SOS is 100 years old: …—…—…—…—

Happy 100th birthday, SOS!

There was some early success for the new system a year later when the Cunard liner the SS Slavonia was stricken off the Azores. She sent out an SOS and not a single life was lost.

Even so, not everybody was convinced instantly, and it took the tragedy of the Titanic to reveal just how vital a universal system was. After the collision in April 1912, the ship's radio operators sent out both the old CQD and the new SOS signals, but some ships in the area ignored both, thinking that they were having a party. They soon learnt otherwise, as international headlines told how Jack Phillips, the Titanic's first radio operator, and 1,500 others had been lost along with the "unsinkable" ship. The new SOS distress signal was rarely ignored after that.


(via Kottke)