The history of wireless

The true father of wireless
When asked who the father of wireless is most people cite Marconi – and while Marconi developed wireless transmission hugely the true father is Henrich Hertz – Born in Hamburg in 1857 Hertz devoted much of his life testing the theories of James Clerk Maxwell's Electromagnetic theory of light. The first wireless transmission wasn't in fact made by Hertz but in fact by David Edward Hughes from Wales, however his method where not proven until Hertz took the ideas forward with more scientific methods.

The Spark Gap Transmitter
The spark gap transmitter which Hertz developed from Hughes initial experiments consisted of a high voltage run through wires to a small gap – therefore creating a spark. At a distance from this apparatus a wire circle with a very small gap was arranged (typically the gap would be hundreds of a millimetre) in a very dark room when a spark was created in the first coil (the transmitter), a very small spark (only visible in a darkened room with well-adjusted eyes) could be seen. This proved the theory of electromagnetic waves and the start of a whole new technology. Hertz as we all know had his place in history sealed when the SI symbol Hz was named after him for the measure of frequency.

Guglielmo Marconi
While many other people contributed to the history of wireless – Marconi is one of the names most associated with the field. Marconi, just twenty years old, began his first experiments working on his own with the help of his butler Mignani. In the summer of 1894, he built a storm alarm made up of a battery, a coherer, and an electric bell, which went off if there was lightning. Soon after he was able to make a bell ring on the other side of the room by pushing a button on a bench.  Source: "Guglielmo Marconi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2013 These developed to the point that on December 1902 Marconi was involved in the first transmission, across the Atlantic, and on the 18th of June 1912 Marconi's systems used the New 'Save our Soles' or SOS message from the stricken Titanic. Wireless had come of age.

Coming of age
In the years that followed to the present day – methods were found to modulate audio over a wireless transmission and developed in the radio broadcasting industry, a couple of decades later moving pictures began to be modulated onto the wireless signal, and the television industry was born. In the present day we think nothing of checking our e-mail in a car moving at 70 miles an hour. Or streaming hi-definition video across our 802.11n wireless network.

So next time you logon to your WLAN – think back 130 years to that darkened room and a tiny spark - The beginning of wireless.