Guglielmo Marconi

  • From:

    Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. | London, United Kingdom

  • Year:

    1918

  • Subject:

    Engineering

  • Award:

    Franklin

  • Citation:

    For the application of radio waves to communication.

Guglielmo Marconi was born at Bologna, Italy, in 1874. From an early age, he was strongly interested in electrical science, and in 1895 he began laboratory experiments at his father's country estate at Pontecchio where he succeeded in sending wireless signals over a distance of one and a half miles, thus becoming the inventor of the first practical system of wireless telegraphy.

In 1896, Marconi took his apparatus to England where he was introduced to William Preece, Engineer-in-Chief of the Post Office, and later that year was granted the world's first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy. He demonstrated his system successfully in London, on Salisbury Plain and across the Bristol Channel, and in July 1897 formed The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Limited (in 1900 re-named Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company Limited). The company grew quickly, establishing other wireless stations around England. Fascinated by the idea of sending a wireless signal across the Atlantic Ocean, he built a transmitter, 100 times more powerful than any previous station, at Poldhu, on the southwest tip of England, and in November 1901 installed a receiving station at St. John's Newfoundland.

On December 12, 1901, he received signals from across the ocean. News of this achievement spread around the world, and he was acclaimed by outstanding scientists, including Thomas A. Edison. Successfully sending this signal proved that wireless waves were not affected by the curvature of the Earth.

Information as of 1918