1902
Guglielmo Marconi, wireless inventor and “Father of Modern Telecommunications”, sends transatlantic message.


Born in Bologna, Italy, the son of a wealthy businessman and a strong-willed Irish woman, Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) received his basic education at home that boasted of an impressive private library where he was privately tutored. He read extensively in politics and most especially in the scientific field. Strong in his comprehension of mathematics and physics, as a teenager he experimented with sound transmission in his home laboratory and in the process confirmed the reality of electromagnetism. By 1895 Marconi had developed a device that could transmit sound further than previous experiments -indeed miles --and sought to interest the Italian Post Office in the application of his invention. Unsuccessful there, he went to England where he received a patent for his electromagnetic transmission device and where his continued experiments demonstrated greater potential for long distance message transmittal. In the process he invented an antenna. Demonstrating his business acumen in 1897, he formed his own company and began selling shares and transmitters.

In 1901 Marconi conducted the first transatlantic communication –a wireless Morse code message sent from England to Newfoundland. This was followed by a transatlantic radio message in 1902. He would receive the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909. The importance of his wireless radio invention was vividly demonstrated in the disaster that struck the British luxury liner "Titanic" in 1912. After the ship rammed into an iceberg, its radio operator sent frantic Morse codes messages that finally were heard by another liner, the "Carpathia" that rescued 717 passengers in lifeboats. The survivors later presented Marconi with a gold medal in appreciation.

Italian American admiration for Marconi was enthusiastic. In one exceptional case, real estate entrepreneur Giovanni Campagnoli, a one time classmate of the inventor, dubbed his holdings in Copiague, Long Island "Marconiville." Whenever the famed inventor came to the United States for business reasons, Campagnoli seized it s an opportunity to advertise the property in the Italian American press. On those occasions when Marconi went to personally inspect his radio transmission stations, Campagnoli succeeded in having Marconi visit the small Italian enclave of "Marconiville" where there also was a hotel named after him. The Marconi name was familiar on Long Island for a couple of generations and although there are few contemporary traces, the name lives on in a street name in Copiague and in a restored sending station in Rocky Point, Long Island.

Marconiville on Long Island, New York

Italian Americans greet Marconi who visits Long Island town named after him (Copiague) in mid-1910s





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