It was 100 years
ago that the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal was sent and received.
Guglielmo Marconi was the pioneer of wireless, bringing all parts
of the world together.
in Poldhu, Cornwall led him to become the first person to bridge
the Atlantic by wireless. It was a massive financial gamble finally
costing £50,000, an enormous sum at the time.
believed the curvature of the earth would prevent wireless waves,
travelling in straight lines, from spanning the Atlantic. Marconi
set out to prove this was not the case.
He chose sites
at Poldhu and Cape Cod in Masachusetts. Later Glace Bay in Canada
would be chosen.
1901 the 200 feet aerial masts, which were erected at Poldhu, were
blown down in a storm.
setback Marconi continued. A temporary aerial was erected. He agreed
to replace the system of masts with a permanent structure of four
It was decided
transmission should be attempted to the nearest landfall on the
American continent. This was Newfoundland.
sail with two assistants in November 1901. The colonial government
of Newfoundland offered him assistance and he was loaned premises
at Signal Hill in St John's to set up his equipment.
experiment involved kites
11 the first attempt at transmission from Poldhu took place. A weak
signal was received but disaster struck when the strong wind caused
the balloon that was holding the aerial aloft to be lost. But Marconi
was not giving up now he had come so far.
12, after losing one kite, a second was launched with the aerial
attached and a signal from Poldhu was heard unmistakably by Marconi
and his assistant Kemp.
chief question was whether wireless waves would be stopped by the
curvature of the earth. All along I had been convinced that this
was not so. The first and final answer came at 12:30 when I heard
... dot ... dot ... dot" - Marconi
British press of the time may have been sceptical but the Canadian
government hailed Marconi as a benefactor.
offered him land plus £16,000 towards the building of a wireless
station there. In New York he was honoured by the American Institute
of Electrical Engineers.
Graham Bell and Thomas Eddison both personally honoured Guglielmo
about Marconi's life.