Guglielmo Marconi, (April 25, 1874 – July 20, 1937) was an Italian electrical engineer and Nobel Prize laureate, known for the development of a practical wireless telegraphy system commonly known as the "radio". Marconi was President of the Accademia d'Italia and a member of the Fascist Grand Council (and was a loyal Fascist).
Although many scientists and inventors contributed to the invention of wireless telegraphy, including Lodge, ěrsted, Faraday, Hertz, Tesla, Edison, and others, Marconi's practical system achieved widespread use, so he is often credited as the "father of radio." Marconi's system was based primarily on Nikola Tesla's system, publicly demonstrated during a widely known lecture titled On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena, presented before a meeting of the National Electric Light Association in St. Louis and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Marconi was awarded what is sometimes recognised as the World's first patent for Radio with British Patent 12039, Improvements in transmitting electrical impulses and signals and in apparatus there-for on July 2, 1897. In July 1897, Marconi formed the London based Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company (later renamed the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company), which opened the World's first "wireless" factory in Hall Street, Chelmsford, England in 1898, employing around 50 people.
He received the first trans-Atlantic radio signal on December 12 1901 in St. John's, Newfoundland (now in Canada) using a 400-foot kite-supported antenna for reception. The transmitting station in Poldhu, Cornwall used a spark-gap transmitter to produce a signal with a frequency of approximately 500kHz and a power of 100 times more than any radio signal previously produced. The message received was three dots, the Morse code for the letter S. To reach Newfoundland the signal would have to bounce off the ionosphere twice. Dr. Jack Belrose has recently contested this, however, based on theoretical work as well as an actual reenactment of the experiment; he believes that Marconi heard only random atmospheric noise and mistook it for the signal.
On March 16, 1905 he married Beatrice O'Brien , daughter of Edward Donough O'Brien, 14th Baron Inchiquin . They had three daughters, one of whom lived only a few weeks, and one son. They divorced later.
Marconi didn't achieve fully reliable transatlantic communication until 1907.
He was the founder of the Marconi corporation and the joint 1909 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. During World War I, Marconi was in charge of the Italian wireless service. Marconi developed shortwave secret communication transmissions during this time.
In 1920 Marconi's Chelmsford factory was the location of the first officially publicised sound broadcasts in the UK, one of them featuring Dame Nellie Melba. In 1922 the World's first regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment commenced from the Marconi Research Centre at Writtle near Chelmsford. Marconi joined the Italian fascist party in 1923. Benito Mussolini made Marconi President of the Accademia d'Italia , which also made him a member of the Fascist Grand Council . He made fascist speeches on the Radio in a number of countries.
On June 15, 1927 he married Maria Cristina Bezzi-Scali . Their daughter was named Maria Elettra Elena Anna Marconi . In 1935, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the BBC that he had helped found banned him from broadcasting.
Death and afterwards
Marconi died in Rome on July 20, 1937.
Marconi's claim that he invented radio was always disputed by Nikola Tesla. Marconi did develop a practical model and was responsible for the first successful exploitation of the invention. In 1943, an ongoing lawsuit regarding this was finally resolved in Tesla's favor. This decision was based on the fact that there was prior work existing before the establishment of Marconi's patent. At the time, the United States Army was involved in a patent infringement lawsuit with Marconi's company regarding radio, leading some to posit that the government granted Tesla the patent on order to nullify any claims Marconi would have to compensation (as, some posit, the government's initial granting to Marconi the patent right in order to nullify any claims Tesla had for compensation).
External links and resources
- PBS : Who invented radio?
- The Guglielmo Marconi Case Who is the True Inventor of Radio
- U.S. Supreme Court, "Marconi Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States". 320 U.S. 1. Nos. 369, 373. Argued April 9-12, 1943. Decided June 21, 1943.
- 21st Century Books : Priority in the Invention of Radio — Tesla vs. Marconi