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On this day in way back in 1874 Marchese Guglielmo Marconi was born. At the beginning of the 20th century he played a pivotal role in the development of wireless communication. By incorporating and refining preexisting technologies, Marconi’s radiotelegraph sent messages over unprecedented distances. In 1902 his experimental transmissions made it all the way across the atlantic ocean. Marconi’s developments most benefitted seagoing vessels of the era – perhaps most famously in 1912 when messages sent from the Titanic’s “Marconi room” brought the aid of others. But these historical achievements all trace back to an attic Pontecchio, Italy, where Marconi began his research years before, tinkering and building his own equipment.

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The Marconi Collection at the Museum of Science, Oxford documents a variety of equipment produced by the Marconi Co. like the above induction coil. For more info on the man and his life, be sure to visit the relevant entry on Wikipedia.