Radio at a Glance: Historical Review

Wireless transmission of information is common practice in our days, although using wireless communications seemed to be impossible and absolutely unbelievable not so long ago. Let us go back in time to learn about what was, without exaggeration, the most significant invention of the XIX century.Radio invention was preceded by a long chain of events. In 1820, the Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted detected the connection between electricity and magnetism and theoretically proved the existence of electromagnetic waves. Eleven years later Faraday discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction. These discoveries presaged a series of various experiments in this field: for instance, it is well known about the experiments of Nathan Stubblefield and Roberto de Mora. The first patent for wireless communication was issued in 1872.

One of the biggest figures in the history of the radio was an English-born American named David Hughes, who managed to transmit and receive the first radio waves. The next step on the way to the modern radio was the design of a coherer – a glass tube with metal particles capable of changing their conductivity through a radio signal.

Tesla, Marconi and Popov: the “Three Pillars" in the History of Radio

The names of these three scientists are fundamental to the entire history of radio. They are representative of the three continents: Nikola Tesla from the US, Guillermo Marconi from Italy, and Alexander Popov from Russia.

The first radio had to go a long way to get transformed to its current look

The first radio had to go a long way to get transformed to its current look

Tesla invented the antenna mast and received a patent for the reliable method of obtaining amperage for radio connection. In 1891 he presented wireless communication in action to the public.

Physicist and inventor Alexander Popov experimented using the results of Lodge and Tesla. It was he who invented the first radio device (1895) based on the simple principle of coherer action. Thus the electromagnetic waves were used for establishing the first wireless communication.

Marconi, who won the 1909 Nobel Prize, was the major "rival" of Popov for the title of radio pioneer and inventor. The list of his achievements includes the launch of the first radio station (1897) and opening the first plant manufacturing radio receivers (1898).

Distinguishing one person as the inventor of the radio does not make sense, as a significant number of scientists contributed to its design. The best way to describe the entire phenomenon would be “an invention of the brightest scientific minds”.

The opinions about the person who must be considered as the sole inventor of radio vary from country to country. People on the Balkans would name Tesla, the Russians would say it was Popov, and any American would mention David Hughes without hesitation. It is better to say that the radio was a child of an entire constellation of world class scientists.

Radio today

In the 1920’s the manufacturers of radio receivers were selling half a million copies annually. The invention of the FM-waves in 1933 made by Edwin Armstrong boosted sales even further. In our days the ultramodern equipment made millions of wireless and digital radio stations available to the listeners. The special applications with intuitive interface were created to ensure more comfortable radio listening.

Technical equipment of the modern radio stations is really impressive.

Technical equipment of the modern radio stations is really impressive.

While scientists and historians go on arguing about the real inventor of the radio, we can now enjoy all the advantages of this technological miracle.

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