1890-1910 History of Telecoms UK - Radio
Although he did not invent radio, Marconi's name is the one most people associate with it because he was the first to explore and demonstrate its potential. He was an inspired and resourceful researcher and entrepreneur. Family finance supported his early work in Italy and then on arrival in England in 1896, Post Office help was secured thanks to the interest of Sir William Preece.
The Treasury put a stop to this, seeing no future in the project. So the Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company was established. Marconi set up an experimental transmitting station at Poldhu Point, not far from The Lizard and Mullion in Cornwall. The transmitter was a simple, but powerful, spark gap type that essentially produced clicks that could convey the Morse Code powered by a 25 horsepower generator. . The 12th December 1901 marked Marconi's very first trans-Atlantic transmission involved sending the letter S in Morse Code. This radio signal was received by Marconi at Signal Hill in Newfoundland, using a large antenna about 600 feet long suspended from a kite. The signal heard was just the three faint clicks dot dot dot that denote the letter S in Morse Code.
After much more development work Marconi's radio system would provide the world with one of the most important communication tools known to mankind. His experiments had established that high power and large lofty aerials were needed to cover great distances. As a direct result of this triumph, sizeable wireless stations were put up all over the world within the next decade. Ways were found of tuning the signals produced by the sparks, and more sensitive receivers were devised. The scale of these great transmitters was heroic, with tens of kilowatts being dissipated in their spark gaps.
In the early years, radio received its greatest boost as a means of communicating from ship to shore. Maritime use became widespread. Marconi's enterprise paid off handsomely in providing equipment, trained operators and access to a strategic network of radio stations. The importance of this new means of communication was publicly acknowledged by the 1904 WireIess Telegraphy Act, bringing radio under government control, to ensure it’s development for the public good.