Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / November 1918

November 1918: World War 1 Ends

The National Bureau of Standards radio lab worked closely with the Army and Navy during the First World War. During the war, the lab's work was focused on military needs, such as air navigation devices, submarine communications equipment, and training books for military radio operators. The demand for its work had prompted the lab to increase staff to 40 people. At 11:00 AM on November 11th 1918 the Armistice of Compiègne began. Signed two days earlier, following the abdication of the German Kaiser, this treaty marked the end of World War I’s hostilities. With the end of the war, the radio lab began to focus its efforts on research that could improve the lives of civilians. Staff tested broadcasting equipment, created radios for home use, and pioneered new methods of transmitting. The return of radio savvy servicemen and the release of airwaves  monopolized by the Navy during the war combined to create a boom in commercial radio in the early 1920s. Without military funds from the war effort, the Bureau struggled to recruit and keep experienced radio researchers to study the fundamentals of radio propagation. Nonetheless, their work on signal fading and the ionosphere helped commercial stations maintain steady signals with minimal interference and contributed significantly to the growth of the industry. Today, ITS continues to support the needs of both military and civilian telecommunications by performing basic and applied research to encourage the development of new, more efficient and effective communications technologies.