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Page:Collier's New Encyclopedia v. 10.djvu/463

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WIRT

393

WISCONSIN

was established between Sayville, L. I., and Nauen, Germany. Direct communication by wireless telegraphy was established between the United States and Japan in 1915. During the World War practically all war vessels, including submarines, were equipped with wireless apparatus. Aeroplanes were likewise equipped with wireless installations and these proved an effective means of locating enemy troops and batteries. Wireless telegraphy was developed to a high state of efficiency during the war. It is also used for commercial purposes and in the transmission of news and commercial matter. The United States has established a widespread system of aerial communication. Stations are established at Arlington, Va., Panama Canal Zone, San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in Samoa, and in the Philippine Islands.

Wireless Telephony. — A system of telephone communication in which the action of the transmitter brings about fluctuations in electric waves which are radiated through space by a high frequency current. These fluctuations are reproduced at the distant station in the form of the original sounds. Wireless telephony differs from wireless telegraphy in that the transmission of waves is continuous instead of interrupted. Wireless telephony has become a practical method of communication between ships at sea and between moving railroad trains. The distance to which sounds can be transmitted is practically limitless. Communication is held between New York and San Francisco, and between Arlington, Va., and Honolulu. The system was developed to a point of great efficiency in aeroplanes during the war. This use was especially notable in the great Meuse-Argonne campaign of 1918, when the American Signal Corps successfully directed operations beyond the lines by the use of wireless telephony.

WIRT, WILLIAM, an American lawyer; born in Bladensburg, Md., Nov. 8, 1772; was admitted to the bar in 1792, and in 1806 settled in Richmond, Va., where he became a prominent lawyer. He distinguished himself at the trial of Aaron Burr in 1807, as one of the counsel for the prosecution. He held many State offices, being clerk of the House of Delegates, Chancellor of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and member of the House of Delegates. He was appointed United States District Attorney in 1816, and Attorney-General in 1817, holding the latter office till 1829, through three administrations. He was nominated for President in 1832 by the Anti-Masonic party and received the electoral vote of Vermont. He wrote “Letters of the British Spy” (1803); “The Rainbow” and other essays; “Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry” (1817), and various addresses. He died in Washington, D. C., Feb. 18, 1834.

WISBY, the chief town of the Swedish island of Gotland; is a thriving seaport on the W. coast, and has a fine cathedral (1200). It was once one of the richest of the Hanse towns, with 18 churches, but was taken and destroyed by the Danish King Valdemar III. in 1361, and has never regained its importance. There are great ruins of seven of its former churches; but of the others and of the castle of Wisborg, destroyed by the Danes in 1675, there is little trace left. Pop. about 10,000.

WISCONSIN, a State in the North Central Division of the North American Union; bounded by Lakes Michigan and Superior, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota; admitted to the Union, May 20, 1848; capital, Madison; number of counties, 71; area, 56,066 square miles; pop. (1890) 1,686,880; (1900) 2,069,042; (1910) 2,333,860; (1920) 2,632,067.

Topography.—Wisconsin is an elevated undulating plain with an altitude of from 600 to 1,800 feet above the sea. A ridge about 30 miles S. of Lake Superior forms the watershed of the State, the ground sloping down in all directions. A high cliff extends along the shore of Green Bay and Lake Winnebago. The Mississippi river extends along the W. boundary for a distance of 250 miles, and receives the St. Croix, Chippewa, Black, and Wisconsin rivers. Other important rivers are the Rock, St. Louis, Bois Brulé, Bad, and Montreal, flowing into Lake Superior; the Menomonee, Peshtigo, Oconto, Pensaukee, and Fox, flowing into Green Bay; and the Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee, emptying into Lake Michigan. The State is famous for its numerous beautiful lakes among which are the Winnebago, St. Croix, Pepin, Poygan, Pewaukee, Geneva, Green, Koshkonong, Oconomowoc, and Four Lakes. The lake shores have numerous excellent harbors, including Green Bay, Chequamegon Bay, and Port Washington.

Geology and Mineralogy.—The Laurentian, Devonian, and Archæan periods are all well represented in Wisconsin. The Archæan rocks cover an area in the N. central portion of the State, with an extreme length of 240 miles, and 160 miles wide. They consist principally of metamorphic granite, gneiss, syenite, diorite, schists, and slates, S. of this tract, and along the Lake Superior slope are