October 3, 2013

Who Invented the Radio?

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In a previous entry, we discussed the history of the radio and the controversy over who actually invented it. We mentioned five important names of potential inventors, but there are actually more names to go into. In this entry, we will discuss all the potential inventors of the radio, as well as their contributions to this popular media approach. Our different inventors are David E. Hughes, Heinrich Hertz, Nikola Tesla, J.C. Bose, Ferdinand Braun, Alexander Popov, and Gugliemo Marconi. That’s seven different people hunting for the title, in case you didn’t want to tally them yourself.

David E. Hughes

Hughes hit the scene in 1879, making the claim of transmitting electromagnetic waves several hundred yards. While not verified, if accurate, this means that Hughes successfully transmitting radio waves a decade before anyone else.

Heinrich Hertz

Hertz was the physicist who confirmed that electromagnetic waves were possible, at least to the public eye. He transmitted radio waves over short distances, and sent nothing complex. He did this in 1888.

Nikola Tesla

In 1891, Tesla started doing research in, and giving lectures on, how electromagnetic waves might be used to send signals and communicate over a long distance. By his own claims, he successfully sent radio waves in 1895. No confirmed or third party witnessed experiments validate this, however.

J.C. Bose

Bose was a physicist residing in India who gave public demonstrations on radio waves in 1894, showing people that he could light fires and ring bells using this long distance communication. He didn’t want to patent his work, and it was only when pressured by friends that he did so, well after similar work was already patented by others.

Ferdinand Braun

Braun successfully adapted the invention of the short wave radio in 1899 by using inductive coupling and close tuned circuits. Without these inventions, modern radio would likely not exist.

Alexander Popov

The Russian Alexander Popov began using Hertz’s experiments as the basis for radio devices in the 1890s. While functional, his 1895 device worked more as a wireless telegraph than a radio.

Gugliemo Marconi

Marconi first transmitted signals in 1895, and was the first to patent his work internationally.