You are testing a new technology. One night, as you work, a person with a case of the crazies comes in. They hate your new technology. They think it's making them sick. And they have a gun. What do you do? If you're W. W. Bradford, you do something awesome.

Every new technology freaks society out. At the turn of this century, it's drones. At the turn of the last century, it was radio. If that doesn't sound like a fair comparison, consider how much radio changed the world. For all of human history, there was no piece of information that could be passed without a physical connection between the sender and the receiver. Suddenly, people were sending out invisible waves and using them to give secret messages to each other. Many were thrilled by the new technology, but some were terrified by it.

Advertisement

One person terrified by it was further agitated when a radio station was built just up the hill from him. It seemed Guglielmo Marconi had spent years trying his radio over various distances, attempting to increase its range and its accuracy. He had just built a station in France, and had engineers try to call across the channel. That reason was not good enough for a local resident.

An engineer named W. W. Bradford was working the radio when this man came in. Bradford was given to understand that the man did not care for his experiments at all, that the man was sure that the radio signals were making him sick, and that the man wanted Bradford to stop. If Bradford was hesitant about stopping, perhaps the man's gun could convince him to comply.

Advertisement

Bradford smiled, and motioned the man into a chair. He announced that, among the people working with radio, this problem happened quite a lot. Fortunately, there was a way to fight off the radio waves. Bradford could give the man an electric inoculation, which would cause him to build up an immunity. As the gun was metal, could the man put it down before Bradford applied the inoculation? The man did. To some this might have seemed a good time to smack the man on the head, but not to Bradford. Taking a bit of equipment, he had the man roll up his sleeve and gave him a shock. It was a nasty shock, but afterwards, the man relaxed, collected his gun and the coins in his pocket, and walked off.

What's amazing about that is neither the man nor Bradford did anything more about it. A ranting man kicked in a door and screamed threats at an engineer, the engineer shocked him, and they were both perfectly happy from there on out.

Images: Library and Archives Canada

[Source: Thunderstruck.]

Advertisement