Signor Marconi's Magic Box: The Most Remarkable Invention Of The 19th Century & The Amateur Inventor Whose Genius Sparked A Revolution

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Da Capo Press, Aug 20, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 312 pages
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The world at the turn of the twentieth century was in the throes of "Marconi-mania"-brought on by an incredible invention that no one could quite explain, and by a dapper and eccentric figure (who would one day win the newly minted Nobel Prize) at the center of it all. At a time when the telephone, telegraph, and electricity made the whole world wonder just what science would think of next, the startling answer had come in 1896 in the form of two mysterious wooden boxes containing a device one Guglielmo Marconi had rigged up to transmit messages "through the ether." It was the birth of the radio, and no scientist in Europe or America, not even Marconi himself, could at first explain how it worked…it just did. And no one knew how far these radio waves could travel, until 1903, when a message from President Theodore Roosevelt to the king of England flashed from Cape Cod to Cornwall clear across the Atlantic.Here is a rich portrait of the man and his era-and a captivating tale of science and scientists, business and businessmen. There are stories of British blowhards, American con artists-and Marconi himself: a character par excellence, who eventually winds up a virtual prisoner of his worldwide fame and fortune.
 

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Signor Marconi's magic box: the most remarkable invention of the 19th century & the amateur inventor whose genius sparked a revolution

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A documentary filmmaker and journalist, Weightman (The Frozen-Water Trade) uses the fascinating story of Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) and his amazing "magic box" to recount the early days of wireless ... Read full review

Contents

In Darkest London i
1
Silkworms and Whiskey
10
Sparks in the Attic
16
In the Heart of the Empire
21
Dancing on the Ether
25
Beside the Seaside
35
Texting Queen Victoria
39
An American Investigates
44
A Wireless Rat
167
Dazzling the Millions
172
Marky and his Motor
178
On the American Frontier
186
Marconi gets Married
191
Wireless at War
198
Americas Whispering Gallery
202
A Voice on the Air
206

The Romance of Morse Code
49
A New York Welcome
58
Atlantic Romance
66
Adventure at Mullion Cove
71
An American Forecast
82
KiteFlying in Newfoundland
88
The Spirits of the Ether
93
Fishing in the Ether
100
The End of the Affair
108
Farewell the Pigeon Post
115
The Power of Darkness
121
The Hermit of Paignton
128
The Kings Appendix
132
The Thundering Professor
142
A Real Colonel Sellers
151
Defeat in the Yellow Sea
161
The Bells of Budapest
211
Wireless to the Rescue
219
Dynamite for Marconi
225
Le Match DewCripfen
230
A Marriage on the Rocks
236
Ice and the Ether
242
Its a CQD Old Man
247
After the Titanic
253
The Crash
260
The Suspect Italian
268
Eclipse of Marconi on the Eiffel Tower
277
In Bed with Mussolini
281
EPILOGUE
289
INDEX
293
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Gavin Weightman is a documentary filmmaker, a journalist, and the author of The Frozen-Water Trade , a Book Sense 76 selection. He lives in London.

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