News from the Titanic disaster dominated newspaper pages 100 years ago.
State headlines told of ships returning with bodies from the Titanic, U.S. hearings on the accident and news stories of the deadly tornadoes that struck five western counties, leaving 15 dead and at least 39 injured.
The following article from The Oklahoman of April 29, 1912, introduces Mrs. Fannie Dubois and gives her story of how the sinking of the ocean liner, Titanic affected her life.
“LOCAL LADY WINS IN WIRELESS BUY
“When Marconi Stock Soars She Sells Hers at Fancy Margin of Profit”
“As the result of the Titanic disaster and the decision of the English courts in favor of the Marconi patent for wireless, Mrs. Fannie Dubois, 1305 North Shartel Boulevard, has sold twenty-four shares of Marconi stock, which cost her $100 per share eight years ago, for $220 per share making her a snug little profit of more than one hundred percent.
“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good and the late horrible Titanic disaster was no exception to the rule. That accident which cast a gloom over the whole civilized world, also caused attention to be called to the workings of the wireless telegrapher, for had it not been for the distress call sent out by the Titanic’s hero of the wireless, many more would have found their graves in icebound waters with the magnificent ocean giant that is now only a sad memory.
“Just about that time the courts of England sustained the Marconi patents for wireless and it is expected that the United State courts will follow their example. As Marconi was the first with his invention, every other wireless company is infringing, to some extent or other, on his patent and the United Wireless even now is attempting to gain control of the Marconi company.”
Fannie Dubois was born in Belgium, immigrated to the United States at age 19 and moved to Oklahoma in 1909. The 1912 city directory lists her as proprietor of the Marquette Hotel.
In 1904, Mrs. Dubois bought 24 shares in the Marconi company. She held onto her shares even after the value dipped to about $28 a share and no dividends had been paid.
Little did she know that a Marconi wireless was installed on the Titanic and was responsible for sending the messages requesting help as the ship sank.
With the sinking of the Titanic and rumors that all ships would be required to install several wireless operators, Marconi stock suddenly became valuable.
Almost immediately, brokers began sending Mrs. Dubois telegrams with offers for her stock. She held out until the price reached $220 a share, and she sold for a total of $5,280. In today’s currency, the value of her shares would be about $13,200.
Not a bad return at all.