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Marconi, aged 22, shortly after his arrival in England - a Marconi Archives picture Marconi, Guglielmo (1874-1937)

Guglielmo Marconi is regarded as the grandfather of radio communication, who devised the first practical system of wireless telegraphy. Alongside innumerable awards, honours and doctorates, Marconi was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909.

The son of an Italian father and Irish mother, he made the most of his family's wealth to experiment with physics and electronics on his father's Italian estate, where he successfully managed to send wireless (radio) signals over 1.5 miles.

He moved to England in 1897 to show off his new invention, and following its enthusiastic reception, set up 'The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd'. He continued with more demonstrations, each time increasing the distance covered by the wireless and established permanent wireless links in southern England.

In 1901 he proved that radio waves would bend around the curvature of the Earth, by broadcasting across the Atlantic. He went on to develop improvements to wireless transmission and reception equipment, long-range communications, microwave communication and laid the foundations for radar.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...