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f) Tesla v. Marconi: clash of titans

f) Tesla v. Marconi: clash of titans



Following up on Hertz's work, the genius Nikola Tesla first demonstrated wireless communication in 1893. One year later, the Bengali physicist Sir Jagadish C. Bose and the British physicist Sir. Oliver J. Lodge followed suit. Meanwhile, in England, a young Italian named Guglielmo Marconi had been hard at work building a wireless device. Tesla filed the first US radio patent in 1897. Marconi's first patent application in the US, in 1900, was turned down. His revised applications were repeatedly rejected because of the priority of Tesla. Nonetheless, his Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. began thriving. Then, on Dec. 12th, 1901, Marconi for the first time transmitted signals across the Atlantic. Tesla commented:

"Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using 17 of my patents."

In 1904, surprisingly, the US Patent Office reversed previous decisions and gave Marconi a patent for the invention of radio. Marconi later won the Nobel Prize and Tesla sued his company for infringement. In 1943, a few months after Tesla's death, the US Supreme Court finally overturned Marconi's patent in favor of Tesla. The Russian Alexander Popov, who had also presented a radio receiver in 1895, reportedly said:

"The emission and reception of signals by Marconi by means of electric oscillations is nothing new. In America, the famous engineer Nikola Tesla carried the same experiments in 1893."

Marconi's reputation is largely based on his accomplishments in commercializing a practical system. His demonstrations of the use of radio, equipping ships with life-saving wireless communications, establishing the first transatlantic radio service, and building the first stations for the British short-wave service, marked his place in history. Upon Marconi’s death at age 63, as a tribute, radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence.