Talk:Invention of radio/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4


The images in this article seem too large and also all of different sizes. As usual this seems to have resulted from the Tesla/Marconi war. Can we arrive at a consensus as to the best consistent size for the images. Those that complain the head of the person in their preferred image is to small I suggest crop their images appropriately. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:39, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Take them all out. Does a gallery of dead white(-ish?) males really enhance the user's understanding of the invention of radio? Not that this article is helpful anyway. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:07, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I think that is going too far but let us get them in proportion. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:44, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I have continued image size reduction to see what people think. I have also reduced caption text to being a description of the picture rather than an advertisement. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:58, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, the images should all be about the same sizes ... the option below would be an elegant way to keep the images fair ... just a thought. J. D. Redding 23:45, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Hertz1888, you seem to be agreeing with me about image sizes but I do not understand why you are making them all different sizes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:40, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Necessary for the sake of getting head sizes more comparable, in as many images as lend themselves to such treatment (that of Bose will always remain an exception). This obviates any need for cropping, avoiding its drawbacks. Hertz1888 (talk) 00:47, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
But if someone want to see the image, all they have to do is click on it. Why not just a gallery? --J. D. Redding
If this were an article on some scenic area I would agree with you; various views could be put in a gallery. A gallery involves leaving the text one is reading and going elsewhere on the page, in this case a very long page. Consider the advantages of having the portraits in close proximity to the text about each one (as now), associating a face with the accomplishments described in each section. Hertz1888 (talk) 03:03, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Not sure if this would be hindered by a tabled gallery as shown below. And they do have their names @ each image, so you can see it pretty easily see who's who. For better associating a face with the accomplishments described below each picture. --J. D. Redding 15:49, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Could we do a tabled gallery off to on side of 'section' of images? kinda like here ... ??? --J. D. Redding 23:23, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Early Developers
Later Developers

Examples. --J. D. Redding 23:28, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Oh, obviously the portraits must be ranked by their importance. Why, we wouldn't have radio today if it weren't for Tesla and his pigeons. Take them all out, there's no educational value in the pictures as far as this subject goes and every one of them has his own article, with portrait, if anyone has a morbid curiousity about eary 20th century mustaches. --Wtshymanski (talk) 03:56, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Really, they should be placed, not ranked, by the time they made their contributions. And as Dicklyon stated, I like to be able to tie names to faces.
As a side note, Wtshymanski ... WTF @ the tesla comment?!?! ... =-\ --J. D. Redding 15:39, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I like to be able to tie names to faces, even if they are just white-ish males. Dicklyon (talk) 06:03, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:44, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Reddi, I suggest just having the pictures all the same size, in the size you show them in your gallery, but included in the text, as now. We want pictures but they should not dominate the article. Martin Hogbin (talk)
The gallery function [see {{gallery}}] seems to put the images at 100x120 [in my browser]. You can gallery individual images [may be better (the server will determine the size?)]. I agree that the imgs should not dominate the text details ... but they are nice to have.--J. D. Redding 17:44, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

It looks good. Of course, the danger with this division into 3 groups is that someone might object to who is in what group, which is a decision not based on sources, as far as I know. One big gallery would be the fix if that happens. Dicklyon (talk) 07:10, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Must read book

A very good book on the subject, not the end all be all ... but definitely a must read ... Wireless telegraphy: its origins, development, inventions, and apparatus By Charles Henry Sewall --J. D. Redding 05:19, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Tesla's spark gap 'transmitter'

The diagram recently added appears to show a Tesla coil. Is there any evidence that this circuit was used as a transmitter? If so, when was it used and where did it transmit from and to? Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:34, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

It is the basic form of tesla's lecture coil. It's "Imitating The Spark Of A Holtz Machine". It was used there. Read Tesla, N. (1904). Experiments with alternate currents of high potential and high frequency: A lecture delivered before the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London. New York: McGraw Pub. Co. As to the rest about the circuit, READ Source: H. S. Norrie, "Induction coils: how to make, use, and repair them". Norman H. Schneider, 1907, 4th edition, New York. J. D. Redding 10:09, 14 December 2010 (UTC) [ps., I would recommend this reading to you also... History of wireless By Tapan K. Sarkar; in-particular Page 271.]

The precise lecture of demonstration was: Tesla, N. (1893). On light and other high frequency phenomena. --J. D. Redding 10:34, 14 December 2010 (UTC) [PS., interesting keyword: transmitting intelligence.]

We have discussed that lecture before. Lights were lit by capacitive coupling to a high voltage ac source. What message was transmitted using that apparatus? Where to and where from? Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:04, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Binary. On and off. J. D. Redding 05:53, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Thought I'd mention, the then attainable frequencies have the property of following the curvature of the earth via groundwave propagation in the majority of occurrences. In 1891, Nikola Tesla patented a practical "high-frequency" alternator (which operated around 15 kHz); these frequencies would have been guided between the earth and the ionosphere.--J. D. Redding 11:38, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

That is a completely different technique and subject. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:04, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
No. Not really. --J. D. Redding 05:19, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
A Tesla coil and an alternator are about as different as you can get as means of generating RF. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:30, 17 December 2010 (UTC)


Why do we have conversions of radio transmitter power to horsepower? That's not a unit that has ever been used that way, is it? Dicklyon (talk) 02:16, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Not to my knowledge. I thought it might have been historically-based, though archaic, and left it in. Even if it were, it's not current usage. It should go. Hertz1888 (talk) 02:42, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
The formative wireless dynamos were discussed in horsepower, atleast in America (internationalization for the article?). Include it for completeness ... be nice to find the earlier developers generator specs. --J. D. Redding 03:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
If they expressed output in hp first (or only), maybe we should put it first, too. Hertz1888 (talk) 04:55, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
OK, I can see some sources that talk about transmitter dynamo horsepower. I think we should put hp first when the item is question was reported that way, and show conversion to kW; but I wouldn't convert back to the archaic unit on the other ones. Dicklyon (talk) 05:05, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Reddi's edits

I think that Reddi has been editing at too fast a pace to expect a proper review and consensus to form, and he seems to be unfairly pushing Tesla, at the expense of balance. Particular problems are with respect to this source that he references. He seems to be quoting it pretty directly, but without quotation marks or attribution, and with some minor changes that make it inaccurate. In particular he changed "This was going far toward the invention of radio-telegraphy as we know it to-day" to "This was going far toward the invention of radio-telegraphy as then known" without making it clear that "then" should mean 1917 (the "to-day" of the article), not 1893 as he suggests.

Reddi, can I suggest you slow down and seek consensus and collaboration on your Tesla edits? Otherwise, the only way to moderate them will be to roll them way back. Dicklyon (talk) 19:49, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

1. Public Domain. 2. I am referencing the material. 3. That link explains why he got the Edison Medal. Do you need more references about why Tesla got the Edison Medal? I'll make it explicit that the Electrical world in 1917 made the statement. Sincerely, --J. D. Redding 07:34, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

... oh and it does bother me that you said "only way moderate them will be to roll them way back". IF you have a problem, don't roll back. You can edit the section. Please DO read the citation though, 1st. Thanks. J. D. Redding 08:05, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

No, my problem was simpler than that. Just that you've done hundreds of edits with very little review from other editors, and thereby recreated the article the way you want it. I haven't reviewed the changes, because it's way too big a job. Probably the same for other editors. Notice that my section head was more about you than about Tesla, but Tesla is what you had been doing on that day -- you changed it to "Teslay edits", presumably because you didn't want your editing to be the topic, and wanted to change it to facts about Tesla. It's possible that you've done a great job; but I'll wait and see what others say. Dicklyon (talk) 04:56, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, it should be about the content. When have you added meaningful content? --J. D. Redding 06:23, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
You'll probably have to go back more than a thousand edits in the history, behind your edits, to find mind. And I just did one, as an example of what I mean by moderating your contribution, where I fixed a reference to be right, including a date, and a link for people who want to see it, and converted a long paragraph copied out of it to a short statement that's enough to say what happened to Branly's contribution. I think that you've made enough work to keep a bunch of editors busy for a long time, but it would work better if you'd work WITH other editors instead of this way. Dicklyon (talk) 17:09, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Much as I appreciate all the hard work that Reddi has been lavishing on the article, my foremost concern is that the article is becoming excessively detailed. That tends to obscure the essentials and overwhelms many readers (perhaps most). It also makes for increasingly prolonged loading times. Perhaps some paring down is in order. Hertz1888 (talk) 05:23, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Hertz, how is it excessively detailed? What particular points are essential? What needs to be done is expand the intro (as per Wikipedia:Lead section) for the essentials. And this is not excessively detailed, not like some of the better articles ... like the Albert Einstein article (and that is just one man!). As to section, a good way to go is maybe Wikipedia:Manual of Style (summary style) and Wikipedia:Splitting. Comments? --J. D. Redding 06:19, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your extensive research and dedication. It is hard to point to anything in particular that doesn't belong. Everything, once it's in, tends to seem (if not actually be) relevant. The proliferation of red links gives a hint at newly-added details that may be particularly dispensable. Splitting material off to "Main" articles, so that nothing is wasted, would be a constructive way to trim larger sections. I would suggest, as a key question, to see whether any of the sections are longer than or comparable in length to the Main articles they reference or could reference. The WP policy seems to say that the daughter should always remain shorter than the parent. Hertz1888 (talk) 16:37, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Since Dec. 7 2010, less than 30 days, Reddi has tripled the size of the article, from a large 55 KB to a hugely bloated 165 KB, largely by copying large chunks of texts from sources and from other wikipedia articles. Does anyone think this is a net win, or just a big problem to clean up? Dicklyon (talk) 07:11, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Abundance and redundancy. --J. D. Redding 12:41, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it is bloated. Swamped with detail that will overwhelm all but the most specialized and dedicated of readers, it's an article turning into a book. (Is there a WP policy on that?) I tried to sound a warning; perhaps not strongly enough, as it got little response. I reiterate my suggestions to split material off (wasting little) and keep sections here shorter than their Main (or "parent") articles. Net win or big problem? To me it looks like a big problem, but a potential win if it can be pruned constructively. What kind of detail can drop out entirely and not be missed? For starters, it's not essential to include the names of every personage in attendance, and every yacht. A true editor is highly selective, not just a collector. Let's hear what others think. Hertz1888 (talk) 10:08, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we'll need to be a bit more supportive of each other if we want to find a way to moderate Reddi's rampage. Any ideas? Dicklyon (talk) 05:45, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Well ... Marconi's contributions [only one that is large enough to 'complain' about] to the existing radio field is detailed. It's rather important to show what he did ... and by default, what he didn't do ... and I could of added alot more detail, this is the "highly selective" version. .... anyways, Wikipedia:Article size is the page you refer to [eg. WP policy].

As you said hertz1888, What kind of detail can drop out entirely and not be missed? Please say. Thanks. --J. D. Redding 12:17, 5 January 2011 (UTC) [ps., what could be done is split the article into /early radio development/ and /later radio development/ ... WP:SUMMARY here ... could be made into a Wikipedia:Article series.]

Another thing, it does need split. Primarily because the page has run out of reference name space. One cannot 'ref name'. Hit the limit. --J. D. Redding 12:27, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Italic title?

Why is the title of this talk page in italic? I've tried to figure it out, but it isn't clear. Shreevatsa (talk) 09:18, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

odd. never noticed that ... --J. D. Redding 12:08, 5 January 2011 (UTC)


This article is deeply biased, e.g. as regards Howard Armstrong, who is essentially written out of the history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ipthief (talkcontribs) 21:26, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Howard Armstrong the blues musician? Or who do you mean? Dicklyon (talk) 22:21, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, you probably mean Edwin Howard Armstrong. He invented a lot of stuff about radio, but didn't invent radio. Maybe a small section about later inventions would be in order? Dicklyon (talk) 22:23, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Edwin Howard Armstrong would fit good in Later Radio Development. He was instrumental in modern radio. Section needs split. --J. D. Redding 05:21, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, E. Howard Armstrong--well if you know who he is you know (something at least) about what he did--certainly comparable to people who are discussed in the article. I don't see that "radio" can be considered to be "invented" without him. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes. modern radio.--J. D. Redding 05:21, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Small grammar glitch?

This isn't a complete sentence:

"Wireless Telegraphy" itself but a negative term is temporarily supplying the need of a positive designation.

I don't understand the author's intent so I shan't try to correct this myself. --Klossner (talk) 20:45, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

If I understand it correctly, it's a complete sentence; just some commas are missing. The sentence ought to be:

"Wireless Telegraphy", itself but a negative term, is temporarily supplying the need of a positive designation.

Here "but" is used in the sense of "only" or "just", as in "I am but a humble servant". If you think that's confusing, you could replace "but" with "only" or just remove it. Shreevatsa (talk) 21:16, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Or you can google it and find exactly that malformed sentence, and whole paragraph, in a 1903 book. Why do we have such stuff in our article, without even attribution? Dicklyon (talk) 22:27, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
it's public domain material. Improve it. --J. D. Redding 05:11, 6 January 2011 (UTC) [ps., the paragraph is cited! ... can't cite every sentence!]
I took the section out. It seemed lame to have a section from a 1903 book about that book's nomenclature, instead of something more relevant. Apparently Reddi is a prolific copier. Dicklyon (talk) 22:53, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
It should be in there to identify the field. Restoring. --J. D. Redding 05:11, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
So you figure the best way to work on an article is to throw in every old thing you can copy, and ask others to clean it up? Dicklyon (talk) 05:27, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
And, I did, as a good gesture [to you primarily] moved the section in question into the talk here ... --J. D. Redding 05:49, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
That's how Wikipedia operates. Cooperative editing and improving articles.
You do know that WP in the beginning had bots importing PD material that editors improved? Maybe not. --J. D. Redding 05:48, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I didn't know that. But maybe it explains why you seem to be an out-of-control bot, rather than a cooperative editor. Dicklyon (talk) 05:52, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Nice comment. When you want to discuss improving the content, I'll respond. Till then you can make your pleasant comments without a response by me from now on. --J. D. Redding 05:58, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't recall that you ever made a useful response before. You just self-justify and plow ahead with full-speed adding of wholesale-copied contents, ignoring requests to slow down and cooperate. I wasn't really expecting much else at this point. Dicklyon (talk) 06:03, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Nothing I did was wrong. Whatever. --J. D. Redding 06:06, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Radio developer table

The section Invention of radio#Radio developer comparison has been tagged with a "cleanup" or "copyedit" tag several times by User:Reddi, most recently with the reason "cohesion with the rest of the article". Since it's not clear what exactly this means or what exactly the problem is, and since simply placing a somewhat mystifying tag there is unlikely to automatically improve the article, I'm starting this discussion here so that we can discuss what, if anything, is wrong with the section. (To me, it looks fine, and in fact the most useful section of the article. Mostly because of its concision.) Shreevatsa (talk) 18:27, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Many of the dates, fact, and figures need copy-edit. The table does. As you won't let the tag stand. I did an initial pass of it myself. You think it was a "useful section" ... sorry to hear that. --J. D. Redding 05:52, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, this section was started in the hope that you could say what exactly was wrong that needed copyediting, because you wouldn't say. I still have that hope, so let me ask again: What is wrong and needs copyediting? It is still the most useful section of the article, summarising main points, rather than the wall of text that the rest of the article has become…
As for your "initial pass": you have currently placed "citation needed" tags on dates that have citations for the same fact on the very same line, a few inches to the left. The article already suffers from too much footnote-itis; why exactly do you think that existing citations are insufficient and more are needed? Shreevatsa (talk) 08:14, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


As to the nomenclature of this article, the art which forms the subject-matter of this work had a limited nomenclature.[1] "Radio" is used in contemporary understanding. "Wireless Telegraphy" itself but a negative term is temporarily supplying the need of a positive designation.[1] Neither "radio telegraphy" nor "wave telegraphy" nor "aetheric transmission" satisfies. "Hertzian wave telegraphy"[2] was of unwieldy length and lacks euphony. No single word suitably denotes every kind of instrumentality affected by electric or magnetic waves.[1] "Detector" has been used in another sense. Nikola Tesla spoke of "sensitive devices"; Reginald Fessenden and others of a "wave responsive device". "Responder" was too closely identified with the Lee De Forest's system to be acceptable to competitors. "Resonator", to denote a receiving device, was objectionable on account of its alliterative and structural similarity with "radiator", a transmitter.[1]

Antenna is an excellent name for the conducting terminal that ends in air whenever the allusion is to a receiver of waves;[1] but it was not sufficiently aggressive to express the opposite meaning. Emitter seemed a good term for designating anything that served to send impulses outward. The terminating conductor, however, being employed both. As suggested by Tesla's "sensitive device",[1] the train of apparatus having the radio-receiver for one element might properly be denoted the "sensitive circuit", and the battery which actuates the relay in that circuit the "closing battery".[1] For the wires and apparatus in series with the relay points, "recording circuit", and for the energizing element of that group, "recording battery", were designations that would be clearly understood. The terms "spark producer", "oscillator", and "oscillation producer" were synonymously applied to all apparatus that sent electric charges across the spark-gap.[1] "Induction coil", the "primary" and "secondary" which compose it, and the "key" used to bring into operation the sparker, were terms well fixed in the public mind.[1] The contact which rapidly opens and closes in the primary circuit is described in Guglielmo Marconi's patents as the "trembler break". As both Oliver Lodge and G. Marconi, partly for the purpose of broadening their patent claims,[1] had insisted that both the earth[3] and the wave-gate were "capacities," that term may not now be understood as confined in meaning to a condenser or to a Leyden jar.[1]

Putting this here till reinclusion. --J. D. Redding 05:46, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

split Later radio development-Early radio development

Article needs to be WP:SPLIT into Later radio development and Early radio development.--J. D. Redding 05:54, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I think a better idea would be to cut the detail and make the article more about what it was a month ago. The details of what each inventor did can be put into their own bios. Otherwise, you're going to have a big mess deciding what to put into which article, and both will remain bloated. Dicklyon (talk) 07:45, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreeing (scalpel in hand). Hertz1888 (talk) 07:50, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Pruning needed

I removed a few kB, mostly long-winded unsourced passages in refs where they don't belong. But every part of this article has become bloated, making it a big job to even identify what to work on. Please do work on pruning away the less relevant bits, and we'll see if we can get the size trend reversed... Dicklyon (talk) 07:44, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Can the prune hat-tag be removed? Should be ... very little activity to "prune". Pruning isn't needed. The article needs to be split. J. D. Redding 14:57, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Comments on radio developers comparison

1)Tesla sent early radio transmission on 1893? It was not a long distance radio transmission, this aspect should highlighted, the experience was nothing new or worth mentioning. Put in this way it seems that was Tesla to achieve first successful radio-transmission, WHICH IS NOT TRUE!!!

2)""".....Many of Marconi's system components were developed by others.[270] According to the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, the Marconi instruments were tested around 1899 and the tests concerning his wireless system found that the "[...] coherer, principle of which was discovered some twenty years ago, [was] the only electrical instrument or device contained in the apparatus that is at all new".[271] Oliver Lodge claimed British patent of 1900 to contain his own ideas which he failed to patent.His 1901 transatlantic transmission is disputed.... """ Should we rely on the US naval institute as main source, c'mon? Branly, before Marconi's experiment, never made researches on hertzian waves, while Righi or Lodge didn't think about a practical utilization of the hertzian waves for radio-transmission since the maximum range was not suitable for telegraphic transmission. Marconi didn't use hertzian oscillators or Tesla coils in his apparatus. Only the Marconi's oscillator could reach 150 or 200 picofarad compared to the 5 of traditional hertzian oscillators!! The statements that many of Marconi's were developed by others is just a denigratory and pointless affirmation. It was only Marconi who invented the radio!!! You just show his invention as a banal assembling of things invented by others, SO BANAL THAT ONLY AFTER 1899 OTHER SCIENTISTS IN THE WORLD WERE ABLE TO ACHIEVE THE SAME RESULTS OBTAINED BY MARCONI !!!! Magnagr (talk) 20:14, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Written Like a Novel Instead of an Article

One must read this article for a very, very long time before finding out who actually invented voice-carried radio. This is how novels work, or perhaps feature-length magazine articles, but not encyclopedic articles like those found in Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia standards (much in line with the standards for any encyclopedic writing) the first line of the article should immediately tell you who developed voice-carried radio, and then (later in the article) go on to fill in the (key, not exhaustive) historical details. (talk) 14:17, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

I just made edits to address your concerns. Badon (talk) 03:56, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Can somebody provide a source for "In 1943, a lawsuit regarding Marconi's early United States radio patents were resolved by the United States Supreme Court, who overturned most of these." ?

I read somewhere that the Supreme court never overturned his main patent "U.S. Patent RE11,913", but only the later ones. Is this correct? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

I found a source and changed it ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

radio developer comparison

The radio developer comparison section was incomplete or incorrect in several areas, so I moved it here. I think it is actually outside the scope of this article, and probably ought to go into its own article if someone wants to polish it up a bit. Badon (talk) 03:58, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Radio developer comparison

Formative "wireless" methods table

Name Pro Con Earliest transmission
Henry Henry detected inductive magnetic effects at a distance of two hundred feet.[4][5][6] He was focused on wired telegraphy and researched self-inductance.[7][8] 1829[9]
Hughes In 1879, Hughes began research into radio waves. He noticed electrical interference in an induction balance he was working with.[10][11] The observed effect was due to radio waves and he discovered and improved the coherer.[12] His discovery was taken no further after Hertz described it rigorously.[12] 1879[12][13]
Maxwell By 1864 Maxwell had become the first person to demonstrate theoretically the existence of radio (electromagnetic) waves, which are used by all radio equipment.[14][15] Maxwell did not generate or receive radio waves.[16] None (n/a)

Discovery of spark-gap radio table

Early radio development table

Name Pro Con Earliest transmission
Branly Researched coherers. In 1890 Branly showed that such a tube would respond to sparks produced at a distance from it.[17] Others would expound upon the idea of using such a tube.[18][19] 1890
Bose Researched coherers.[20][21]

Transmitted microwaves over distance of 75 feet in 1895.[22][23]

Had transmitted microwaves nearly a mile by 1896.[24][25][26]

Did not pursue commercialization.[27][28] 1895
Roberto Landell de Moura

Early Transmission (c. 1893)

First radio broadcast of the human voice in a public demonstration (1900)

U.S Patent for a "Wireless Telephone" (1904)

Exhibition of the his apparatus occurred in 1900 1900
Braun[29] Invented closed circuit and coupled coils for transmitters. Did not recognize the significance when Hertz published his findings in 1888. 1897
Hertz By 1888, Hertz had studied and understood the work of Maxwell and, by design, produced the first clear and undisputed experimental evidence for the transmission and reception of radio waves. Hertz took this work no further, did not exploit it commercially, and famously did not consider it useful. 1888
Lodge Awarded the "syntonic" (or tuning) US Patent
Rutherford Developed sensitive apparatus until he could detect electromagnetic waves over a distance of several hundred meters.

Early Transmission (1893)

Tesla developed means to reliably produce radio frequency currents.[30]

In 1891 and afterwards, lectured about high-frequency devices and demonstrated devices using power without the use of wires.[31][32][33][34][35][36]

Referring to a demonstration of his wireless equipment in 1893 the IEE said "the apparatus that he employed contained all the elements of spark and continuous wave that were incorporated into radio transmitters before the advent of the vacuum tube".[37]

By 1895, stated that he had the ability to transmit signals under 50 miles.[38][39][40][41][42]

In 1897, Tesla applied for protection for the radio arts.[43] In 1900 Tesla was granted U.S. Patent 645,576 "System of Transmission of Electrical Energy", (March 20, 1900; filed Sept. 2, 1897) and U.S. Patent 649,621 "Apparatus for Transmission of Electrical Energy" (May 15, 1900; filed February 19, 1900).

In 1898, demonstrated a radio control and secure communication[44][45] between transmitter and receiver.[46]

After 1915, assisted the Telefunken engineers in constructing the Telefunken Wireless Station (the "Arco-Slaby system"[47]) in Sayville, Long Island.

Primarily because of financial difficulties, Tesla never completed his "worldwide wireless system".[48] The Wardenclyffe Tower transceiver that he began at Shoreham on Long Island, New York was eventually torn down.

According to L. Gualandi, Tesla's apparatus was not meant to be used in radio-transmission applications. Unlike Marconi's system no technical solution was present to allow the reception and transmission of long distance radio-signal.[49]

c. 1892 [50][51]

Later radio development table

Name Pro Con Earliest transmission
Baviera He was the first person to be granted a patent regarding a radiotelephonic system in 1899.[52] His activities on this field ceased suddenly, the reasons for which are unclear to this day.[53] 1899
DeForest[54] Developed the triode amplifier and the Audion tube. Late upon beginning research into space telegraphy. 1896[55][56]
Fessenden First audio transmission by radio (1900). Also, the first two-way transatlantic radio transmission (1906), and the first radio broadcast of entertainment and music (1906) 1900
Fleming Known for inventing the first thermionic valve.
Marconi Marconi was the first scientist to achieve successful radio transmission.[57] In summer 1895, Marconi sent signals 1.5 miles.[58]

Developed Marconi's Law.

In 1896, applied for British patent protection for a radio system. In 1900, he was granted British patent No. 12,039.

Transmission over 6 km in March and May 1897.[59]

Transatlantic transmission on 12 December 1901.[60]

Transmission over 3,378 km in February 1902.[61]

Transatlantic message on 17 December 1902.[62]

In 1897 Marconi founded "Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company"[63] and exploited the "Marconi System"[47][64][65][66] of radio commercially.

He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun, "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".[67]

Many of Marconi's system components were developed by others.[68] According to the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, the Marconi instruments were tested around 1899 and the tests concerning his wireless system found that the "[...] coherer, principle of which was discovered some twenty years ago, [was] the only electrical instrument or device contained in the apparatus that is at all new".[69] Oliver Lodge claimed British patent of 1900 to contain his own ideas which he failed to patent.

His 1901 transatlantic transmission is disputed.[70]

Popov Confirmed laboratory demonstration of radio on 7 May 1895.[71] In 1896 or 1897 publicly demonstrated the sending of a signal 250 m between two campus buildings. By 1900 he had reliable communications over 25 miles.[72] 1895[71]
Stone Influential in developing wireless communication technology

Holds dozens of key patents in the field of "space telegraphy".


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wireless telegraphy: its origins, development, inventions, and apparatus By Charles Henry Sewall page 140 - 146
  2. ^ The adjective "Hertzian" in the patents of Lodge and of Marconi are acknowledgements to the physicist professor Hertz who discovered transverse electromagnetic waves at the University of Karlsruhe.
  3. ^ Tesla early on questioned with some interest, a question principally to meteorologists, how does the earth behave electrically. He stated the Earth was an air condenser, one that is perfect, not an imperfect one — a mere sink of energy. He stated that there was little doubt that to small disturbance as might be caused in an experiment, the earth behaves as an almost perfect condenser. For more see, The inventions, researches and writings of Nikola Tesla: with special reference to his work in polyphase currents and high potential lighting By Thomas Commerford Martin and Nikola Tesla. Page 269, 347-348.
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  7. ^ Eugenii Katz, "Joseph Henry". Biographies of Famous Electrochemists and Physicists Contributed to Understanding of Electricity, Biosensors & Bioelectronics.
  8. ^ Ivan Smith. "Timeline of the First Thirty Years of Radio". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  9. ^ Ames, J. S., Henry, J., & Faraday, M. (1900). The discovery of induced electric currents. New York: American book (cf., [...] experiment was performed in August 1829.)
  10. ^ "Researches of Prof. D. E. Hughes (1899)". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  11. ^ Fritz, Jose (2006-03-06). "Arcane Radio Trivia: bio: David E. Hughes". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  12. ^ a b c Darrel T. Emerson, The Stage Is Set: Developments before 1900 Leading to Practical Wireless Communication
  13. ^ Eugenii Katz, "David Edward Hughes". Biographies of Famous Electrochemists and Physicists Contributed to Understanding of Electricity, Biosensors & Bioelectronics.
  14. ^ "Electromagnetism, Maxwell’s Equations, and Microwaves". IEEE Virtual Museum (2011). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  15. ^ James Clerk Maxwell, A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 155, 459-512 (1865).
  16. ^ Estabrooks, M. (1995). Electronic technology, corporate strategy, and world transformation. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books. Page 27. (cf., [...] Maxwell did not prove that these waves actually existed [...])
  17. ^ Branley, Comtes Rendues, 1890, page 785, and 1891, page 90.
  18. ^ In 1592, at the meeting of the British Association at Edinburgh, George Forbes suggested that such a tube would respond to Hertzian waves. (Guthe "Coherer action" Transactions of the International Electrical Congress, St. Louis, 1904, page 242.) (Munck. Poggendorff Ann 1838, Vol. 43, p. 193.)
  19. ^ In 1893 Professor Minchen demonstrated experimentally that such powders would respond to electromagnetic waves generated at a distance. He used a battery and galvanometer shunted around the powder to detect the effect of the waves. (Minchen, Proceedings Physical Society, London 1893, page 455.)
  20. ^ Fleming, J. A. (1908). The principles of electric wave telegraphy. London: New York and. (cf., [...] researches of Professor J. C. Bose are of particular interest. He states that the sensitiveness of any form of contact cymoscope consisting of conducting particles depends upon the proper adjustment of the pressure between the particles and the value of the external electromotive force which is in waiting, so to speak, to send or increase the current through the contacts.) See J. C. Bose, Proc. Soy. Soc. Land., 1899, vol. G5, p. 166 ; or Science Abstracts, vol. ii. No. 1716.
  21. ^ Institution of Electrical Engineers, Physical Society (Great Britain), American Physical Society, American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Electrochemical Society, & Associazione elettrotecnica italiana. (1898). Science abstracts. London: Institution of Electrical Engineers. Page 963
  22. ^ Prof Rajesh Kochhar, J.C. BOSE: The Inventor Who Wouldn’t Patent. Science Reporter, Feb 2000
  23. ^ The life and work of Sir Jagadis C. Bose on page 62
  24. ^ In 1896, the Daily Chronicle of England reported on his UHF experiments: "The inventor (J.C. Bose) has transmitted signals to a distance of nearly a mile and herein lies the first and obvious and exceedingly valuable application of this new theoretical marvel."
  25. ^ "Jagadis Chandra Bose and His Pioneering Research on Microwave" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  26. ^ jcbose,
  27. ^ "Jagadish Chandra Bose",
  28. ^ Geddes, P. (1920). The life and work of Sir Jagadis C. Bose. London: Longmans, Green.
  29. ^ Kurylo, F. (1965). Nobel Prize Physics 1909: Leben und Wirken des Erfinders der Braunschen Röhre, München: Heinz Moos Verlag.
  30. ^ U.S. Patent 447,920
  31. ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference Electrical Engineers 1892 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ Tesla's presentation at the Franklin Institute was reported across America (such as in The Century Magazine) and throughout Europe.
  34. ^ "Nikola Tesla, 1856–1943". IEEE History Center, IEEE, 2003. (cf., In 1891 he lectured on his high-frequency devices to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and this lecture, coupled with a spectacular demonstration of these apparatuses, made him famous. He [later in 1892] repeated his performance in Europe, to great acclaim, and enjoyed international celebrity.)
  35. ^ Tesla; Man Out of Time By Margaret Cheney. Page 144.
  36. ^ Ljubo Vujovi, "Tesla Biography; Nikola Tesla, The genius who lit the world".
  37. ^ "Nikola Tesla, 1856–1943". IEEE History Center, IEEE, 2003. (cf., In a lecture-demonstration given in St. Louis in [1893] – two years before Marconi's first experiments — Tesla also predicted wireless communication; the apparatus that he employed contained all the elements of spark and continuous wave that were incorporated into radio transmitters before the advent of the vacuum tube.)
  38. ^ Nikola Tesla On His Work With Alternating Currents and Their Application to Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony and Transmission of Power : An Extended Interview. Chapter IV ISBN 1-893817-01-6 (cf., [Counsel] What form of device did you use, and where did you use it, for noting the generation of these oscillations or waves in the antenna?
    [Tesla] [...] With such an instrument, I operated, for instance, in West Point — I received signals from my laboratory on Houston Street in West Point.
    [Counsel] This was then the machine that you used when working with West Point?
    [Tesla] I operated once or twice with it at that distance, but usually as I was investigating in the city. [...]")
  39. ^ Tesla, N., & Childress, D. H. (2000). The Tesla papers. Kempton, Ill: Adventures Unlimited. Page 136.
  40. ^ Who Invented Radio? (cf., By early 1895, Tesla was ready to transmit a signal 50 miles to West Point, New York ... But in that same year, disaster struck. A building fire consumed Tesla's lab, destroying his work.)
  41. ^ Leland I. Anderson (ed.), "John Stone Stone, Nikola Tesla's Priority in Radio and Continuous-Wave Radiofrequency Apparatus". The AWA Review, Vol. 1. 1986. 24 pages, illustrated. (ed., available at 21st Century Books)
  42. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation. (2008). Inventors and inventions. New York: Marshall Cavendish. Page 1395
  43. ^ U.S. Supreme Court, "Marconi Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States". 320 U.S. 1. Nos. 369, 373. Argued April 9–12, 1943. Decided June 21, 1943. (cf. The Tesla patent No. 645,576, applied for September 2, 1897, [...] disclosed a four-circuit system, having two circuits each at transmitter and receiver, and recommended that all four circuits be tuned to the same frequency. [... the apparatus could be] used for wireless communication, which is dependent upon the transmission of electrical energy.)
  44. ^ Cite error: The named reference Tesla, N. 1998 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  45. ^ Tesla, N., & Anderson, L. I. (2002). Nikola Tesla on his work with alternating currents and their application to wireless telegraphy, telephony, and transmission of power: an extended interview. Tesla presents series, pt. 1. Breckenridge, Colo: Twenty-First Century Books.
  46. ^ The schematics are illustrated in U.S. Patent 613,809 and describes "rotating coherers".
  47. ^ a b Collins, A. F. (1913). Manual of wireless telegraphy and telephony. New York: J. Wiley. Page 177–209
  48. ^ "Wardenclyffe — A Forfeited Dream". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  49. ^ Ludovico Gualandi, La Radio, la vera storia di un'invenzione incompresa. 2008. ISBN 978-8889150993 (Italian; tr., "The radio. The true story of an invention misunderstood.")
  50. ^ Tesla, Nikola (1892). "Experiments with Alternate Currents of Very High Frequency and Their Application to Methods of Artificial Illumination".
  51. ^ The True Wireless. Electrical Experimenter, May 1919, pages 28-30, 61-63, 87. (cf., The popular impression is that my wireless work was begun in 1893, but as a matter of fact I spent the two preceding years in investigations, employing forms of apparatus, some of which were almost like those of today.)
  52. ^ "The Spaniard Julio Cervera Baviera, and not Marconi, was the inventor of the radio, according to professor Ángel Faus . University of Navarra". 2005-10-26. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  53. ^
  54. ^ De Forest, L. (1950). Father of radio: the autobiography of Lee de Forest. Chicago: Wilcox & Follett.
  55. ^ Lee de Forest.
  56. ^ Fritz E. Froehlich, Allen Kent, (1992). The Froehlich/Kent Encyclopedia of Telecommunications: Volume 4 – Communications Human Factors to Cryptology. CRC Press. Page 285. ISBN 082472903X
  57. ^ "MARCONI WIRELESS TEL. CO. V. UNITED STATES, 320 U. S. 1 (1943)". 
  58. ^ a b Guglielmo Marconi -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  59. ^ BBC Wales, "Marconi's Waves"
  60. ^ "Marconi's Achievement (1902)". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  61. ^ "Radio's First Message — Fessenden and Marconi". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  62. ^ Marconi's Wellfleet (Cape Cod) Wireless. Stormfax.
  63. ^ "Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company" was formed on 20 July 1897 after granting of a British patent
  64. ^ "The Marconi System". Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  65. ^ Beauchamp, K. G. (2001). History of telegraphy. London: Institution of Electrical Engineers. Page 206
  66. ^ American Institute of Electrical Engineers. (1884). Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. New York: American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Page 120
  67. ^ "Guglielmo Marconi: The Nobel Prize in Physics 1909"
  68. ^ "Marconi Wireless Tel. Co. v. United States, 320 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1943)", 320 U.S. 1, 63 S. Ct. 1393, 87 L. Ed. 1731 Argued April 9,12, 1943. Decided June 21, 1943. (cf., But it is now held that in the important advance upon his basic patent Marconi did nothing that had not already been seen and disclosed.)
  69. ^ United States Naval Institute, Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. The Institute, 1899. Page 857.
  70. ^ Cite error: The named reference Belrose was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  71. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  72. ^ Eugenii Katz, "Alexander Stepanovich Popov". Biographies of Famous Electrochemists and Physicists Contributed to Understanding of Electricity, Biosensors & Bioelectronics.

Hughes didn't invent radio

Hughes's work may have been overlooked but radio means only one thing = long distance radio transmission and Marconi was the first one having achieved that. Marconi is not even mentioned in the introduction of the article. Marconi experiences in 1895 reached 2,4 km distances ( and not 1,6 km as written. It has been remembered several times — Preceding unsigned comment added by Magnagr (talkcontribs) 16:45, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Wrong, Hughes was the first to have achieved not only deliberate radio transmission, but also communication. Both Hughes and Hertz predated Marconi by several years. Marconi's advances were important because they were aimed at commercialization, and implicitly, usefulness. All three of them made important contributions. To say Hughes didn't invent radio because he didn't commercialize it like Marconi did, is like saying Alan Shepard wasn't the first American in space because he didn't orbit the earth like Yuri Gagarin did. It's a non-sequitur. Alan Shepard left the atmosphere to enter empty space, and Hughes used oscillating electrons to emit and detect low frequency electromagnetic waves. None of the other details matter. Badon (talk) 07:08, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Saying that Marconi contribution to the development of the radio was only related to its commercialization is not only offensive toward the man and his genius but shows also an incredible ignorance about what radio is and the history of its development. I never said that Hughes didn't invent radio because he didn't commercialize it!! I just said that his experiences were just similar to that one of many others scientists: short distances radio transmission !! Even if the public credited Hertz for being the first one to deal with wireless none had ever considered him as the inventor of the radio, so if we replace Hertz with Hughes the things don't change: Hughes didn't invent the radio !! Marconi was the first one to build an engineering complete radio apparatus. He didn't merely assembled things invented by others but created a brand new technology. Marconi was a successful businessman as a consequence of his scientific achievements and not the contrary. Marconi became rich because all the governments around the world could only rely on Marconi's technology: the only one working !! You don't get a Nobel prize for being the best door to door seller in town !! This article has to be completely rewritten as all the other articles related to radio... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:18, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Marconi is held in high esteem by everyone involved in radio development, including Hughes. But, Marconi's work was not "the first". There is no credible question that the order of original development was:
  1. Maxwell (theory)
  2. Hughes (demonstration)
  3. Hertz (theory + definitive demonstration)
The work of Marconi refined the work of his predecessors. There is no doubt that Marconi pushed radio to places it had never been before, but that's not the same thing as being the "first" to do anything with radio. Marconi and other intentional radio developers were all heirs to the big 3 listed above, not vice versa. In fact, there are a few key inventions that were very early - namely those of JC Bose, but there are many others - that could make some claim to being "first". All of those predate Marconi too.
Marconi is probably more like the Bill Gates of radio. Bill Gates didn't invent much of anything. He just refined it in a way that made it useful. The same could be said for Neil Armstrong. He wasn't the first man in space, or even the first man to ride in a rocket. Not being "first" in some particular detail doesn't diminish later achievements.
Badon (talk) 23:13, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
"....The inescapable fact is that Marconi in his basic patent hit upon something that had eluded the best brains of the time working on the problem of wireless communication-Clerk Maxwell and Sir Oliver Lodge and Nikola Tesla...." These are words from judges of the unfamous US supreme court that, for someone with a vivid imagination, would have put a grave stone to the radio invention controversy, giving the merits of this invention to everyone but Marconi. Computer worked also before Bill Gates, radio didn't work before Marconi.
As Charles Steinmetz stated (one of the most briliant mind in the field of electrical engineering):
"Before Marconi presented his invention to the world none would have believed that he was able to make it while after he succeded, it turned out that many had already devised (the radio) it before him"--Magnagr (talk) 11:28, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

First Tesla now Hughes

There was a long term campaign by supporters of Tesla to install him as the one and true inventor of radio. Now it seems that Hughes invented it all.

I do not want to diminish the achievements of Hughes but they seem a little overblown here, based mainly on a couple of biographical sources. Let us keep Hughes important contributions to the subject but tone down the Hughes did it all aspect. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:34, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

I have started toning Hughes down a bit. Much more irrelevant biographical material need to be removed too.

I notice that the Tesla section has become far too long again and also need toning down. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:27, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

About Tesla and Marconi

Take a look, please --Karanko (talk) 01:25, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Added to article's External links. Hertz1888 (talk) 04:55, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
See my comment above. The Tesla section needs toning down again. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:31, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Popov quote

In 1900, Popov stated at the Congress of Russian Electrical Engineers that, "the emission and reception of signals by Marconi by means of electric oscillations was nothing new, as in America Nikola Tesla did the same experiments in 1893 ."

is there a source on this quote? I looked on google a little bit but the results seem to trace back to Wikipedia BigPimpinBrah (talk) 03:44, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Removed. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:35, 9 April 2013 (UTC)


Rutherford seems to have done nothing whatsoever to further the invention or development of radio. The section should be removed.

The lead

There does not seem to be much interest in this article but I believe that it is now in much better shape than it was when I started this series of edits.

I now propose to rewrite the lead to be a brief introduction to the subject and a summary of the article as a whole as per WP:LEAD. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:08, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

I have rewritten the lead now. In accordance with WP:LEAD I have not included references in the lead as these are provided in the body of the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:49, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Hello, is there anybody here?

Warning Tesla attack!

General toning down

I have suggested above that we completely remove the Rutherford section and reduce and tone down the sections on Tesla and Hughes. Does anyone have any objection to this? Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:41, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

I noticed an editor reverted back the Tesla material without comment or rational (and maybe more but I didn't check). That version had little encyclopedic value being primary sourced, including primary sourced images with no explanation. I have gone back to the Martin Hogbin version and expanded it with secondary source material. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 19:39, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, every now and again someone edits the page in the belief that they know the one and only true inventor of radio and add exaggerated claims for their chosen inventor. There a a few again that need toning down a bit. I will give it a go. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:02, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

minor correction

Please correct Kymi, municipality to Kymi, Finland. — (talk) 08:10, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Done. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:26, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Warning for all past contributors

Can I say the following? will I be prosecuted by CIA, accused of everything, banned by the site?? I don't agree that an user is recently removing or maybe going to remove every content that doesn't comply with the old italo-fascist bias for Marconi's contribution to the development of the radio.-Nikolas Tales (talk) 16:16, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Thoughts on improvement

In my opinion the article still gives a little too much prominence to people who made small or no contributions to the invention and development of radio.

The mainstream view, which I support, is that the really major players were:


He really invented radio in the sense that before him there was only vague speculation about electricity, magnetism, and waves but after him there was as solid theory showing the existence of EM waves. His equations still form the basis of all macroscopic EM theory today. I think his contribution is under represented in the article.


Hertz was the first to unequivocally and intentionally transmit and receive EM waves, based on a proper understanding of Maxwell's theory. Famously, he completely failed to see the potential on his work. We could add a bit more detail about Hertz.


Marconi undoubtedly built on the work of others, but he succeeded in making radio a practical and commercially viable proposition. I think the volume we currently have on Marconi is about right. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:13, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

By X, n years before Y

This article should give an accurate and chronological account of the invention of radio. Text of the form,' X did this n years before Y' is therefore overly promotional and unnecessary and I intend to remove text of this or similar form unless anyone objects. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:32, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Obsolete technical language

Parts of this article are written in obsolete technical language making them essentially meaningless today. I suggest that these sections are rewritten using current technical terms, if it is clear from the source what was meant, or deleted. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:35, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Just want to say this all looks good to me. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 14:57, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I am going through trying to improve the English and tidy things up a bit now. Please let me know if you object to any changes I have made. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:35, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

I have moved the timeline to the end and expanded it to show progress milestones and given in the article text.

Heading levels

I would like to change the heading levels. Firstly, having a section, which is most of the article, called 'History of the invention of radio' is pointless and simple reduces heading-level space. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:07, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Anyone speak German?

We currently have in the Hertz section, 'I do not think that the wireless waves...will have any practical application'. I suspect that 'wireless waves' is a poor translation of the original German, since the term 'wireless' comes from 'wireless telegrapy/telephony' and Hertz clearly did not foresee this possibility. Is ther anyone who could translate the original German comment. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:22, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Is it even an actual quote? I cannot find the source "Eugenii Katz, "Heinrich Rudolf Hertz". Biographies of Famous Electrochemists and Physicists Contributed to Understanding of Electricity, Biosensors & Bioelectronics." so the WP:RS is dubious for a start (maybe other people will have more luck). I am not seeing the quote in any source that is not a possible mirror of Wikipedia. Multimedia Signal Processing: Theory and Applications in Speech, Music and Communications by Saeed V. Vaseghi[1] says this was a student's recollection from a lecture and it was "no practical use for electromagnetic waves".
Pushing past mirrors (to 1959) we have:
Rings around the world: man's progress from steam engine to satellite, Heinz Gartmann - 1959
"Hertz liked to call himself a practical engineer, and yet considered his discovery to be of only theoretical importance. When a Viennese colleague asked, shortly after the publication of his experimental results, if his apparatus could be developed for wireless telegraphy, the young professor answered that he did not think it had any practical application."
I am seeing other problematic wording where things are being called "radio" before radio's discovery re: "1872 William Henry Ward received U.S. Patent 126,356 for radio development", "Hughes discovered that his microphone design exhibited unusual properties in the presence of radio signals. ". I think we mean wireless here, not radio.
It is hard to know what is correct here; possibly electromagnetic waves, these had be theoretically been shown to exist at the time and Hughes knew about them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 17:21, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I have changed the quote to a version that can be traced as far back as a 2000 source [2]. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:14, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Anyone speak German?;) It troubles me that the better represented "quote" can only be chased back as far as 2000. Where is it coming from before then? (what are the source's sources?). It seems like such a telling quote - you should see it in many older "histories". Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 01:50, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits by Badon

In one of your edit summaries you refer to the removal of fact-less phrases. Some of those you removed do refer to facts though. What is your rationale for removing the following:

'Several possible methods of wireless communication were considered, including inductive and capacitive induction and transmission through the ground, however the method used for radio today exclusively involves the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves'.

This states two facts: that EM waves are how radio works today but other methods were considered.

'After early speculation on the subject...'

Oersted's work did not come out of the blue there had been speculation on a connection between electricity and magnetism before him.

In general, the lead should summarise the body of the article. Both of the removed phrases are discussed in more detail in the body. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

No opinion on the lead changes yet but the wording "David Edward Hughes discovered that sparks would generate a radio signal" is incorrect. His work predates the concept, and the word, "radio". It also implies he knew about Maxwell's work and was making a connection to electromagnetism - did he? That whole section was badly referenced, being mostly 100+ year old references which are pretty much primary sources/OR by Wikipedia standards. For example a 114 year old claim by Elihu Thomson (4 years after the establishment of radio based comunication) has no real historical context. Started to do a little cleanup and then ended up replacing most of it. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 22:57, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you about the use of 'Radio'. When I greatly reduced the volume of text on Hughes (clearly added by a Hughes fan) I thought is was made clear somewhere (but I cannot remember where) that Hughes was aware of Maxwell's prediction of EM waves. Unless a source to confirm this can be found, I would agree with your text though.Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
"Radio" is a term of art that applies only to electromagnetic waves above audio frequencies, and below sub-infrared frequencies. As such, radio has only one meaning, and the fact the term was not in wide use in the late 19th century does not mean the article should avoid using the word. Furthermore, implying that non-electromagnetic forms of wireless communication could be called "radio" is simply wrong (see the radio article), so I removed and rephrased those misconceptions. The phrase about early speculation of a connection between electricity and magnetism was vague, and not really necessary for this article, even if it included citations. I felt that the other paragraphs did a good job of explaining the level of science at the time, and the phrase was redundant without providing any new information.
The statement in the lead said, 'Several possible methods of wireless communication were considered'. It could be argued that methods other than EM waves do not form part of linear development of radio as we know it today. If we are to remove it from the lead we should also remove the section in the body of the article but I think it provides useful background the thinking of the day and should probably remain, in which case it should be summarised in the lead. Whatever the decision on this the sentence was not 'fact-less'.
The reference to speculation is part of the history of the subject and should be included even if it is vague. It is vague because it is brief. It is mentioned in a little more detail in the body so should be in the lead. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:52, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


I hope no one minds but I have split this discussion into separate topics, the lead (above) and Hughes (below). Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:56, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Hughes was a member of the Royal Society of London, and the Society created the Hughes Medal in his name for merit in fields that include radio. In other words, he was at the center of scientific research at the time, and he had most certainly heard of Maxwell, Hertz, and anyone else with something important published, and they were most certainly familiar with him, too. In fact, James Clerk Maxwell had made in-person presentations to the Royal Society of London, so the Society as a whole was familiar with Maxwell. Speculations that Hughes might not have known of Maxwell's theories are probably wrong. Maxwell died in 1879, and anyone staying up-to-date in the world of science would probably have heard of him when he had died, even if they hadn't heard of him before. It may not be a coincidence that 1879 was when Hughes made his first transmissions.
If I remember correctly, one of the sources says somewhere that when Hughes demonstrated his wireless telegraphy set to representatives of the Royal Society of London, it was specifically because Hughes believed it was electromagnetic, NOT induction or any other form of wireless (it wouldn't have been interesting otherwise). In fact, Hughes laments that Hertz published before him, because he was preparing his own papers on electromagnetism. Hughes was quite famous in his lifetime, both in the realm of science, and in the realm of commerce for telecommunication products he produced. For example, he produced automated Morse code sending and receiving equipment, essentially a modem, which is amazing for the 19th century. Its high speed enabled more communication to pass through the world's choked telegraph lines.
As for the sources on Hughes, they don't got any better than those. They are secondary and tertiary sources printed decades later, and they summarize the the primary sources from numerous people who agree on the basic facts. I am not a "Hughes fan".
Badon (talk) 02:53, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Badon, just to be clear, when I said 'Hughes fan' I was not referring to you but an editor some time ago who added a lot on Hughes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:52, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
That editor was me. Badon (talk) 09:33, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I have reverted back the Hughes section. Sorry but one of the major sources in that section (Prof. D. E. Hughes' Research in Wireless Telegraphy, The Electrician, Volume 43, 1899) i.e. Hughes writing about Hughes is a primary source with little in the way of reliable secondary sources to back it up. This goes counter to Wikipedia policy (see WP:PST). Instead of "remember correctly", how about some reliable sources? 100 year old (or more) sources (accounting events that took place some 2 to 19 years before the source) in a history article are next to worthless, are far from reliable sources (re:Try to cite present scholarly consensus when available), and drawing conclusions from such old sources strays into WP:OR. The writing in that old version just reads as so much gobbledygook and doesn't even attempt to explain what Hughes actually did. It is also keeps repeating the same things and goes off on what seems to be a tangent (Point-contact diodes). The section also exhibits non-encyclopedic writing that advocates claims/counter claims instead of describing what each participant did (which has being cleaned up in other article sections). There are unverified claims and PUSHed claims such as Hughes sent and received Morse code, "Hughes discovered that his microphone design exhibited unusual properties in the presence of radio signals" (no, he did not identify what type of signal was present at the time), "John Ambrose Fleming ... improved the Hughes diode receiver component". This writing should be boiled down to the readers level and extended detail can be added to the David Edward Hughes article (unfortunately that article is as badly written as this section, so it needs work) Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 16:36, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
If you want to talk about bad writing, I suppose we could discuss your misspellings in your preferred version of the section about Hughes. Beyond mere misspellings, the overall informativeness of the section is much lower than the version you deleted, but I do think you have researched a few interesting facts that would have fit well if they were worked into an improved version of the original section.
I don't have time to work on this topic more at the moment, but I will point out that so many prominent scientists witnessed the Hughes demonstrations that it is possible, and actually very likely, that Hertz was aware of them. There was more than one demonstration, too. You probably should not have shortened the list of prominent witnesses.
The high level of development of Hertz's apparatus belies the fact that Hertz's expertise was elsewhere, and in fact he had very little interest in electromagnetics. Essentially, your complaints about sources boil down to the unfortunate fact that Hughes never published anything, but instead of gutting the article, in my opinion it would have been much wiser to further research if there are any other sources you can add (which you did for some things).
Although you belittle the publication of a letter written by Hughes as an unmeritorious primary source, Hughes's grand claims (important legally in several major patent cases), the list of famous witnesses, and the prominence of the publication have generated no dispute or refutation from anyone with an interest in that subject (especially the named witnesses with reputations to protect), neither at the time, nor in present day. To dismiss all of that out of hand, and gut the article of valuable information based on a single rule that is lower in importance (WP:IAR) than the actual article's content, is foolish. It could similarly be argued that Hertz's papers, or indeed any scientific paper, are useless primary sources. Obviously, that's stupid, and should not be done, regardless of whether it's a primary source or not.
The bottom line is that Hughes produced the first working radio in 1879 (or "around 1880"). He also made several other major contributions to science and technology, most of which were directly applicable to radio. The date of publication of these facts, and the author or publisher of them, is irrelevant in this case. Those things alone should not guide your decisions on what should be in the article, and what should not.
Badon (talk) 09:33, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Basing an article on primary sources and pulling suppositions out of them (i.e. Hertz copied Hughes, Hughes transmitted Morse code, Hughes discovered the crystal radio detector, "In 1879... Hughes discovered that sparks would generate a radio signal" or Hughes produced the first working radio in 1879, "He developed"... a...."working communication system", Hughes invented radio according to some people 114 years ago) is perfectly fine in most places, unfortunately Wikipedia is not one of them. Wikipedia articles are not supposed to be a tour de force of what we can advocate based on our view of primary sources, they should be based on what current secondary sources say (see: way too many Wikipedia policies to enumerate for the reasons why). Give the average reader the facts, let them draw their own conclusions. The old version missed some of the basic facts of "Who, What, When, Where" (a non physicist vs Stokes, Bell telephones and induction balances, not till 1899, up and down Great Portland Street) that gave perspective on what was going on. Some more facts could be added as to show what Hughes actually did but we should keep in mind that this article is a summary pointed toward an average reader. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 14:44, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Reduce information about non-radio wireless techniques

The article has several paragraphs and sections devoted to wireless communication schemes that do not utilize radio. For the scope of this article, it would be best if they were reduced, or rephrased in such a way that they form a part of the motivation behind the quest for wireless communication, which was eventually done successfully with radio. They used to be presented that way, but over time they have been elevated to the point where they have been conflated with radio by recent editors of the article. Badon (talk) 05:28, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

The methods you refer to are wireless but not radio. I agree that they only form part of the background of the subject rather than being part chain of inventions that led directly to radio as we now know it. I would have no objection if you were to rewrite them showing that fact. I think your rewrite should be briefly summarised in the lead though. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:01, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I've thought about this a little more, and I think the non-radio wireless methods can be integrated in the context of the commercial demand for improved, cheaper communication. That is what motivated so much research in all manner of wireless technologies. Before radio, the only viable instantaneous long distance communication was by cable, which was expensive because it had low "bandwidth". I think it may be possible to actually EXPAND the discussion of non-radio wireless techniques in that context, with a brief mention of anything from smoke signals to optical (heliograph, lasers, etc).
I noticed that the section on Hughes has been lumped in with the section about unsuccessful early "attempts" at non-radio wireless communication, but a photo of him at a much older age has been moved to the section about other experimenters from decades later, after Hertz.
Badon (talk) 09:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I have noted that this article (and others) seem to mix up the concepts of "radio" and "wireless communication". So for example we have Tesla in a section delineating the developers of Hertzian based (radio) Wireless Telegraphy. Tesla was a "wireless communication" developer but not really a "radio" developer. He did not believe in the existence of Hertzian (radio) waves, did not understand them well, thought they were useless if they did exist, and derided Marconi's idea of using Hertzian waves for communication. His mechanics and theories were something totally different.
Also "radio waves" and "radio communication" are not the same thing either. For example Lodge and the Maxwellians wanted to work with radio waves, but they were developing physics experiments to further understand electromagnetic waves and were not particularly looking for a communications system (i.e not "Wireless Telegraphy" developers). Hughes also does not belong under "Early attempts at wireless communication", he thought he was on to proving a new physical phenomenon but reliable sources point out he was not developing communication (see: Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion By Sungook Hong). Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:26, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
The title of the article is 'Invention of radio' which my dictionary leads me to believe should be the history of communication by means of electromagnetic waves. This suggests to me that the main stream of the article should be the discovery and production of EM waves and their use for communication. Academic experiments on EM waves after Hertz and attempts at communication by other wireless means form part of the background to the subject but are not at its core.
Regarding Hughes I think it is important to read the sources carefully and accurately represent here what they say. We must not ascribe motives or achievements to him that are not in the sources. For that reason I think my summary in the lead is about right.
Regarding Tesla, I agree that his contribution to the discovery and mainstream development of radio was minor. As you know, the content on him it is greatly reduced from its earlier level.
If we want to change the article I suggest that we start with the structure, which is based to some degree on the terrible mess left by a war between Tesla and Marconi supporters. When we have agreed the structure it should be clearer what should go in each section. Finally we should make the lead a summary of the article as a whole. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:04, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
The lead looks pretty good (with some minor tweaks). It may change allot depending on the body.
Here are what seem to be the obvious logical points that lead to article structure (well... at least obvious to me):
  • Since the word at the top of this article is "Invention" and is a sub of the "Radio" article (the wireless transmission of signals through free space by (an) electromagnetic radiation frequency ... called radio waves) then the fuller description of this article would be "The story of the invention of wireless communication via radio waves".
  • "Radio" and "Invention of radio" are both articles about a communication invention.
  • Radio waves (a type of electromagnetic radiation) is a discovery, not an invention, and therefore another story.
  • It seems obvious to me the discovery material belongs at Radio wave (which oddly has no History or Discovery section).
This article should follow the invention. By this logic we are talking about Marconi and maybe some Popov (telegraphic communication), then Fessenden (audio communication). Before Marconi we have "what did Marconi know and how did he know it?" or "Who invented that part of his black box?". After Marconi we have "who/what led to Fessenden". So we have preliminary discoveries that led to the invention (maybe in shorter form than they are now). Other wireless communication schemes that got communicated to Marconi et al and used in the invention (if any). Hardware that got communicated to Marconi et al.... and so on.
In general it would be what led to the invention (telegraphy and audio) and then what was developed after the invention, but to a limit because we already have "History of radio". Reliable sourcing may change the names above (this is not me claiming certain people have priority). Also I note that part of radio's invention is a post invention priority dispute - its no coincidence that "Early experimenters" and the "Developers of radio communication" portrait sections contain partisan/national heros being put forward with claims "he did that first" or "nah... he didn't do that first". Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion By Sungook Hong (for one) describes this priority dispute as well as the invention so maybe we should have a separate section on "priority dispute" (it gives us reference to describe a controversy and not take sides). Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 22:36, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I do not think we can take quite such a hard line on the difference between invention and discovery. I certainly would not want to reduce the 'Theory of electromagnetism' and 'Maxwell and the theoretical prediction of electromagnetic waves' sections. Even if you do not consider those strictly inventions they are an essential part of the background to the subject
The real question of who invented radio, that is to say, who in the history of the world first had the idea of using electromagnetic waves in the RF section of the spectrum for communication, is impossible to answer for many reasons. Must this one and true inventor come after Maxwell? Could it even be Maxwell himself. It could be argued that after Maxwell it was pretty obvious. Patents do not help us here because no patent, as far as I am aware, has the claim 'any form of communication using EM waves'. Also, the concept is of no use without the separate inventions needed to produce, transmit, receive, and detect EM waves.
"background" is needed but it has to fit the scope of this article, we may be looking at more content, we may be looking at less.
As for "invention", we don't ascribe the invention of "heavier-than-air powered flight" to the first people who thought of it , or tried to do it, we state the fist people who did it (those two brothers). We have something of that here. Lodge, the "Maxwellians", Tesla ect were still stuck on "we already have optical telegraphs - why would we want to build some more complicated Herzian Wave telegraph, it would have the same line of sight limit and in fact it will never work more than 1/2 mile" when Marconi (after great difficulty and allot of engineering missed in this article) suddenly showed up with a device that transmit many miles, over hills, and, in time, right across the English Channel. I think we need to follow everything that led to that and led from that (and maybe why a device that everyone seemed to say would never work actually worked). Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 21:23, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
My dictionary is rather vague on what 'invent ' means, in particular it is not clear whether to invent something you have to actually do it or just think of it. From a patent point of view, the inventor is the first person to think of something that has not been done before and fully describe how to do it. There is no requirement to make, use, or demonstrate your invention.
There is little doubt that, in the western world at least, Marconi was the person who made radio happen but he was not its inventor. The invention of radio was, as the article says, the work of many people, some (Maxwell, Hertz, Marconi) making large contributions, others making smaller ones. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:24, 21 February 2014 (UTC)


Here is the current structure with my comments.

1 Wireless signalling methods

I am not sure about this.

2 Theory of electromagnetism

I think this is about right as it is.

3 Maxwell and the theoretical prediction of electromagnetic waves

I personally think this could do with a bit more. Although you might not want to call this an invention it is critical to the whole process.

4 Early attempts at wireless communication

Maybe section 1 and this should be combined.

4.1 Wireless telegraphy 4.2 Experiments and proposals

I am not sure these headings have any real meaning

4.3 Hughes

This is a hard one. What exactly was in Hughes mind at the time and what did he claim? What sources support this?

5 Hertz experimentally verifies Maxwell's theory

On balance I think this is about right. There are arguments for more or less here.

6 Wireless Telegraphy 6.1 Branly 6.2 Tesla 6.3 de Moura 6.4 Lodge 6.5 J.C.Bose

7 Practical and commercial development of wireless telegraphy 7.1 Popov 7.2 Cervera 7.3 Marconi 7.4 Braun 7.5 Naval wireless 7.6 Stone Stone

These two sections are probably the most contentious. There is no real logic to the structure here. The most weight should be given to those who contributed to the progress of radio to its present state.

8 Wireless telephony 8.1 Fessenden 8.2 Fleming 8.3 De Forest

This section could do with significant expansion. It is what radio is all about today.

9 Radio invention timeline

A useful overview of priority. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:39, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments by FOB

Been looking over the history of this article and, wow, I have to admire the cleanup so far. Here is a basic structure as I see it. Sourcing to RS will change some parts of this article. Here is what I see as a structure.

Sources so far:

  • The Early History of Radio: From Faraday to Marconi By G. R. M. Garratt
  • Heinrich Hertz: a short life by Charles Susskind
  • Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion By Sungook Hong
  • Encyclopedia of Radio 3-Volume Set edited by Christopher H. Sterling


--Wireless before radio--

Replaces "Wireless signalling methods" with an overview of what had been achieved before the discovery and application of RF. Pre-Hertz "Wireless telegraphy" should be merged here in a much shorter form (It has its own article)

No strong views here. As well a providing some background this section also show the general race to transmit signals without wires. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)


---Early history---

Much shorter form of "Theory of electromagnetism" since we have the article History of electromagnetism, no need to repeat it.

I disagree with a major reduction here. Without the work of the early physicists there could be no radio. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

---Maxwell's theoretical predictions---

(about right)

I would like to have had more here but as I cannot think what to write I am happy to leave it. It still could be argued that it was Maxwell who invented radio. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

---Hertz's demonstration of electromagnetic waves---

(about right)

Agreed. Hertz was central to the invention of radio. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

--Radio wave experimentation--

---Observations before Hertz---

I think this section should come before Hertz. We should keep the article roughly chronological.

No RS for position of Berend Wilhelm Feddersen or Wilhelm von Bezold.

I agree, let us remove them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Observations of EM (but not identified as such) by Thomas Edison, Elihu Thomson, Silvanus Thompson and David Edward Hughes per Susskind. Many sources (reliable?) note and expand on the story of Hughes especially.

It seems clear to me that Edison, the Thompsons had little idea what they were doing and most likely did not transmit and receive EM radiation. It is important to mention them and to say this because it shows why Marconi succeeded where others had failed. Although some here have criticised him for it, Marconi rather than pursue his own crazy ideas, read up on the work of reputable physicists and built on that. I do not think the criticism is justified, academics publish their work for the free use of anyone.

It does seem likely that Hughes did actually transmit and receive EM waves. What do the sources say he though he was doing? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

---Technilogical developments---



de Moura (Sterling says this was something like a photophone, he should be removed since not RF)

Fine with me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)



All OK with me. Maybe some trimming. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

---Commercial development---

Radio telegraphy



Cervera (does not come up in RS, remove?)

Agreed Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)


Naval wireless (primary source/OR, remove)


Stone Stone

Radio telephony

This should be a main section which should be expanded. Radio today is almost exclusively telephony (and data transmission).



De Forest

These last two were really technology developers. Was anyone else apart from Fessenden involved in the promotion of audio.
Maybe we should add more about the first broadcasts. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

(needs expansion)

--Radio invention timeline--

(may need to match lead summary)

Agreed. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 03:35, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Stone Stone

This section seems to be mainly written in the language of the time, containing what look to be words taken directly from his patents. It is hard to determine from this exactly how great his contribution to the subject was. I suggest that this section is rewritten in modern English. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:41, 2 June 2015 (UTC)