This Day In Information: Wireless Transmission

Today in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in transmitting the letter “S” (in Morse code) via radio telegraph from a transmitter at Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to a receiver in Newfoundland. There was no independent observer present and there were many skeptics. To prove them wrong, the next February, Marconi documented well the transmission of signals from the Poldhu station to the SS Philadelphia hundreds of miles away. But as Steven Lubar notes, “there wasn’t much of a market for transatlantic wireless telegraphy because transatlantic cables could do the job better. At the turn of the century, there were twelve telegraph cables operating across the Atlantic, carrying more than 25 million words a year at about twenty-five cents a word.”

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