Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi (April, 25 1874-July 20, 1937) is known as the "father of wireless". Born in Bologna, Italy, he was privately educated in Bologna, Florence, and Leghorn. From an early age he developed a keen interest in physical and electrical science. In 1895, he successfully sent wireless signals across a mile and a half. With this, an entire new world was opened for technology.


Marconi's 1895 transmitter

Marconi presented his invention in London in 1859. The Engineer-in-Chief of the Post Office, Sir William Preece, gave the first patent for a wireless telegraphy system for his achievement. It was enthusiastically received at demonstrations across England, leading Marconi to open The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company Inc., which was later re-named Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company Limited. By 1899, Marconi had managed to connect wireless signals across the English Channel and build permanent wireless stations.

In 1900, he took out his well-known patent #7777. This patent allowed for there to be simultaneous transmissions on different frequencies without interfering with one another's signals. This development led Marconi to make his greatest contribution yet. In December 1901, he proved, against everyone's skepticism, that wireless waves are not affected by the curvature of the earth. To many people's amazement he was able to send wireless signals from Cornwall, across the Atlantic, to Newfoundland--2,100 miles. This discovery marked the dawning of the age of radio. (for further reading: )

Although many thought that his invention was too expensive to put to use, particularly in such precarious places as ships, it proved to be life-saving. When the Titanic sank in 1912, Marconi's wireless system provided the ability to make the S.O.S. call that saved over 700 passengers.


Over the next couple of years, Marconi continued to patent several other inventions relating to wireless communication. In the 1920's he developed radio to transmit voices, lighting the flame to the expansion of the sensation of the radio. When WW1 came around, he developed short-wave transmission to carry secret messages across borders. He also served in the Italian Army, earning the Italian Military Medal in 1919 for his service.

Throughout his life he received many acknowledgments for his work including the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909 along with Karl Ferdinand Braun. Other Nobel Prize winners include Albert Einstein (1921), James Chadwick (1935) and William Shockley (1956). Marconi won other such honors as the Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts, the John Fritz Medal and the Kelvin Medal. Along with these recognitions, he was created the Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy, decorated by the Tsar of Russia, created Chevalier of the Civil Order of Savoy, and held the position of Senatore in the Italian Senate as well as being appointed Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in England.

Although there is some disputation as to who is the true inventor of the radio, there can be no doubt that Marconi's inventions took the world by storm and greatly contributed to society. Today, the radio's main parts include: the modem, MAC controller, driver, antenna, diodes, coil, and speaker. The radio continued to develop and led to such revolutionary inventions as the television and telephone. Without Marconi's contribution, who knows where other such revolutionary figures such as Steve Jobs might be today. Upon his death in 1937, all radio transmitters across the world silenced in his honor for two minutes.

by: Shelby Duncan


"Guglielmo Marconi." Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.

"Guglielmo Marconi - Biography". Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.

"Inventions and Contribution of Guglielmo Marconi to Electronics." Electronics Tutorial | The Best Electronics Tutorial Website. Electronics and You, 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.

"Inventor of the Week: Archive." MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT School of Engineering, Feb. 2004. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <>.