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Ford Car Mysteriously Receives Telegraph Signals (Footnote to History)

(This article originally appeared on page 2 of the April 8, 1928 publication of the Los Angeles Times and is reprinted word-for-word below. A follow-up story is beneath it.)

Integrity Good Up To This Time

Two Texans Report Ford Car Receives Telegraph Message Easily Decipherable

WACO (Tex.) April 7. (Exclusive) -Assistant County Engineer Lee Clayton, with a companion, Pat Flenniken, the latter a telegrapher, caught part of a telegraph message through a Ford car while ten miles from Waco. Both have reputations of greatest integrity. The engine of the Ford was not running and ignition was cut off, when a peculiar buzzing was heard, which Flenniken recognized as telegraph code, and spelled out five words, letter by letter. The code was perfectly plain, said Flenniken. The buzzing code came from beneath the dash board of the car.

Two Texans Report Ford Car Receives Telegraph Message Easily Decipherable
This article originally appeared on page 2 of the April 8, 1928 publication of the Los Angeles Times.

Californian Wise-Cracks at Wacoans

(The following story appeared on page 1 of the Waco News-Tribune on April 20, 1928.)

Lee Clayton’s Telegraphing Ford Wins Publicity

Assistant County Engineer Lee Clayton and Pat Flenniken of the county engineer’s department, unwittingly have received nation-wide publicity for the peculiar antics of their Ford automobile which recently was reported to have picked up bits of telegraph code while the pair were surveying a county road near White Hall, 10 miles from Waco.

Now Clayton and Flenniken have both been recognized by their fellow associates for their honesty and truthfulness.

Recently while the Ford auto­mobile was stopped near White Hall, Clayton’s attention was at­tracted to a peculiar buzzing be­neath the dash-board. Flenniken, a telegrapher, deciphered the words “the receipts from the story” as they issued from the automobile in telegraph code. They let their discovery be known.

Skeptical Los Angelan

A Los Angeles newspaper print­ed an account of the county employes’ story heading it “Integrity good up to this time.”

“They may think we are liars out in California,” Clayton said, “and I’11 admit we have tried the Ford several times since and we have been unable to pick up the code again, but we sure heard the code from beneath the dash­board.”

Not at All Improbable

Flenniken, who was once a sailor in Uncle Sam s fleet, and who de­ciphered the code from Clayton’s Ford said he had known the hull of a ship to pick up radio code without the assistance of a radio set, and still maintains he heard the signals from Clayton’s Ford automobile.

“They are both good boys and we believe them,” County Surveyor Joe Goddard said. “At least no one has jumped up to try and prove their statement is false. I believe a Ford can do most any­thing. Why can’t it pick up telegraph code?”

This story appeared on page 1 of the Waco News-Tribune on April 20, 1928.
This story appeared on page 1 of the Waco News-Tribune on April 20, 1928.
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