Wireless makes Marconi rich (1897)

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Guglielmo Marconi, considered by many to be “the father of radio,” made some good money from his first major wireless invention. A month before this article was published, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company in July 1897, a week after after being granted a US patent for his device to transmit electrical signals. (He had received the British patent a few months earlier.) The $60,000 cash mentioned below translates to roughly $1.6 million in today’s dollars, while the nearly half a million dollars of stock would have a current value of about $13.6 million. Not bad for a 23-year old — then or now!

Guglielmo Marconi: Who has solved the problem of telegraphing without wires

It would seem that Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian of 23 years, has solved the question of telegraphing without wires. Marconi is a native Bolognese and was a pupil of Professor Righi. An English syndicate has been organized to exploit the inventions of the young man, and he will receive $60,000 in cash and $499,000 in stock in the new company for the right of manufacturing his discoveries in telegraphy.

The secret of the plan is to telegraph by means of vertical wires, and the young man says if the wires are extended high enough words may be sent any distance desired. In sending a message twelve miles, the wires were extended 108 feet high, words going through brick walls or through any thing. It is expected an experiment will shortly be made in telegraphing from St Paul’s in London to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The telegraphing is by vibrations of the atmosphere.


Photo: Marconi with his invention in London, 1897

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