correction: in the paragraph below, 1983 should
actually read as: 1893.  Sorry 'bout that.  -- Dude --

Contrary to what some people think, it was not Marconi who invented the radio.
That honor goes straight to Nikola Tesla, who in 1983 gave the first public
demonstration of what he called "wireless communication." In 1985, Marconi
presented a radio device in London, claiming that it was his idea, and yet,
it was the same device that Tesla had earlier presented in his articles. Tesla
finally had his radio device patented in 1897.
-- Dude --
Nikola Tesla

The Guglielmo Marconi Case
Who is the True Inventor of Radio? 

How many mistakes are there in our history books after all? How many facts are erroneously described and so replicated throughout the world, while the reality is completely different?

The invention of radio is one of these cases. Despite the fact that almost every book mentions Guglielmo Marconi as the inventor of radio, the only thing Marconi did seems to be nothing more than reproducing apparati Nikola Tesla had registered years ago. Marconi copied Tesla, made some modifications, built a large industry producing radio devices in Europe and spent huge amounts to advertise his supposed invention.

Yet, the inventor of radio is Nikola Tesla, as proved by official court decisions and as great scientists of his era admit.

paper left

With his newly created Tesla coils, the inventor soon discovered that he could transmit and receive powerful radio signals when they were tuned to resonate at the same frequency. When a coil is tuned to a signal of a particular frequency, it literally magnifies the incoming electrical energy through resonant action. 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.

The timing could not have been worse. In England, a young Italian experimenter named Guglielmo Marconi had been hard at work building a device for wireless telegraphy. The young Marconi had taken out the first wireless telegraphy patent in England in 1896. His device had only a two-circuit system, which some said could not transmit "across a pond." Later Marconi set up long-distance demonstrations, using a Tesla oscillator to transmit the signals across the English Channel.

Tesla filed his own basic radio patent applications in 1897. They were granted in 1900. Marconi's first patent application in America, filed on November 10, 1900, was turned down. Marconi's revised applications over the next three years were repeatedly rejected because of the priority of Tesla and other inventors.

The Patent Office made the following comment in 1903:

Many of the claims are not patentable over Tesla patent numbers 645,576 and 649,621, of record, the amendment to overcome said references as well as Marconi's pretended ignorance of the nature of a "Tesla oscillator" being little short of absurd... the term "Tesla oscillator" has become a household word on both continents [Europe and North America].

But no patent is truly safe, as Tesla's career demonstrates. In 1900, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd. began thriving in the stock markets—due primarily to Marconi's family connections with English aristocracy. British Marconi stock soared from $3 to $22 per share and the glamorous young Italian nobleman was internationally acclaimed. Both Edison and Andrew Carnegie invested in Marconi and Edison became a consulting engineer of American Marconi. Then, on December 12, 1901, Marconi for the first time transmitted and received signals across the Atlantic Ocean.

Otis Pond, an engineer then working for Tesla, said, "Looks as if Marconi got the jump on you." Tesla replied, "Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents."

But Tesla's calm confidence was shattered in 1904, when the U.S. Patent Office suddenly and surprisingly reversed its previous decisions and gave Marconi a patent for the invention of radio. The reasons for this have never been fully explained, but the powerful financial backing for Marconi in the United States suggests one possible explanation.

Tesla was embroiled in other problems at the time, but when Marconi won the Nobel Prize in 1911, Tesla was furious. He sued the Marconi Company for infringement in 1915, but was in no financial condition to litigate a case against a major corporation. It wasn't until 1943—a few months after Tesla's death— that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Tesla's radio patent number 645,576. The Court had a selfish reason for doing so. The Marconi Company was suing the United States Government for use of its patents in World War I. The Court simply avoided the action by restoring the priority of Tesla's patent over Marconi.

Tesla's drawing published in 1893, showing the first radio communication

Other Scientists' Opinions

  • Alexander Popov, radio pioneer, in front of the Congress of Russian Electrical Engineers in 1900: "the emission and reception of signals by Marconi by means of electric oscillations is nothing new. In America, the famous engineer Nikola Tesla carried the same experiments in 1893."
  • James Wait, in charge of the USA project for radio communications with submarines at low frequencies: "from a historic point of view, Nikola Tesla imagined a world communications system employing a huge emitter in Colorado Springs in 1899; unfortunately, his sponsor cut all financial support. Tesla's experiments however have a tremendous similarity to the future development of low frequency communications."
  • B.A. Behrend, famous American scientist. It is said that when his colleagues thought they had discovered something new, he suggested they first had a look at Tesla's patents before proceeding with publishing their findings.
  • Edwine Armstrong, Tesla's colleague, later honored with a Nobel prize: "I believe that the world will wait long time for a progress and imagination equal to Tesla's."
In one of his rare moments of expressing anger when asked to comment on Marconi, Tesla said: "Marconi is a... donkey"

Despite all these, Marconi received the Nobel prize in 1907 for wireless telegraphy! When the possibility of honoring Nikola Tesla with the Nobel Prize was discussed later (likely for his work on electric energy transmission) he publicly refused it, noting that the importance of his inventions was not yet understood and that for him it would be more important to see his name on each of his numerous inventions that changed the world. Even for one such invention, he concluded, he would give the Nobel Prize away for a thousand years.


  1. "Tesla: Man out of time", Margaret Cheney, Ed. Layrel, N.York 1983. (probably the best Tesla biography)
  2. "Nikola Tesla, Life and Work of a Genius", Yugoslavian Society for the Promotion of the Scientific Thought "Nikola Tesla", Belgrade 1976. (Proceedings of the Nikola Tesla conference for the pronouncement of the year 1976 as the Nikola Tesla Year in Yugoslavia) -----Original Message-----
    From: []On Behalf Of Henry Ayre
    Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 9:02 PM
    To: Zogs - War; Roy - Williams;; Kevin - Strom;; Hengist - -; Final - Conflict; Carolyn at Safeway; Bill - Ayre; Art - Ayre; Angela - Rohweder; Conspiracy Theory; Jim - Rarey
    Subject: Marconi knew more than just science!

"...the US Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have now quietly introduced rules barring Jews from sensitive positions and security defense contracts."

Inventor of the radio refused

Jews entrance to the Academy

Duh, about time! (...and a tip of the hat to Marconi!)

Rory Carroll
in Rome

GUGLIELMO Marconi, the father of radio and Italy's scientific hero of the 20th century, has been outed as a fascist hatchetman for Benito Mussolini's anti-Jewish policies.

Documents unearthed in Rome have exposed Marconi as a clandestine but willing enforcer of the dictator's campaign against Jews years before the persecution came into the open.

As head of the Academy of Italy, the Nobel prize winner systematically blocked all Jewish candidates at the behest of the dictator at a time when the regime still denied having any religious prejudice.

Marconi, revered in Italy for helping to usher in the technological age, wrote the letter "E" beside the names of Jewish scientists his colleagues had shortlisted to become members of the academy. The Italian word for Jew is "Ebreo".

Not one Jew was allowed to join during Marconi's tenure, which started in 1930, three years before Adolf Hitler took power in Germany and eight years before Mussolini's race laws brought his regime's anti-semitism into the open.

Historians yesterday were divided over whether the discrimination was the personal initiative of a scientist who considered Jews inferior or whether it was the action of a man too weak to oppose the regime's edicts.

The documents were discovered in Rome archives by researcher Annalisa Capristo, and revealed in The Exclusion of Jews From the Academy of Italy, an article published in the latest edition of the Israel Monthly Review.

Italian historians said the documents were authentic and surprising because anti-semitism was not thought to have been so pronounced in the early 30s, before Hitler's example emboldened Il Duce.

"The Capristo article confirms that - there existed in Italy a sort of anti-semitic ferment, a subterranean movement that became open only with the racial laws," Michele Sarfatti, an authority on the period, told La Repubblica.

Scholars needed to review the period because many had accepted Mussolini's public statements that at that point the regime had nothing against Jews, he said.

The revelation will embarrass Marconi fans who last year celebrated the 100th anniversary of his transatlantic wireless transmission. Hailed as an example of Italian genius, statues of him dot the country, including a bust at the entrance to Vatican Radio, and Bologna airport is named after him.

David Irving comments:

A POSSIBLE reason for Marconi's exclusion of the Jews is the same reason that the US Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have now quietly introduced rules barring Jews from sensitive positions and security defense contracts.
   Jews are perceived as being people of divided loyalties, who have been known on occasion to put their loyalties to others above loyalty to their own country.
   The actions of the Pentagon and the CIA would not be classified as anti-Semitism (except perhaps in the muddled mind of a Guardian- reading British High Court judge).


That Marconi collaborated with the fascist dictatorship was no secret; many if not most of his scientific peers did the same in response to the regime's carrots and sticks.

The academy he presided over was conceived by Il Duce as a way of coordinating the arts and sciences to further "the genius of our race, and to favour its expansion abroad".

Members were given a hefty salary, free first-class travel and a uniform with a plumed hat and gilt sword. In return, they guarded the purity of the Italian language and turned up at parades.

Mussolini indignantly rebutted claims that Jews were banned from the academy and said appointments were made on merit alone. In reality other documents uncovered by Ms Capristo show that the dictator was active in trying to block Jews from positions in public life. Marconi appears to have been party to this policy, blocking all Jews from the academy.

The rejection of Alessandro Della Seta, then Italy's most celebrated archaeologist, was especially telling. Despite being Jewish he was an enthusiastic fascist and loyal to the government.

Other heavyweights such as Giancarlo Vallauri, a leading physicist and mathematician, were also kept out.

Some members of the academy suspected a policy of discrimination and wrote to Mussolini requesting clarification but never received a reply.

Dr Capristo said more research was needed to determine whether the father of radio was racist. "However at this point it is evident that Marconi was not only aware of the anti-semitic discrimination, but was also willing to enforce it."

Since his death in 1937, Marconi has been remembered as a prodigy: he took out a patent on wireless telegraphy in 1896, aged 22, and with Carl Braun won the Nobel prize for physics in 1909.

Tourists flock to the Bay of Silence, on Italy's north-east riviera, to see where he performed his first experiments with radio waves.