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60 Years On

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 5 years, 5 months ago



This an extract from ‘The Marconi Review’, No. 66, p. 36, May - August, 1937








The fortieth anniversary of the formation of the Marconi Company fell on July 20th. When the Company was formed on July 20th 1897 the maximum range over which wireless messages had been received was ten miles, though later in the same year a distance of thirty-four miles was achieved. Persistent research and experiment, in face of not a little opposition and scepticism, brought steadily improved results until the Atlantic was bridged in 1901 and the whole Empire linked by a chain of wireless beam stations in 1928.


Today, when wireless communication with the ends of the earth is a commonplace, wireless telephony between the Antipodes is taken for granted, broadcasting brings Viennese opera to the lonely outpost and American jazz to Vienna, and television enables people to sit in their homes and see the Coronation procession or the Centre Court at Wimbledon, the limited outlook of many scientists in 1897 seems incredible, and the vision and assurance of the founders of the Marconi Company appreciated at less than they deserve.


Wireless has created a new industry and given employment to many thousands of people. The manufacture of Marconi commercial wireless telegraph stations, broadcasting transmitters, aircraft and aerodrome installations, naval, merchant marine, military and police wireless equipment and wireless operating services on board ship provide employment for nearly 5000 persons in England alone. Many thousands of people are also employed at the factories of companies associated with the Marconi Company in the British Dominions and other overseas countries throughout the world.


Apart from the employment provided by the Marconi Company itself it is estimated that the wireless industry, which has sprung from Marchese Marconi's inventions, employs 50000 workpeople in Great Britain, and that the British radio industry alone has a turnover of £30,000,000 per annum. The combined figures for all countries in the world are beyond compilation.


The enormous amount of money spent on research by the Marconi Company has resulted in the acquisition of some thousands of patents which have revolutionised the art of wireless communication. Over 180 Marconi broadcasting stations have been supplied and maintain Britain's reputation for workmanship in no fewer than thirty two countries; Marconi aircraft and aerodrome wireless equipment is extensively used for communication and navigation by air transport companies throughout the world and are in use in more than thirty countries; while over 3000 British ships alone carry Marconi wireless installations and thousands of people owe their lives to their use.


Such, in brief, is the astounding progress made during the forty years of the Marconi Company's existence. It indicates in some measure the debt the world owes to the pioneer workers of this Company for the establishment of a new industry and for all the advantages of wireless enjoyed today.


[Editors note]

All of the above had come from developments during and immediately following the First World War, and in the contemporary period of the Review the foundations were being laid for the next development – the electronics industry – during the build-up to and the duration of the Second World War and subsequently into our modern era.



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