Guglielmo Giovanni Marconi at desk
In this new series (and the next five days) you will learn more about historical figures than many textbooks care to acknowledge. First up , is Marconi. These five statements below are either true or false. Before you let your fingers run to Google, try answering these questions by yourself. Answers will be posted in a few days Have fun and prepare to have your eyes opened.
1. Marconi was the inventor of the radio.
2. Part of his name (which I left out under the above photo) is "Maria".
3. At his wedding, Marconi's best man, was Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini.
4. The Starship song "We Built This City" mentions Marconi.
5. Marconi was a member of the Fascist Grand Council.
In the quiz above, every statement is true - except the first.
As early as 1892, Nikola Tesla created a basic design for radio. On November 8, 1898 he patented a radio controlled robot-boat. Tesla used this boat which was controlled by radio waves in the Electrical Exhibition in 1898, Madison Square Garden.
Tesla's robot-boat was constructed with an antenna, which transmitted the radio waves coming from the command post where Tesla was standing. Those radio waves were received by a radio sensitive device called coherer, which transmitted the radio waves into mechanical movements of the propellers on the boat.
Tesla changed the boat's direction, with manually operated controls on the command post. Since this was the first application of radio waves, it made front page news, in America, at that time.
Most of us, think of Guglielmo Marconi as the father of radio, and Tesla is unknown for his work in radio. Marconi claimed all the first patents for radio, something originally developed by Tesla. Nikola Tesla tried to prove that he was the creator of radio but it wasn't until 1943, where Marconi's patents were deemed invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court and due credit given to Nikola Tesla - thus restoring Tesla (who had died a few months earlier) as the inventor of the radio.