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Guglielmo Marconi: The Inventor of the Telegraph Essay

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Updated: Oct 10th, 2021

Background of Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi was born in Italy, to be very specific in Bologna, his Father was an Italian who was a landowner and his Mother was Irish. Guglielmo studied in Italy in the lab of Augusto Righi. He also studied in Florence and at a later part in his life in Livorno. Guglielmo never did well as far as his studies were concerned. He was a member of the Anglican Church and he was Catholic who was baptized.

Guglielmo was involved in a scandal called the Italian Navy Coherer Scandal; it is believed that he stole the work of Jagadish Chandra Bose an Indian who is very renowned for his contribution in the field of Science. This happened because Jagadish Chandra Bose’s work could not be accepted because of the British rule, the British Administration made sure that his work never got published and it is very strongly believed that Guglielmo stole the work of Jagdish and came to the limelight. Guglielmo had a keen interest in Science and especially in Electricity right from the early years. During the time of Guglielmo the invention of the electromagnetic waves took place and this was invented by Heinrich Hertz. The death of Hertz threw more light upon his discoveries this further intrigued Guglielmo, Guglielmo got very motivated and decided to invent something unseen by the world. He conducted experiments by setting up his own devices and material required to carry out the experiment. His main goal was to use radio waves to create wireless telegraphy. This meant that the transmission of the wireless messages got across without using any wires.

The Development of the Invention

This was not a new subject Guglielmo was working on, research had been already done on this subject, and he just utilized whatever was researched about the subject. Guglielmo used many important parts in this experiment, parts like oscillator, spark producing radio transmitters, a telegraph key were used in his experiments. Other researchers also used the spark- Gap transmitters but they could not get the transmission to cover a long range, the transmission usually covered a few hundred meters. The case was no different for Guglielmo; he also got limited transmission when he first attempted the experiment. But at a later stage he experimented outdoors, he increased the length of the transmitter and the radio antenna this resulted in a very big success. The transmission improved drastically and he was able to transmit signals with a range of roughly about 1.5 kilometers. He concluded that he required funding to invent a device which could take this forward. He believed that this experiment will be very useful if it becomes an invention to the military personnel’s as they would be able to transmit signals easily.

When he was close to inventing what he dreamt of all his life, he realized that Italy was not the right place to be in. He moved to London along with his Mother at the age of 21 to pursue the invention. 1897 was the year when Guglielmo sent the first ever wireless communication and this was done over Sea. The approximate distance covered by the signal was about 6 kilometers; the message which he sent read “Are you ready”. This was a good enough invention to receive international attention; this work quickly caught the eye of the international people associated with the same field. “Marconi sailed to the United States at the invitation of the New York Herald newspaper to cover the races off Sandy Hook, NJ. The transmission was done aboard the SS Ponce, a passenger ship of the Porto Rico Line. According to the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute by the , the Marconi instruments were tested around 1899 and the tests concerning his wireless system found that the coherer, principle of which was discovered some twenty years ago, [was] the only electrical instrument or device contained in the apparatus that is at all new” (The Institute, 18 November 2008). He was in charge of the Italian radio team in World War one, in addition to this his invention was valued and appreciated by many scholarly people. 1937 saw the death of Guglielmo, he died due to series of heart attacks the whole of Italy mourned his death and people paid their tribute to the genius.

The Impact of the Invention

“Two events of singular chronological importance occurred at the end of the last century and at the beginning of this century, which were destined to become emblematic as the historical link between two different epochs in human civilization. The former of these events was the first radio news service transmitted by Guglielmo Marconi between 20 and 22 July, 1898 from the coast of Ireland during the yacht races sponsored by the Royal Yatch Club. Thanks to the radio link, the «Daily Express» of Dublin was able to publish an account of the race even before the yachts had come back into port. The latter event, to which we refer, occurred on 12 December 1901 and once again Marconi was the protagonist. On that date he received a radio message, whilst on the island of Newfoundland, off the coast of Canada, transmitted across the Atlantic from the Poldhu Station in Cornwall1.” (Social Implications of the Computer Revolution, 2008).

The invention was the real turning point in the history of invention; it gave a new dimension to creativity. The communication process became easier and quicker. Messages were easily conveyed across with the help of the invention which was not possible prior to the invention. The invention also proved beneficial in more ways than one for human beings, communication process became common to all the people in the world, and this resulted in a very big change. There was no need to convey the same message to a large number of people individually; the same was done very easily and conveniently with the help of this invention. This gave rise to social networking among people which proved very beneficial and further gave further rise to new inventions which have changes our world today. To conclude it is very fair to say that the invention was instrumental in bringing positive changes in the society.

Patent of the Invention

The year 1896 saw Guglielmo apply for a Patent for the invention he had made, in the year 1897 he established his own company by the name Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company. The company was established in Hall Street which is close to London and can easily be accessed by Rail and this was what Guglielmo wanted. The name of the company was changed many a time in the following years, in the year 1963 it was renamed as Marconi Company Limited, in 1987 again the name of the company was changed to GEC- Marconi Limited, the name was again changed for a couple of more times and it was finally named as Marconi PLC in the year 1999.

“Marconi’s first aim in perfecting communication without wires had been to break the isolation of those at sea. The first life-saving possibilities of wireless were realized in 1899 when a wireless message was received from the East Goodwin lightship – which had been equipped with Marconi wireless apparatus. It had been rammed in dense fog by a steamship R.F. Matthews. A request was made for the assistance of a lifeboat.” (Guglielmo Marconi, 18 November 2008). The invention was instrumental in saving countless lives, the invention led to further development in the area and these days there are advanced versions of the same invention available. The credit truly goes to Guglielmo Marconi for taking an initiative, he aimed at inventing something which could save the lives of the people and he certainly succeeded in all his endeavors. Even when the Titanic sank, it was because of his invention which the help of which the lives of the survivors could be saved. This is commendable, the efforts and the dedication put in by Guglielmo Marconi is truly an example for all the people who aim at inventing something which could be beneficial to the other people.


  1. . In Radar Personalities. Wеb.
  2. Helgesen, Henry N., “Wireless Goes to Sea: Marconi’s Radio and SS Ponce”, Sea History (2008): 122
  3. Social Implications of the Computer Revolution. In VLEX.
  4. United States Naval Institute, Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. The Institute, 1899. Page 857.
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