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    Who Invented Radio? Marconi or Tesla?

    Who Invented Radio? Marconi or Tesla?

    3 Jan 2007

    Dear Julian,

    re: All mistaken credits to Marconi for the radio invention needs to be revised-replaced!

    Tesla Invented Radio! (See PBS)

    In U.S. Patent 0454622 , System of Electric Lighting (1891 June 23), Tesla described this early disruptive coil. It was devised for the purpose of converting and supplying electrical energy in a form suited for the production of certain novel electrical phenomena, which require currents of higher frequency and potential. It also specified an energy storage capacitor and discharger mechanism on the primary side of a radio-frequency transformer. This is the first-ever disclosure of a practical RF power supply capable of exciting an antenna to emit powerful electromagnetic radiation.

    With his newly created Tesla coils, the inventor soon discovered that he could transmit and receive powerful radio signals when they were tuned to resonate at the same frequency. When a coil is tuned to a signal of a particular frequency, it literally magnifies the incoming electrical energy through resonant action. By early 1895, Tesla was ready to transmit a signal 50 miles to West Point, New York.

    In 1901, Marconi set up long-distance demonstrations, using a Tesla oscillator to transmit the signals across the English Channel.

    Tesla filed his own basic radio patent applications in Sept. 1897. They were granted in 1900. Marconi's first patent application in America, filed on November 10, 1900, was turned down. Marconi's revised applications over the next three years were repeatedly rejected because of the priority of Tesla and other inventors.

    The Patent Office made the following comment in 1903:

    "Many of the claims are not patentable over Tesla patent numbers 645,576 and 649,621, of record, the amendment to overcome said references as well as Marconi's pretended ignorance of the nature of a "Tesla oscillator" being little short of absurd... the term "Tesla oscillator" (a.k.a. Tesla Coil) has become a household word on both continents [Europe and North America]." (in other words, Marconi lied.)

    But no patent is truly safe, as Tesla's career demonstrates. In 1900, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd. began thriving in the stock markets-due primarily to Marconi's family connections with English aristocracy. British Marconi stock soared from $3 to $22 per share and the glamorous young Italian nobleman was internationally acclaimed. Both Edison and Andrew Carnegie invested in Marconi and Edison became a consulting engineer of American Marconi. Then, on December 12, 1901, Marconi for the first time transmitted and received signals across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Otis Pond, an engineer then working for Tesla, said, "Looks as if Marconi got the jump on you." Tesla replied, "Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents."

    But Tesla's calm confidence was shattered in 1904, when the U.S. Patent Office suddenly and surprisingly reversed its previous decisions and gave Marconi a patent for the invention of radio. The reasons for this have never been fully explained, but the powerful financial backing for Marconi in the United States suggests one possible explanation.

    Tesla was embroiled in other problems at the time, but when Marconi won the Nobel Prize in 1911, Tesla was furious. He sued the Marconi Company for infringement in 1915, but was in no financial condition to litigate a case against a major corporation. It wasn't until 1943 - a few months after Tesla's death - that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Tesla's radio patent number 645,576. The Court had a selfish reason for doing so. The Marconi Company was suing the United States Government for use of its patents in World War I. The Court simply avoided the action by restoring the priority of Tesla's patent over Marconi.

    Greg Smith

    Dear Greg,

    Itís a really tough task to credit the right inventor. One can choose the first one that reasoned a theoretical concept or the first that demonstrated the first working model but most authorities prefer the one that revolutionized our lives due to his organizational and visionary talents rather than technical ones.

    And thatís Marconiís and other great inventors case (Edison, Bell).

    During the years claims were made that as a matter of fact not Marconi invented radio but Olive Lodge, Popov, Hertz or Tesla , had sent wireless messages before Marconi got his patent.

    It does not really matter. What Marconi undoubtedly did invent was an entirely new science-based industry. In his hands an obscure and, to most people, unintelligible branch of physics became a consumer product like no other. We are used to being told that some new technology will change the world. Marconi's is one of the few that did.

    For his scientific contribution Marconi was rightfully awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the year 1909.

    See also Who Invented Radio

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