Maker Birthdays: Guglielmo Marconi

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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.

8 thoughts on “Maker Birthdays: Guglielmo Marconi

  1. Radio…

    Alleged Inventor: Guglielmo Marconi
    Actual Inventor: Nikola Tesla

    In 1895, Marconi introduced to the public a device in London, asserting it was his invention. Despite Marconi’s statements to the contrary, though, the apparatus resembles Tesla’s descriptions in the widely translated articles. Marconi’s later practical four-tuned system was pre-dated by N. Tesla, Oliver Lodge, and J. S. Stone. Marconi’s late-1895 transmission of signals was for around a mile. The electromechanical engineer Nikola Tesla, who has been called the father of wireless telegraphy, was one of the first to patent a means to reliably produce radio frequency waves. Between 1895 and 1899, Tesla claimed to have received wireless signals transmitted over long distances, although there is no independent evidence to support this. According to Tesla, “The popular impression is that my wireless work was begun in 1893, but as a matter of fact I spent the two preceding years in investigations, employing forms of apparatus, some of which were almost like those of today. . . .”

    1. While researching topics for the MAKE presents video series, I’ve run into several simailar situations. Some can likely be attributed to the “concurrent innovation” phenomena, still others like Tesla vs. Marconi seem to be unfortunately the result of commercial competition. Agreed tho – from what I’ve read, it does seem Tesla’s claims were justified. This just enforces the mantra – “Release early, release often” (and be sure to release as publicly as possible!)

  2. This is so crazy and adds to my wonderful day, what ever the case maybe between Marconi and Tesla. Today, without knowing it was Marconi’s birthday, I visited The Twin Lights of the Navesink in Highlands, NJ. It was here on September 30th, 1899, Gugliemo Marconi sent the first demonstrations of practical wireless telegraphy in America! Happy B-day Gugliemo!

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