This paper studies the notion of virtuality in the Bohr-Kramers-Slater theory of 1924. We situate the virtual entities of BKS within the tradition of the correspondence principle and the radiation theory of the Bohr model. We show how, in this context, virtual oscillators emerged as classical substitute radiators and were used to describe the otherwise elusive quantum transitions. They played an effective role in the quantum theory of radiation while remaining categorically distinct and ontologically separated from the quantum world of the Bohr model. The notion of virtuality thus differs markedly from its counterpart in quantum mechanics or QFT.

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