Signor Marconi’s Magic Box: The invention that sparked the radio revolution (Text Only)

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HarperCollins UK, Mar 29, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
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The intriguing story of how wireless was invented by Guglielmo Marconi – and how it amused Queen Victoria, saved the lives of the Titanic survivors, tracked down criminals and began the radio revolution.

Wireless was the most fabulous invention of the 19th century: the public thought it was magic, the popular newspapers regarded it as miraculous, and the leading scientists of the day (in Europe and America) could not understand how it worked. In 1897, when the first wireless station was established by Marconi in a few rooms of the Royal Needles Hotel on the Isle of Wight, nobody knew how far these invisible waves could travel through the ‘ether’, carrying Morse Coded messages decipherable at a receiving station. (The definitive answer was not discovered till the 1920s, by which time radio had become a sophisticated industry filling the airwaves with a cacaphony of sounds – most of it American.)

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Marconi himself was the son of an Italian father and an Irish mother (from the Jameson whiskey family); he grew up in Italy and was fluent in Italian and English, but it was in England that his invention first caught on. Marconi was in his early twenties at the time (he died in 1937). With the ‘new telegraphy’ came the real prospect of replacing the network of telegraphic cables that criss-crossed land and sea at colossal expense. Initially it was the great ships that benefited from the new invention – including the Titanic, whose survivors owed their lives to the wireless.

 

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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

Silkworms and Whiskey
11
Sparks in the Attic
17
In the Heart of the Empire
23
Beside the Seaside
35
Texting Qieen Victoria
41
The Romance of Morse Code
51
A New York Welcome
59
Atlantic Romance
66
Fishing in the Ether
100
The End of the Affair
109
Farewell the Pigeon Post
117
25
167
35
225
Its a CQD Old Man
247
The Crash
260
49
265

Adventure at Mullion Cove
73
An American Forecast
82
KiteFIying in Newfoundland
93
EPILOGUE
289
58
303
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Gavin Weightman is an experienced television documentary-maker (producer/director/writer), journalist and author of many books such as The Making of Modern London: 1815–1914, The Making of Modern London: 1914–1939, London River, Picture Post Britain and Rescue: A History of the British Emergency Services (Boxtree). His first book for HarperCollins, The Frozen Water Trade, was published in February 2002

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