Acorn High H1 - 1920 x 116
Acorn High H1 - 1920 x 116
Acorn High H1 - 1920 x 116
Castelli H1 700 x 180

Guglielmo Marconi: Italy celebrates 150 years of radio pioneer

Italy celebrates global legacy of Marconi.

Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor and electrical engineer who pioneered the science of radio communication, was born in Bologna on this day in 1874.

Known as the father of radio, Marconi developed and marketed the first successful long-distance wireless telegraph and in 1901 broadcast the first transatlantic radio signal.

Marconi was the second son of Italian aristocrat Giuseppe Marconi and his Irish wife Annie Jameson, the grandaughter of John Jameson, founder of the Jameson whiskey distillery.

In 1896, at the age of 22, Marconi moved to London and took out a patent on wireless telegraphy before establishing The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company, later the Marconi Company.

Physicists at the time were focussed on the scientific phenomenon of radio waves however Marconi was among the first to seek ways of exploiting the commercial potential of this revolutionary new communication method.

In 1899 he succeeded in sending a transmission across the English Channel however his greatest breakthrough came on 12 December 1901 when he sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.

The signal travelled 3,500 km from Cornwall in England to Newfoundland in Canada and earned Marconi worldwide fame.

Marconi's pioneering role in the development of "wireless telegraphy" led to him being jointly awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun.

In 1914 Marconi became an Italian senator and was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the UK. In 1929 he received the heriditary Italian title of Marquis, an honour bestowed on him by King Victor Emmanuel III.

Marconi played a pivotal role in the creation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) whose first broadcast was made on 14 November 1922 from the Marconi HQ in central London.

Marconi's global legacy as the father of radio is overshadowed however by his links to fascism in Italy.

He joined the Fascist Party in 1923 and this led him to be given various prestigious public offices including president the Academy of Italy.

In 1931 Marconi set up Vatican Radio for Pope Pius XI who he introduced in the inaugural broadcast by saying: "I have the highest honour of announcing that in only a matter of seconds the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, will inaugurate the Radio Station of Vatican City State."

Marconi died in Rome of a heart attack on 20 July 1937, at the age of 63, and was buried in a mausoleum at Villa Griffone, his family home in Bologna.

Italy gave Marconi a state funeral and on the same day the BBC Radio network fell silent for two minutes in recognition of its founding father.

Marconi, who featured on the Italian 2,000 lira banknote, will be honoured in Italy in 2024 with a new postage stamp and a special commemorative coin.

He will also be remembered in numerous initiatives, conferences, exhibitions and events taking place across Italy.

Marconi is survived by his daughter, Princess Elettra, 94, who lives in Rome.

Acorn P H2 - 724 x 450
Ambrit 1920 x 190
Ambrit 1920 x 190
Ambrit 1920 x 190
AUR 320x480
Acorn High H5 bis 1400 x 360