The First Wireless Message Was Sent 116 Years Ago Today in SF
Cliff House Restaurant in San Francisco was the recepient of the world's first wireless message. (Wikimedia Commons)

The First Wireless Message Was Sent 116 Years Ago Today in SF


Feel free to text with reckless abandon today. It's basically a national holiday for wireless messaging.

On August 23, 1899 (exactly 116 years ago) what is widely believed to be the first ship-to-shore wireless message in American history was sent. The words "Sherman is sighted," were transmitted from Coast Guard Lightship No. 70 to a receiving station at the Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco. It announced the arrival of the Sherman, a troopship carrying a regiment returning from the Spanish-American War.

In fact, the day was so momentous that even Jack London wrote about it.

"'Frisco and Oakland has been roaring since last evening, when the Sherman was sighted," the famous author wrote to his friend Cloudesley Johns.

Consider this historic moment today as you send wireless text messages across the choppy, fog-choked San Francisco Bay all the way to Oakland and beyond.

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