Philadelphia, Collins and his associates were accused and convicted of using wildly misleading claims of the technology to sell worthless stocks and bonds. In addition, Collins was charged with giving a fraudulent demonstration of his technology at Madison Square Garden. He served one of his three years sentenced, and afterward wrote books for teenagers about radio and science.

The American Museum of Radio and Electricity, on Bay Street in Bellingham, has artifacts ranging from the earliest electrical experiments in the 1600's to the golden age of radio in the 1940's. AMRE boasts the largest private collection of 19th century electromagnetic apparatus, rare and original books and papers by Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, Newton, Gilbert, Hertz, Volta and Marconi, and over 1,000 antique radios, among many other amazing exhibits.

For a recent Bellingham Herald article about the museum, click here.


  1. I bet this is a fun place to visit. Was this guy the first telemarketer? :-)

  2. Isn't it amazing how much "technology" that was simply science fiction back then, is taken for granted today?