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Book Marks Centenary Of Marconi's Atlantic Leap

Coventry firm Marconi has published a book revealing the story of the first ever radio signal to be transmitted across the Atlantic to mark the eventís centenary.

Guglielmo Marconi, described as "the wizard of space", succeeded at the age of 27 in sending the first wireless waves from Poldhu in Cornwall to a receiver at Signal Hill, St. John's in Newfoundland.

The book, called Marconiís Atlantic Leap, is a detailed account of how Marconi achieved his ambition.

Many scientists of the day believed that wireless waves travelled only in straight lines from the transmitter and hence range was restricted to line-of-sight.

But Marconi proved that the curvature of the earth was not an obstacle for wireless telegraphy over great distances.

It took Marconi just three-and-a-half years to develop his transmission from 10 miles, achieved in July 1897, to the Atlantic crossing of 1,800 miles on 12 December, 1901.

This period was not without its problems, weather being one of the most difficult. Following his first successful transmission, opposition was received from the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, which threatened court action over the infringement of its monopoly on all telegraphic business in Newfoundland.

The book also tells how the invention revolution international communication and saved lives.

In the very early days, Marconi's achievement reduced the loss of life by over 700 on the SS Titanic, and secured the arrest of Dr Crippen - the first arrest accomplished by radio.

The first transmission sent directly from the United States to England was a message from President Roosevelt to King Edward VII. Many of the illustrations that appear in the book have never been published before.

Marconi's Atlantic Leap by Gordon Bussey, Historical Consultant to Marconi plc, is published by Marconi, price £6.99, $10.95 USA, $15.99 Canada (96 pages, hardback, ISBN-0-95389-670-6).

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CWN / Business / A-Z / Marconi / 31 Jan 01
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