Who Invented the Radio?
Radio owes its development to two other inventions—the telegraph, and the telephone. In fact, all three technologies are closely related. Few radio broadcasts travel through the air exclusively, many are sent over telephone wires.
Many people were involved in the invention of radio as we know it today. Experimental work on the connection between electricity and magnetism began around 1820 with the work of Hans Christian Ørsted, and continued with the work of André-Marie Ampère, Joseph Henry, and Michael Faraday.
In the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist, predicted the existence of radio waves, and in 1886 Hein rich Rudolph Hertz, a German physicist, demonstrated that rapid variations of electric current could be projected into space in the form of radio waves, similar to those of light and heat.
Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, proved the feasibility of radio communication. He sent, and received his first radio signal in Italy in 1895. By 1899, he flashed the first wireless signal across the English Channel, and two days later received the letter ‘S’, telegraphed from England to Newfoundland.
This was the first successful transatlantic radio telegraph message in 1902. Nikola Tesla is now credited with having invented the modern radio. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned Marconi’s patent in 1943 in favor of Tesla. Wireless signals proved effective in communication for rescue work when a sea disaster occurred.
A number of sea liners/ocean liners installed wireless equipment. In 1899, the United States Army established wireless communications with a light ship of Fire Island, New York. Two years later, the Navy adopted a wireless system. Up to then, the Navy had been using visual signaling and homing pigeons for communication.
On 23 December 1900, Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to send audio (wireless telephony) by means of electromagnetic waves, successfully transmitting over a distance of about 1.6 kilometers, and six years later on Christmas Eve 1906 he became the first person to make a public radio broadcast. By 1910 these various wireless systems had come to be referred to by the common name “radio”.