Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi in Elettra’s Radio Lab

Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi (1874, Bologna; 1937, Roma)

The main achievements of his life and of the scientific and experimental activities of Guglielmo Marconi; the man who ushered in the modern Wireless universe in which we all live.

Guglielmo Marconi is comparable to the mysterious and vital centre of an immense galaxy from which infinite systems of bodies in continuous motion radiate and live together.

Guglielmo Marconi represents the uninterrupted progression of human research in its journey from the past to the future of modern civilization.

The Marconi Magic Box Project, was created for the centenary of the Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to the scientist, from Bologna (Stockholm, 10 December 1909).

A brief summary of Guglielmo Marconi’s life and work, appears below. 

Biographical outline, notes on his scientific and technical activities

1874, April 25
Marconi was born
Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna; his father was Giuseppe Marconi and his mother, Annie Jameson, was a young Irish Protestant. His mother grew him as a Protestant Christian, teaching him the English language. In a second phase of his life, Guglielmo Marconi was converted to Catholicism.

Righi and his Laboratory
Guglielmo Marconi did not accomplished regular studies and did not attend the university. He received his education privately at Bologna, Florence and Livorno. The privileged place for his early experiments remains the famous “bug room” at the family estate in today Sasso Marconi. Among his “guardians”, Vincenzo Rosa and Augusto Righi are particularly reported. Especially, Augusto Righi – a scientist and university professor – was publicly thanked and praised by Marconi for his contribution to his education and scientific activity, introducing him almost as “mentor”.
First Laboratory
Propagation of Electric Waves

Marconi built his first laboratory to perform experiments on the propagation of electric waves. His family, contrary to some rumours – complained by the very Marconi – endorsed and actively and economically supported the efforts of the young scientist.


The historical experiment “of Celestini” (from the name of the hill) was made; Guglielmo Marconi sent a radio signal at a distance of about 1700 meters; the brother and the bailiff, listening with the receiver, signalled the acknowledge receipt of the signal with a shot.

From Italy to England

Guglielmo Marconi moved to England, helped by his knowledge of the language but also spurred – most likely – by his enterpreurial spirit: Marconi realized that England, at the turn of the nineteenth century, was the financial and economic capital of the Planet.

1897, July 2
First Patent
Patent of 1897 – Diagrams

Guglielmo Marconi received his first patent for the system of wireless telegraphy –British Patent No. 12. 039 Improvements in Transmitting Electrical Impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus therefore, applied on June 2, 1896 – opened in fact, the Wireless Universe and its career as an entrepreneur of Communications.

Founding a Company
Marconi’s Telegraph Company

In this important year, Gugliemo Marconi also founded the company “The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company Limited”, later renamed “Marconi’s Telegraph Company Limited” (1900), in Chelmsford (Essex, England) and made demonstrative transmissions for the Italian government in Rome and La Spezia, coming to transmit signals to a distance of about 30 km.

1898, July
Real-time News
Sailing Ragattas of Dublin

Guglielmo Marconi followed the Sailing Ragattas of Dublin on board a ship and sent the news in real time to the Dublin’s Daily Express, which managed to publish the results before the boats’ return.

Ship to Ship
Radio Across the Waves

Two British ships equipped with Marconi’s  radiotelegraphic appliances, exchanged radio signals from 140 Km away.

1898, August
Royal Connection
A Commission from Queen Victoria

Marconi was commissioned by the Queen Victoria to maintain her residence in the Isle of Wight in connection with the royal yacht cruising in the Channel, on which was the Prince of Wales, injured a leg: in 16 days 150 messages were sent.

1898, Autumn
On Your Marks !
Sports Commentary In the USA

Guglielmo Marconi duplicated the experiment of sport “commentary” in the United States, that made him very popular.

Patent 7777
Patent and Transmitter

Guglielmo Marconi obtains the famous patent 7777 (tuned or syntonic telegraphy) linked to the system that allows you to assign certain frequencies to different radio stations.

1901, January 23
Over The Horizon
Lizard Wireless Station - Bass Point

Marconi received the first over the horizon wireless signal at the Lizard Wireless Station which was being transmitted from the Isle Of Wight. A distance of 186 miles (300km) which proved that wireless signals followed the earths curvature.

1901, December 12
Across the Pond
Poldhu Transmission

After successfully transmitted signals from the Island of Wight to the tip of Cornwall (approximately 300 km), Gugliemo Marconi made a transatlantic link of nearly 3400 km, between Poldhu (Cornwall, UK) and St. John’s Newfoundland (Canada), showing empirically that the earth curvature does not affect radio transmissions.

Detector Experiments
The Magnetic Detector

Marconi performed experiments with the detector equipment aboard the armoured cruiser Carlo Alberto, placed at his disposal by the Italian government; the same year he patented the “magnetic detector”, a step towards the “fine tuning” radio.

More Experiments
The Daylight Effect

Conducting experiments aboard the U.S. liner Philadelphia, Guglielmo Marconi first demonstrated the “daylight effect” on radio, until then only theorized by the scientific world, thus contributing to research in different fields.

1903, January 18
Radio Telegram
Cape Cod Station

Marconi opened the station of Cape Cod, near Boston, with a radio telegram of President Thodore Roosevelt to S.M. King Edward VII of England.

1903, September
On board the liner Lucanian
First Press Service

During the voyage from England to the United States on board the liner “Lucanian”, Marconi provided the first Press Service between Europe and United States: it began the regular publication of newspapers on board ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean.