Invention of the radio (1895)

Invention of the radio (1895)

The invention of radio is the result of a collective work, which starts from the discovery of electromagnetic waves, the invention of telegraphy wireless, and resulted in the first equipment that could be used to communicate by radio waves. Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi is considered the father of wireless transmission or TSF, although his inventions were inspired by the discoveries of many predecessors (Hertz, Popov, Branly and Lodge).

The invention of radio

In 1894, the 20-year-old Italian Guglielmo Marconi began experiments in his parents' attic after hearing about radio waves. He took advantage of several inventions and discoveries to make the first radio installation: he used the spark gap of the German Heinrich Rudolf Hertz as a transmitter, the Popov antenna, and Branly's coherer as a receiver. By dint of tenacity, it gradually increased the range of the signals it emitted until it reached a range of more than three kilometers in 1895.

Going to England to realize his invention, he perfected it by using a transmitter and a receiver tuned to a particular wavelength by varying the electrical characteristics of antennas and circuits. In December 1901 the first transatlantic radio signal was received on the island of Newfoundland. Other later innovations make it possible to amplify electronic signals and broadcast long-distance radio transmissions.

Various uses

This new communication capacity quickly finds applications in the maritime and military fields. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 made it compulsory to install radio transmitters to reinforce safety at sea. The First World War made the carrier pigeon obsolete in favor of the radio, which would become an essential tool of the army. After the war, the reconversion of military resources opened the way for commercial use of radio, which began to make its way into homes.

In France, a radio offering began in 1921 with the opening of the Eiffel Tower transmitter. In the 1930s, the program offer diversified: sports broadcasts, classical music, jazz, fiction ... In the United States, radio had its heyday in 1938 with the famous broadcast hoax by Orson Wells, which featured America in turmoil. With the transistor and the frequency modulation (FM), the success of the radio becomes global. Despite the arrival of digital, radio remains popular, particularly in France, where it is a privileged source of information.


- History of radio and television by Robert Prot. L'Harmattan, 2007.

- The fabulous history of inventions - From mastery of fire to immortality. Dunod, 2018.

For further

- The site of the National Audiovisual Institute.

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