Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi
25 April 1874
Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna, Italy
|Died||20 July 1937 63) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Bologna|
|Academic advisors||Augusto Righi|
Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi FRSA (Italian: [ɡuʎˈʎɛlmo marˈkoːni] ; 25 April 1874 –20 July 1937) was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission, development of Marconi's law, and a radio telegraph system. He is credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".
Marconi was also an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in the United Kingdom in 1897 (which became the Marconi Company). He succeeded in making an engineering and commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists.In 1929, Marconi was ennobled as a Marchese (marquis) by King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, and, in 1931, he set up the Vatican Radio for Pope Pius XI.
Marconi was born into the Italian nobility as Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconiin Bologna on 25 April 1874, the second son of Giuseppe Marconi (an Italian aristocratic landowner from Porretta Terme) and his Irish wife Annie Jameson (daughter of Andrew Jameson of Daphne Castle in County Wexford, Ireland and granddaughter of John Jameson, founder of whiskey distillers Jameson & Sons ). Marconi had a brother, Alfonso, and a stepbrother, Luigi. Between the ages of two and six, Marconi and his elder brother Alfonso lived with their mother in the English town of Bedford.
Marconi did not attend school as a child and did not go on to formal higher education.Instead, he learned chemistry, math, and physics at home from a series of private tutors hired by his parents. His family hired additional tutors for Guglielmo in the winter when they would leave Bologna for the warmer climate of Tuscany or Florence. Marconi noted an important mentor was professor Vincenzo Rosa, a high school physics teacher in Livorno. Rosa taught the 17-year-old Marconi the basics of physical phenomena as well as new theories on electricity. At the age of 18 and back in Bologna, Marconi became acquainted with University of Bologna physicist Augusto Righi, who had done research on Heinrich Hertz's work. Righi permitted Marconi to attend lectures at the university and also to use the University's laboratory and library.
From youth, Marconi was interested in science and electricity. In the early 1890s, he began working on the idea of "wireless telegraphy"—i.e., the transmission of telegraph messages without connecting wires as used by the electric telegraph. This was not a new idea; numerous investigators and inventors had been exploring wireless telegraph technologies and even building systems using electric conduction, electromagnetic induction and optical (light) signalling for over 50 years, but none had proven technically and commercially successful. A relatively new development came from Heinrich Hertz, who, in 1888, demonstrated that one could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation. At the time, this radiation was commonly called "Hertzian" waves, and is now generally referred to as radio waves.
There was a great deal of interest in radio waves in the physics community, but this interest was in the scientific phenomenon, not in its potential as a communication method. Physicists generally looked on radio waves as an invisible form of light that could only travel along a line of sight path, limiting its range to the visual horizon like existing forms of visual signaling.Hertz's death in 1894 brought published reviews of his earlier discoveries including a demonstration on the transmission and detection of radio waves by the British physicist Oliver Lodge and an article about Hertz's work by Augusto Righi. Righi's article renewed Marconi's interest in developing a wireless telegraphy system based on radio waves, a line of inquiry that Marconi noted other inventors did not seem to be pursuing.
At the age of 20, Marconi began to conduct experiments in radio waves, building much of his own equipment in the attic of his home at the Villa Griffone in Pontecchio (now an administrative subdivision of Sasso Marconi), Italy with the help of his butler Mignani. Marconi built on Hertz's original experiments and, at the suggestion of Righi, began using a coherer, an early detector based on the 1890 findings of French physicist Edouard Branly and used in Lodge's experiments, that changed resistance when exposed to radio waves.In the summer of 1894, he built a storm alarm made up of a battery, a coherer, and an electric bell, which went off when it picked up the radio waves generated by lightning.
Late one night, in December 1894, Marconi demonstrated a radio transmitter and receiver to his mother, a set-up that made a bell ring on the other side of the room by pushing a telegraphic button on a bench.Supported by his father, Marconi continued to read through the literature and picked up on the ideas of physicists who were experimenting with radio waves. He developed devices, such as portable transmitters and receiver systems, that could work over long distances, turning what was essentially a laboratory experiment into a useful communication system. Marconi came up with a functional system with many components:
In the summer of 1895, Marconi moved his experiments outdoors on his father's estate in Bologna. He tried different arrangements and shapes of antenna but even with improvements he was able to transmit signals only up to one half mile, a distance Oliver Lodge had predicted in 1894 as the maximum transmission distance for radio waves.
A breakthrough came in the summer of 1895, when Marconi found that much greater range could be achieved after he raised the height of his antenna and, borrowing from a technique used in wired telegraphy, grounding his transmitter and receiver. With these improvements, the system was capable of transmitting signals up to 2 miles (3.2 km) and over hills. The monopole antenna reduced the frequency of the waves compared to the dipole antennas used by Hertz, and radiated vertically polarized radio waves which could travel longer distances. By this point, he concluded that a device could become capable of spanning greater distances, with additional funding and research, and would prove valuable both commercially and militarily. Marconi's experimental apparatus proved to be the first engineering-complete, commercially successful radio transmission system.
Marconi wrote to the Ministry of Post and Telegraphs, then under the direction of Pietro Lacava, explaining his wireless telegraph machine and asking for funding. He never received a response to his letter, which was eventually dismissed by the Minister, who wrote "to the Longara" on the document, referring to the insane asylum on Via della Lungara in Rome.
In 1896, Marconi spoke with his family friend Carlo Gardini, Honorary Consul at the United States Consulate in Bologna, about leaving Italy to go to England. Gardini wrote a letter of introduction to the Ambassador of Italy in London, Annibale Ferrero, explaining who Marconi was and about his extraordinary discoveries. In his response, Ambassador Ferrero advised them not to reveal Marconi's results until after a patent was obtained. He also encouraged Marconi to come to England where he believed it would be easier to find the necessary funds to convert his experiments into practical use. Finding little interest or appreciation for his work in Italy, Marconi travelled to London in early 1896 at the age of 21, accompanied by his mother, to seek support for his work. (He spoke fluent English in addition to Italian.) Marconi arrived at Dover, and the Customs officer opened his case to find various apparatus. The customs officer immediately contacted the Admiralty in London. While there, Marconi gained the interest and support of William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office. During this time Marconi decided he should patent his system, which he applied for on 2 June 1896, British Patent number 12039 titled "Improvements in Transmitting Electrical impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus therefor", which would become the first patent for a radio wave base communication system.
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Marconi made the first demonstration of his system for the British government in July 1896. 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) across Salisbury Plain. On 13 May 1897, Marconi sent the first ever wireless communication over open sea – a message was transmitted over the Bristol Channel from Flat Holm Island to Lavernock Point in Penarth, a distance of 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). The message read "Are you ready". The transmitting equipment was almost immediately relocated to Brean Down Fort on the Somerset coast, stretching the range to 16 kilometres (9.9 mi).A further series of demonstrations for the British followed, and, by March 1897, Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about
Impressed by these and other demonstrations, Preece introduced Marconi's ongoing work to the general public at two important London lectures: "Telegraphy without Wires", at the Toynbee Hall on 11 December 1896; and "Signalling through Space without Wires", given to the Royal Institution on 4 June 1897.
Numerous additional demonstrations followed, and Marconi began to receive international attention. In July 1897, he carried out a series of tests at La Spezia, in his home country, for the Italian government. A test for Lloyds between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland, was conducted on 6 July 1898. A transmission across the English channel was accomplished on 27 March 1899, from Wimereux, France to South Foreland Lighthouse, England. Marconi set up an experimental base at the Haven Hotel, Sandbanks, Poole Harbour, Dorset, where he erected a 100-foot high mast. He became friends with the van Raaltes, the owners of Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, and his sailing boat, the Elettra, was often moored on Brownsea or at the Haven Hotel when he was not conducting experiments at sea.
In December 1898, the British lightship service authorized the establishment of wireless communication between the South Foreland lighthouse at Dover and the East Goodwin lightship, twelve miles distant. On 17 March 1899, the East Goodwin lightship sent the first SOS message, a signal on behalf of the merchant vessel Elbe which had run aground on Goodwin Sands. The message was received by the radio operator of the South Foreland lighthouse, who summoned the aid of the Ramsgate lifeboat.
In the autumn of 1899, the first demonstrations in the United States took place. Marconi had sailed to the U.S. at the invitation of the New York Herald newspaper to cover the America's Cup international yacht races off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The transmission was done aboard the SS Ponce, a passenger ship of the Porto Rico Line. Saint Paul, and he and his assistants installed wireless equipment aboard during the voyage. On 15 November Saint Paul became the first ocean liner to report her imminent return to Great Britain by wireless when Marconi's Royal Needles Hotel radio station contacted her 66 nautical miles off the English coast.Marconi left for England on 8 November 1899 on the American Line's SS
At the turn of the 20th century, Marconi began investigating a means to signal across the Atlantic in order to compete with the transatlantic telegraph cables. Marconi established a wireless transmitting station at Marconi House, Rosslare Strand, Co. Wexford in 1901 to act as a link between Poldhu in Cornwall, England and Clifden in Co. Galway, Ireland. He soon made the announcement that the message was received at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland (now part of Canada) on 12 December 1901, using a 500-foot (150 m) kite-supported antenna for reception—signals transmitted by the company's new high-power station at Poldhu, Cornwall. The distance between the two points was about 2,200 miles (3,500 km). It was heralded as a great scientific advance, yet there also was—and continues to be—considerable scepticism about this claim. The exact wavelength used is not known, but it is fairly reliably determined to have been in the neighbourhood of 350 meters (frequency ≈ 850 kHz). The tests took place at a time of day during which the entire transatlantic path was in daylight. It is now known (although Marconi did not know then) that this was the worst possible choice. At this medium wavelength, long-distance transmission in the daytime is not possible because of heavy absorption of the skywave in the ionosphere. It was not a blind test; Marconi knew in advance to listen for a repetitive signal of three clicks, signifying the Morse code letter S. The clicks were reported to have been heard faintly and sporadically. There was no independent confirmation of the reported reception, and the transmissions were difficult to distinguish from atmospheric noise. A detailed technical review of Marconi's early transatlantic work appears in John S. Belrose's work of 1995. The Poldhu transmitter was a two-stage circuit.
Feeling challenged by skeptics, Marconi prepared a better organised and documented test. In February 1902, the SS Philadelphia sailed west from Great Britain with Marconi aboard, carefully recording signals sent daily from the Poldhu station. The test results produced coherer-tape reception up to 1,550 miles (2,490 km), and audio reception up to 2,100 miles (3,400 km). The maximum distances were achieved at night, and these tests were the first to show that radio signals for medium wave and longwave transmissions travel much farther at night than in the day. During the daytime, signals had been received up to only about 700 miles (1,100 km), less than half of the distance claimed earlier at Newfoundland, where the transmissions had also taken place during the day. Because of this, Marconi had not fully confirmed the Newfoundland claims, although he did prove that radio signals could be sent for hundreds of kilometres, despite some scientists' belief that they were limited essentially to line-of-sight distances.
On 17 December 1902, a transmission from the Marconi station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada became the world's first radio message to cross the Atlantic from North America. In 1901, Marconi built a station near South Wellfleet, Massachusetts that sent a message of greetings on 18 January 1903 from United States President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. However, consistent transatlantic signalling was difficult to establish.
Marconi began to build high-powered stations on both sides of the Atlantic to communicate with ships at sea, in competition with other inventors. In 1904, he established a commercial service to transmit nightly news summaries to subscribing ships, which could incorporate them into their on-board newspapers. A regular transatlantic radio-telegraph service was finally begun on 17 October 1907between Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, but even after this the company struggled for many years to provide reliable communication to others.
The role played by Marconi Co. wireless in maritime rescues raised public awareness of the value of radio and brought fame to Marconi, particularly the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912 and the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915.
RMS Titanic radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were not employed by the White Star Line but by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company. After the sinking of the ocean liner on 15 April 1912, survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line.Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, who later headed RCA. Wireless communications were reportedly maintained for 72 hours between Carpathia and Sarnoff, but Sarnoff's involvement has been questioned by some modern historians. When Carpathia docked in New York, Marconi went aboard with a reporter from The New York Times to talk with Bride, the surviving operator.
On 18 June 1912, Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the loss of Titanic regarding the marine telegraphy's functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea.Britain's postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster: "Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi ... and his marvellous invention." Marconi was offered free passage on Titanic before she sank, but had taken Lusitania three days earlier. As his daughter Degna later explained, he had paperwork to do and preferred the public stenographer aboard that vessel.
Over the years, the Marconi companies gained a reputation for being technically conservative, in particular by continuing to use inefficient spark-transmitter technology, which could be used only for radio-telegraph operations, long after it was apparent that the future of radio communication lay with continuous-wave transmissions which were more efficient and could be used for audio transmissions. Somewhat belatedly, the company did begin significant work with continuous-wave equipment beginning in 1915, after the introduction of the oscillating vacuum tube (valve). The New Street Works factory in Chelmsford was the location for the first entertainment radio broadcasts in the United Kingdom in 1920, employing a vacuum tube transmitter and featuring Dame Nellie Melba. In 1922, regular entertainment broadcasts commenced from the Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, forming the prelude to the BBC, and he spoke of the close association of aviation and wireless telephony in that same year at a private gathering with Florence Tyzack Parbury, and even spoke of interplanetary wireless communication.
In 1914, Marconi was made a Senator in the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy and appointed Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the UK. During World War I, Italy joined the Allied side of the conflict, and Marconi was placed in charge of the Italian military's radio service. He attained the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Italian Army and of commander in the Regia Marina. In 1929, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III.
Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.
While helping to develop microwave technology, Marconi suffered nine heart attacks in the span of 3 years preceding his death.Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 at age 63, following the ninth, fatal, heart attack, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, shops on the street where he lived were "Closed for national mourning". In addition, at 6 pm the next day, the time designated for the funeral, all BBC transmitters and wireless Post Office transmitters in the British Isles observed two minutes of silence in his honour. The British Post Office also sent a message requesting that all broadcasting ships honour Marconi with two minutes of broadcasting silence as well. His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honour in 1938.
In 1943, Marconi's elegant sailing yacht, the Elettra, was commandeered and re-fitted as a warship by the German Navy. She was sunk by the RAF on 22 January 1944. After the war, the Italian Government tried to retrieve the wreckage, to rebuild the boat, and the wreckage was removed to Italy. Eventually, the idea was abandoned, and the wreckage was cut into pieces which were distributed amongst Italian museums.
In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on Marconi's radio patents restoring some of the prior patents of Oliver Lodge, John Stone Stone, and Nikola Tesla.The decision was not about Marconi's original radio patents and the court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents. There are claims the high court was trying to nullify a World War I claim against the United States government by the Marconi Company via simply restoring the non-Marconi prior patent.
Marconi was a friend of Charles van Raalte and his wife Florence, the owners of Brownsea Island; and of Margherita, their daughter, and in 1904 he met her friend, Beatrice O'Brien (1882–1976), a daughter of The 14th Baron Inchiquin. On 16 March 1905, Beatrice O'Brien and Marconi were married, and spent their honeymoon on Brownsea Island.They had three daughters, Degna (1908–1998), Gioia (1916–1996), and Lucia (born and died 1906), and a son, Giulio, 2nd Marchese Marconi (1910–1971). In 1913, the Marconis returned to Italy and became part of Rome society. Beatrice served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elena. At Marconi's request, his marriage to Beatrice was annulled on 27 April 1927, so he could remarry. Marconi and Beatrice had divorced on 12 February 1924 in the free city of Fiume (Rijeka).
Marconi went on to marry Maria Cristina Bezzi-Scali (1900–1994), the only daughter of Francesco, Count Bezzi-Scali. To do this he had to be confirmed in the Catholic faith and became a devout member of the Church.He was baptised Catholic but had been brought up as a member of the Anglican Church. On 12 June 1927 Marconi married Maria Cristina in a civil service, with a religious ceremony performed on 15 June. They had one daughter, Maria Elettra Elena Anna (born 1930), who married Prince Carlo Giovannelli (1942–2016) in 1966; they later divorced. For unexplained reasons, Marconi left his entire fortune to his second wife and their only child, and nothing to the children of his first marriage.
Later in life, Marconi was an active Italian Fascistand an apologist for their ideology and actions such as the attack by Italian forces in Ethiopia.
In his lecture he stated: «I reclaim the honor of being the first fascist in the field of radiotelegraphy, the first who acknowledged the utility of joining the electric rays in a bundle, as Mussolini was the first in the political field who acknowledged the necessity of merging all the healthy energies of the country into a bundle, for the greater greatness of Italy».
Marconi wanted to personally introduce in 1931 the first radio broadcast of a Pope, Pius XI, and did announce at the microphone: "With the help of God, who places so many mysterious forces of nature at man's disposal, I have been able to prepare this instrument which will give to the faithful of the entire world the joy of listening to the voice of the Holy Father".
The asteroid 1332 Marconia is named in his honour. A large crater on the far side of the moon is also named after him.
As of 2016 the Canadian Marconi Company and CMC Electronics no longer exist. Most bought up by Esterline in Ottawa. The Marine Service Group was acquired by MacKay Marine but many of the employees left the group at transition.
Sir John Ambrose Fleming FRS was an English electrical engineer and physicist who invented the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, designed the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made, and also established the right-hand rule used in physics. He was the eldest of seven children of James Fleming DD, a Congregational minister, and his wife Mary Ann, at Lancaster, Lancashire, and baptised on 11 February 1850. A devout Christian, he once preached at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London on evidence for the resurrection. In 1932, he and Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming bequeathed much of his estate to Christian charities, especially those for the poor. He was a noted photographer, painted water colours, and enjoyed climbing the Alps.
Karl Ferdinand Braun was a German inventor, physicist and Nobel laureate in physics. Braun contributed significantly to the development of radio and television technology: he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Guglielmo Marconi "for their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".
The early history of radio is the history of technology that produces and uses radio instruments that use radio waves. Within the timeline of radio, many people contributed theory and inventions in what became radio. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy". Later radio history increasingly involves matters of broadcasting.
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not. Ancient signalling systems, although sometimes quite extensive and sophisticated as in China, were generally not capable of transmitting arbitrary text messages. Possible messages were fixed and predetermined and such systems are thus not true telegraphs.
Wireless telegraphy or radiotelegraphy is transmission of telegraph signals by radio waves; Before about 1910 when radio became dominant, the term wireless telegraphy was also used for various other experimental technologies for transmitting telegraph signals without wires, such as electromagnetic induction, and ground conduction telegraph systems.
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was a Canadian-born inventor, who did a majority of his work in the United States and also claimed U.S. citizenship through his American-born father. During his life he received hundreds of patents in various fields, most notably ones related to radio and sonar.
Amos Emerson Dolbear was an American physicist and inventor. Dolbear researched electrical spark conversion into sound waves and electrical impulses. He was a professor at University of Kentucky in Lexington from 1868 until 1874. In 1874 he became the chair of the physics department at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He is known for his 1882 invention of a system for transmitting telegraph signals without wires. In 1899 his patent for it was purchased in an unsuccessful attempt to interfere with Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegraphy patents in the United States.
Alexander Stepanovich Popov was a Russian physicist, who was one of the first persons to invent a radio receiving device.
A spark-gap transmitter is an obsolete type of radio transmitter which generates radio waves by means of an electric spark. Spark-gap transmitters were the first type of radio transmitter, and were the main type used during the wireless telegraphy or "spark" era, the first three decades of radio, from 1887 to the end of World War 1. German physicist Heinrich Hertz built the first experimental spark-gap transmitters in 1887, with which he proved the existence of radio waves and studied their properties.
Jozef Murgaš was a Slovak inventor, architect, botanist, painter and Roman Catholic priest. He contributed to wireless telegraphy and helped in the development of mobile communications and the wireless transmission of information and the human voice.
The invention of radio communication, although generally attributed to Guglielmo Marconi in the 1890s, spanned many decades, from theoretical underpinnings, through proof of the phenomenon's existence, development of technical means, to its final use in signalling.
The magnetic detector or Marconi magnetic detector, sometimes called the "Maggie", was an early radio wave detector used in some of the first radio receivers to receive Morse code messages during the wireless telegraphy era around the turn of the 20th century. Developed in 1902 by radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi from a method invented in 1895 by New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford it was used in Marconi wireless stations until around 1912, when it was superseded by vacuum tubes. It was widely used on ships because of its reliability and insensitivity to vibration. A magnetic detector was part of the wireless apparatus in the radio room of the RMS Titanic which was used to summon help during its famous 15 April 1912 sinking.
Etheric force is a term Thomas Edison coined to describe a phenomenon later understood as high frequency electromagnetic waves—effectively, radio. Edison believed it was the mysterious force that some believed pervaded the ether.
The timeline of radio lists within the history of radio, the technology and events that produced instruments that use radio waves and activities that people undertook. Later, the history is dominated by programming and contents, which is closer to general history.
Arthur Moore was a Welsh wireless operator who heard a distress signal from RMS Titanic before news of the disaster arrived in the UK. Following the notoriety of this feat he went on to a successful career in sales, management and development of early radio.
Harry Shoemaker was an American inventor and pioneer radio engineer, who received more than 40 U.S. patents in the radio field from 1901 to 1905. His transmitter and receiver designs set the standard for the U. S. commercial radio industry up to World War One.
The World Wireless System was a turn of the 20th century proposed telecommunications and electrical power delivery system designed by inventor Nikola Tesla based on his theories of using Earth and its atmosphere as electrical conductors. He claimed this system would allow for "the transmission of electric energy without wires" on a global scale as well as point-to-point wireless telecommunications and broadcasting. He made public statements citing two related methods to accomplish this from the mid-1890s on. By the end of 1900 he had convinced banker J. P. Morgan to finance construction of a wireless station based on his ideas intended to transmit messages across the Atlantic to England and to ships at sea. His decision to change the design to include wireless power transmission to better compete with Guglielmo Marconi's new radio based telegraph system was met with Morgan's refusal to fund the changes. The project was abandoned in 1906, never to become operational.
Marconi's law is the relation between length of antennas and maximum signaling distance of radio transmissions. Guglielmo Marconi enunciated at one time an empirical law that, for simple vertical sending and receiving antennas of equal height, the maximum working telegraphic distance varied as the square of the height of the antenna. It has been stated that the rule was tested in experiments made on Salisbury Plain in 1897, and also by experiments made by Italian naval officers on behalf of the Royal Italian Navy in 1900 and 1901. Captain Quintino Bonomo gave a report of these experiments in an official report.
Eugène Adrien Ducretet was a French scientific instrument manufacturer, who performed some of the first experiments on wireless telegraphy in France. His father, Louis Joseph Ducretet, was a Savoy textiles merchant who moved to Paris. He never completed a formal education, leaving primary school at age 15. After several years apprenticed to Paris engineer Paul-Gustav Froment, Ducretet opened his own workshop in 1864 at 21 Rue des Ursulines where with a few employees he manufactured classical physics research, teaching and demonstration apparatus, such as galvanometers, Wimshurst machines, and Crookes tubes. Over time his reputation grew and he became instrument supplier to several large Paris educational and scientific institutions. He was awarded a gold medal for his quality instruments at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition and from then on his firm was a regular presence at important international expositions, winning another gold at the 1881 International Electricity Exposition in Paris. He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1885.
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