Who Made the First Radio?

Guglielmo Marconi, an engineer by training, receives credit for making the first functional radio. Marconi was born on April 25, 1874, in Bologna, Italy. He spent his childhood years living comfortably in Italy with his father and mother.

As part of a privileged upbringing, Marconi received excellent tuition at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna. As a young man, Marconi developed a keen interest in magnetic waves. He eventually developed long-distance equipment for broadcasting and transmitting electrical signals. His work failed to capture the interest of Italian authorities, but caught the attention of English authorities. With grants from the English government, Marconi moved to England to pursue work.

In 1896, at just 22 years old, Marconi successfully broadcast signals across the English Channel. He established wireless transmission bases on the Isle of Wight, and then set his sights on a transatlantic transmission system. He continued developing and improving long-distance signals through the early 1900s.

In 1909, Marconi received the Noble Prize in Physics along with German scientist Karl Braun. Marconi's radios benefited many citizens, including those aboard the ill-fated Titanic. Using its Marconi transmitter radio, the Titanic radioed an emergency message to shore, and respondents rescued more than 700 survivors of the sinking.