S.P.A.R.C. Museum

Society for the Preservation of Antique Radio in Canada

Spark Equipment

A view of the Carpathia Room from the movie "Titanic" housed at the SPARC Radio Museum

A View of the Carpathia Room

The following photos are some of the spark-era wireless equipment SPARC has on display.

Around 1995 we were asked to supply period equipment for use in the 1996 George C. Scott television movie “Titanic”. At the completion of filming we obtained the set for the wireless room of the Carpathia (the ship that rescued many of the passengers from the Titanic). This room now houses our display of early wireless equipment (note the port-hole at upper left in the photo).

Passive Receivers

The first spark equipment may be characterised by the receivers which used only passive components. This means that the only energy to produce a signal in the headpones is that which is received via the antenna.

Three types of detectors vied for attention in this era: the coherer, the magnetic detector and the galena crystal detector.

The four photographs below are of equipment in this class.

Photo of a Marconi triple turret tuner at the SPARC Radio Museum

Marconi triple turret tuner

Photo of a Marconi magnetic detector at the SPARC Radio Museum

Marconi magnetic detector

Photo of a very rare Canadian Marconi 2843 receiver at the SPARC Radio Museum

Very rare Canadian Marconi 2843 receiver. Uses 8 galena crystals. Complete and working

Photo of an early portable spark transmitter/receiver at the SPARC Radio Museum

Early portable spark transmitter/receiver, maker unknown

Tubes!

With the development of the Audion tube and the realisation that it could amplify, not just detect, it became possible to make more sensitive receivers by adding simple tube amplifiers. Initially this was simply audio amplification stages tacked on after the detector.

Photo of the vintage Marconi tuner, detector and amplifier used at the Bamfield station.

Early Marconi of Canada Ltd tuner, detector and amplifier. Used at the Bamfield cable station on Vancouver Island.

Photo of Marconi of Canada MST, MSA tuner-amplifier combination

Marconi of Canada MST, MSA tuner-amplifier combination.

Photo of a universal receiver made by Canadian Government Radio Service

Universal Receiver manufactured by Canadian Government Radio Service

Photo of a receiver from Canadian Independant Telephone Co.

Receiver from Canadian Independent Telephone Co.

Photo of the Titanic radio room from the 1996 movie

Titanic radio room from the 1996 George C. Scott television movie “Titanic”

As a counterpart to the Carpathia Room, this is our original Marconi equipment in the Titanic radio room of the 1996 George C. Scott television movie “Titanic” (note the missing ceiling). Unfortunately this room went down with the ship.

If you look on and above the desk you can see the triple turret tuner and magnetic detector from the pictures above. These are the same models of equipment as were on the real Titanic.