September 27, 1916
To The President of the Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D. C.
My dear Sir;
This communication I had intended sending a little later, I feel that it would not be desirable to delay any longer. Incidentally, I think it would be best not to make it public.
For a number of years I have been at work upon a method of raising recording apparatus to altitudes exceeding the limit for sounding balloons; and during the last two years I have tried-out the essential features of the method at the Laboratory of Clark University with very gratifying results. These experiments are now completed, and I feel that I have settled every point upon which there could be reasonable doubt. Incidentally, I have reached the limit of the work I can do single-handed; both because of expense, and also because further work will require more than one man's time.
My reason for writing just now is the following: My device will be capable of propelling masses, such as expolsives, for very great distances, and hence would very likely be useful in warfare; although for very great ranges the accuracy would not be extreme. Dr. A. G. Webster of Clark University, who, as you doubtless know, is a member of the Naval Consulting Board, has recently broached the subject of my device to that Board, and has asked me when I can give him a statement concerning it.