July 20, 1937 - Death of Guillaume Marconi, father of radiotelegraphy

The son of Italian landowner Giuseppe Marconi and Irishwoman Annie Jameson, Guillermo Marconi was born in Bologna on 25 April 1874.

Marconi studied at his home town's university, where he carried out the first experiments with electromagnetic waves in telegraph communication.

With the idea of using electromagnetic waves to transmit signals through space, he built an apparatus to connect the transmitter and receiver via an antenna. Thus, in 1886, he succeeded in transmitting the first radiotelegraphic message at a distance of 250 metres between the transmitter and receiver.

As a result of these discoveries, he concluded that Hertzian waves do not travel in a straight line, but follow the curvature of the earth. In 1890 he became interested in wireless telegraphy, and in 1895 he invented a device with which he managed to send signals several kilometres away thanks to a directional antenna.

Marconi founded the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Company in 1897 after patenting this system in Great Britain.

In 1899 he achieved communication between England and France across the English Channel, and in 1901 he transmitted signals across the Atlantic Ocean between Poldhu in Cornwall and Saint John's in Newfoundland, Canada.

His system was soon taken up by the Italian and British navies, and by about 1907 he had achieved such perfection that a transatlantic wireless telegraphy service was established for public use.

Marconi, electrical engineer, entrepreneur and inventor, is known for being one of the most prominent promoters of long-distance radio transmission, for the establishment of Marconi's Law, as well as for the development of the system of wireless telegraphy (T.S.H.) or radiotelegraphy.

In 1909, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with the German Karl Ferdinand Braun, in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy. He also won the Franklin Medal, was president of the Italian Academy and was made a Marquis by King Victor Emmanuel III. He is inducted into the Chicago Museum of Telecommunications and Broadcasting's Hall of Fame, and in his honour, the National Association of Broadcasters of the United States presents the annual NAB (Marconi Radio Awards).

Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 of a heart attack. All radio stations around the world observed two minutes of silence as a mark of respect.

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