Guglielmo Marconi – Building the Wireless Age


Tim Wander

Building the Wireless Age

This is the detailed story of Marconi’s intense, five year struggle from 1896-1901 to develop a reliable and practical wireless communication system. It was a constant search for distance and reliability, often in the face of appalling weather. Step by step Marconi overcame countless technical difficulties, battling seemingly insurmountable problems of physics and engineering as his embryonic system began to take shape.

It was also a battle for public, press, commercial, military and scientific acceptance. It quickly became a war of money and ideas as Marconi fought against international and state sponsored competitors who deployed every form of industrial espionage and legal challenge. Each was determined to claim a piece of the new science and try to take control of what soon became a new industrial revolution.

Twelve years in the writing and with fifteen years of research behind that – the goal of the new book was ‘simply’ to fully document the first five years of the young Guglielmo Marconi’s career. My long held passion was to pull the whole story together, step by step and site by site with as many photographs and sketches as possible. The new book tells the complete story of the difficult birth and desperate battles that took place to make a practical system of wireless communication a reality.

Throughout the story I have challenged the established history and time lines, visited every site, interviewed local historians, combed through local archives and of course recorded what still remains. I have also attempted, as a old-time wireless engineer, to re-interpret each experiment and try to understand what happened there. Hence the book contains an extensive ‘Then and Now’ Appendix along with an extensive glossary and Appendices that keep the technical sections out of the main text.

I have also included a personal chapter on Marconi the man – attempting to paint a portrait of this exceptional man, that no one alive today has met – based in part on contemporary accounts and on his reaction to the struggles he overcame. But this is not just Marconi’s story – credit is given to all the  pioneers of wireless whose names have largely been forgotten, but each of whom played their part in the amazingly rapid development of wireless communication.

In the end it was only Marconi who won through. He had the vision, self belief and force of character to build a working system and prove it under the harshest of climates. In doing so he built a huge company and a whole new industry, straight from the laboratory bench. But it was a close run thing. Many times during the first five years he nearly lost the race to tame Heinrich Hertz’s wireless waves. But what he achieved on bleak windswept cliffs and basement laboratories around Britain’s shores changed the world as we know it.

NOW Available. 750 pages, over 750 photographs – many of them never published before.

Hardback. r.r.p. £24.95 plus p&p (£3.90 signed/tracked/insured)

The first 50 copies will be signed, (dedicated if asked)  and numbered by the author.

Offer to all Marconi Veterans and members of the Marconi Heritage Association – a signed/numbered copy of the book for £25 including postage and packing. Please email the author direct at for details or order through the website (add comment MVA or MHA member). Also available through Amazon.

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

The date column shows the year when the person joined the Company.

Mrs I Atterbury1954
F W Latter1969
W P Tibbenham1953

This list was correct on 9 December 2015  and supersedes the list published on 28 September 2015

We have intentionally kept this page as simple as possible and provide no details of the deceased.  However, where we have biographical details of a person and/or funeral details these are published under the Notices tab above.