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Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago




Acknowledgement is made on the Home page of the 1950 Jubilee publication "Wireless at Sea - the first fifty years" by H.E.Hancock (now available as a pdf download here) and visitors to this wiki are particularly commended to tackle the magnum opus "Guglielmo Marconi - Building the Wireless Age" by Tim Wander, nearly 800 pages of extensively researched and documented detail of the life and events that eventually resulted in our modern age of electronics.


Given time and patience it is fascinating to work through the content of "The Marconigraph" to follow the rapid spread of the use of wireless and the influence this had on both everyday life and long-term thinking on an international scale, comparable in many ways to that of its effectively grandchild, today's social media explosion. 


These are some significant milestones as listed on the SIRM website:


    • 1902 – Marconi pioneers transatlantic wireless telegraphy. During February 1902, he succeeds in receiving signals on board the SS Philadelphia at a range of 3,400 km, proving that medium- and long-wave transmissions can far exceed line-of- sight distances. Later in the same year he transmits the radio message from North America. In 1907, Marconi launches a radio-telegraph service for ships in the Atlantic.
    • 1912 – On 15th April, the RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic Ocean. On board are two employees of MIMCL as radio operators. They succeed in contacting the radio station from which the first transatlantic message was sent, which was instrumental in the ensuing recovery of survivors.
    • 1937 – Marconi’s death is marked by two minutes radio silence
    • 40s – Various technology improvements, including the invention of quartz oscillators. Following the war, Marconi Marine launches the Radiolocator 1 and 2 – the first mercantile marine radar that becomes the mainstay of the company
    • 1957 –  VHF becomes the dominant radio band through the decade, with Marconi leading the development. In 1957 the Hague International Convention makes recommendations about VHF and Marconi’s Nautilus range is well positioned to benefit. In 1958 Marconi’s new floating lab (Elettra II) is issued with the first licence authorizing the use of VHF for public correspondence.
    • 70s –  Launch of family of marine MF/HF transmitters including Crusader, Conqueror, Commandant, Commander and Challenger.
    • 90s –  Satcom market continues to develop. Marconi Marine launches OrCades Inmarsat C equipment with the US supplier Trimble.
    • 2000s –  Movement towards distributorship over own product development. Win several awards from JRC for sales achievements. Marine business acquires Broadgate Voyage Data Recorder business from P&O
    • 2002 –  Finmeccanica acquires Marconi’s communications business including Marconi Marine and moved the business into SELEX Communication and later into SELEX ES
    • 2016 – SIRM bought the marine business from SELEX ES Ltd. with the aim of creating a center of excellence for the sector with a European dimension









Odds and Ends and Items of Interest



Believed to be circa 1917


In order to become a qualified Marconi Marine Radio Operator, Marconi would offer grants to new recruits to go to college to gain the 'Certificate of Competence in Radiotelegraphy and Authority to Operate' qualification. There were two standards of certificate; the Standard Second Class and the Advanced First Class. These were the standard qualifications to serve as a Radio Officer on British Ships in the Merchant Navy in the 1950s.



The Marconi Press Agency

This was a private company set up in 1910 to act as a publicity department to disseminate to the general public items of wireless interest gleaned from the reports of engineers and operators in various parts of the world. By early 1911 so much information was being garnered that it was decided to publish it in the form of a monthly illustrated journal, christened "The Marconigraph". This included technical articles, and of wider interest, lists of radio operators and their stations, with stories of their daily lives, together with details of installations in vessels and on shore in by then almost every country in the world. In 1922 the name was changed to The Wireless Press. Such was its success that two years later it was renamed Wireless World, which in 1925 became an independent publication, celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1961 and covered what became the whole world of electronics, so in 1984 was renamed Electronics and Wireless World and in the 1990s to simply Electronics World, which continued in existence as a printed magazine until 2011 when it became available by subscription and as a digital version.  This is a website which has an almost complete set of scanned copies of the printed version.


From 1920 the Press also published the "Ocean Times" on board the White Star, Red Star and Atlantic ships and following on from the Iliffe purchase in 1924 this was extended to all ships at sea.


There is a comprehensive listing of all Company publications to be found here


Graces Guide


Marine articles


History of Maritime Distress Calls


Wireless Telegraphy for Marine Intercommunication


Marconi Centenaries - this publication has a couple of items of interest


Lizard Wireless Station  1 - navigation links still live depite statement   2.


Merseyside Maritime Museum


An interesting site


Imperial War Museum




A miscellany of information


An enthusiasts compendium


Bodleian Archive entries


Early equipment


A Radio School story






"Marconi at Sea" exhibition held in 2012 




Portishead Radio





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