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Who Is The Real Inventor Of The Radio? Marconi or Tesla?

6,601 – [History of Radio] Who Is The Real Inventor Of The Radio? Marconi or Tesla? Radio, you know that old dusty thing that sits up at the front of your car or in the corner of your house. Now most of us are too occupied with television or iPods or video games to listen to it, but the impact it has had on our world is immense

[History of the radio] When Was Radio Invented?

It all started in 1873 when James Clerk Maxwell showed mathematically that electromagnetic waves could travel through the air. Before long in 1888, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated Maxwell’s theory by demonstrating that someone could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation.

Then in 1892, Nikola Tesla used Maxwell’s mathematic findings to demonstrate the sending and receiving a radio frequency energy he proposed that this method could be used for sending and receiving information.

[History of Radio] Who Is The Real Inventor Of The Radio
Guglielmo Marconi
But it was Guglielmo Marconi who built the first wireless transmitter in 1896, which was capable of sending signals up to one and a half miles. He then proceeded to develop the world’s first transatlantic radio communication service between Clifton Ireland and Newfoundland.

In 1901 the next evolution in radio technology was the invention of the spark-gap transmitter. This device allowed for the production of the first commercially available radio sets.

But the spark gap radios were plagued with problems, mainly electrical interference. These were significantly improved with the invention and production of crystal radio sets. The crystal sets were the first widely produced and widely used radio sets in America.

These crystal sets were widely used in most American homes by the 1920s. It was the American family’s connection to the rest of the country. This was fantastic, but there was still a problem that needs to be fixed.

Up to this time, all radio was being broadcast using AM waves. AM stands for amplitude modulation, but the problem was that AM radio is a medium-range and is prone to be blocked by urban structures.

But in 1933, Edwin H Armstrong invented FM radio FM stands for frequency modulation. This type of broadcasting method uses a wavelength that is less prone to static and blockage. It also has a longer range.

With the invention of FM radio only needed one more evolution to become what you know today. That last advancement was the transistor radio. The transistor radio had particular advantages over the old crystal sense. The transistor sets were much cheaper than the crystal ones, use less power at a smaller size, and had a very long life span.

So, Who Is The Real Inventor Of The Radio? Marconi or Tesla?

[History of Radio] Who Is The Real Inventor Of The Radio
Nikola Tesla
In the 1890s, Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American electrical wizard, turned his attention to the wireless transmission of energy. He gave his first demonstration in 1891. Two years later, on March 1st, 1893, He took that demonstration public.

The key was Tesla’s invention of the induction coil or Tesla coil, which was used to transmit and receive radio signals. But luck wasn’t on Tesla’s side. In 1895 just as he was preparing to transmit a signal 50 miles, his lab went up in flames.

Meanwhile, a young Italian named Guglielmo Marconi was conducting his experiments. He began transmitting signals across the English Channel.  And in 1901 transmitted the first transatlantic Telegraph. By then, Tesla had secured two radio patents in America, most importantly for his design of the Tesla coil.

He was confident Marconi would not be able to encroach. And for a few years, he was right. Still, a determined Marconi kept that while growing his wireless Telegraph Company, which was attracting some big-name investors like Thomas Edison and Andrew Carnegie.

Then in 1904, the US Patent Office pulled a 180 and essentially declared Marconi, the inventor of the radio. A decision that went unexplained and left Tesla crushed.

The Supreme Court would restore Tesla’s patents in 1943, but it would do little to clarify a question that seems rather simple. Who invented the radio? The answer lies an entangled story of fierce competition between two brilliant minds.

How Is Radio Transmitted?

In the modern era, radio waves control everything. These waves are undetectable and invisible to the human senses. But they make up the foundation of modern connected technology.

While the roots of modern connected technologies may be radio waves, the underlying tech that makes radio waves possible is a rather simple concept to understand.

[History of Radio] Who Is The Real Inventor Of The RadioTo understand radios and more detailed than what we’ve just discussed, we need to take a little trip through history. Back in the early days of the radio technology, in the whereabouts of the early 1900s, radio transmitters were referred to as spark coils.

This was because they created a large high voltage spark, upwards of twenty kilovolts to send out a signal. The issue was the message was sent out on all frequencies in the radio spectrum.

It means that there was essentially only one localized channel. This was fine and dandy back in the days where no one was really using radio but nowadays do something like this, and you’ll get fined or sent to prison. These early spark coils were essentially doing the same thing as the coin and battery experiment.

Riding the magic school bus back to the modern era, in today’s radios, use sine waves to transmit all sorts of information from audio to video to raw data.

By utilizing sine waves for transmission, radios and devices can distinguish different channels based on frequency. Or the number of cycles in the sine wave per second. This allows tens, to hundreds, to thousands of channels on modern radios all in the same space without too much interference.

Every single radio has two parts: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is responsible for taking a strain of data and encoding it to a sine wave. After that encoding happens, it can also be amplified and sent out across the air.

The receiver rather expectedly receives the radio waves and decodes the message encoded into the sine wave. Each side of this system uses antennas to radiate and receive.

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