Guglielmo Marconi


Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, his greatest achievement being the development of a radio telegraph system, for which he earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 alongside Karl Ferdinand Braun. His invention was used in war efforts, for diplomatic exchanges, and as a safety precaution in seafaring vessels. He is greatly renowned as a forefather of the modern radio.

During his early years, Marconi did not do well at school, but he did have aninterest in science and history. He briefly studied electromagnetic radiation underAugusto Righi, a physicist at the University of Bologna, before embarking on his own. Constructing most of the needed equipment in the attic of his home in Italy, Marconi began toconduct experiments as he sought to build a wireless system through which coded messagescould be sent. He was far from the first to undertake such an endeavor, but pastattempts in the field had not proved commercially successful. After several months ofconstruction and adjustment, Marconiís system was able to transmit signals nearly a mile, allwithout the use of any wires whatsoever. Unable to find significant support for hiswork in Italy, he took the telegraph system to London, where he hoped that he might earnenough profit to improve upon his product. There soon followed several demonstrationsof his system for the British government, including a 3.7 mile Morse code transmissionacross the Salisbury Plain, and later, a wireless crossing of the English Channel. In 1901, he sent a message from Newfoundland to Cornwall, 2200 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean, and two years later a greeting from Theodore Roosevelt was sent to Edward VII of England. Additionally, Marconi was highly praised for his invention when his radio system allowed those on board the sinking Titanic to call for help.

In 1914, Marconi was made a member of the Italian Senate, and during World War I he was placed in charge of the Italian militaryís radio service after Italy joined the Allied ranks. He later went on to become a lieutenant and was made a marquis by King Victor Emmanuel III. He joined the Italian Fascist party under Benito Mussolini, and he achieved the status of Fascist Grand Council Member before his death in Rome following a series of heart attacks. In tribute to this well-respected inventor, all radio stations observed two minutes of silence following his passing, in reverence for the creator of the first working wireless telegraph.

Key events during the life of Guglielmo Marconi:

Built his first wireless telegraphy system
Began experiments in transmitting messages over increasing distances
Transmitted morse code over a distance of 3.7 miles across the Salisbury Plain
Transmission across English channel
Radio system helped save Titanic survivors by alerting other ships to their location
First American demonstrations of Marconi's telegraph system
Regular entertainment broadcasts were put out by the Marconi Research Centre
Made a Senator in the Italian Senate
Joined the Italian Fascist party
Made a Marquis by Victor Emmanual III
Became a member of the Fascist Grand Council
Passed away following several heart attacks

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Guglielmo Marconi  in  Great Inventors and Their Inventions  by  Frank P. Bachman

Image Links

A Wireless Operator
 in Great Inventors and Their Inventions

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