Deutschland incident (1902)

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The Deutschland incident of 1902 occurred in March of that year with a German passenger steamer from the Hamburg America Line named SS Deutschland. During a famous passage over the Atlantic, where the ship was carrying Prince Heinrich, the brother of the Kaiser back to Europe from a highly publicized visit to the United States, the steamer was prevented from using her Slaby-d'Arco system of wireless telegraphy as the Marconi radio stations refused its radio traffic through their nets and blocked the rival system. Prince Henry, who tried to send wireless messages to both the US and Germany, was outraged.

Marconi shore stations refused, except in the case of emergency, to accept messages from ships operating equipment from other sources. This brought up a number of questions of fairness — competitors claimed the Marconi companies were trying to set up a worldwide monopoly, while Marconi charged that his competitors were little more than parasites, wanting to take advantage of the investment his company had made in setting up the expensive shore stations.

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