Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pop History Moment: Marconi At Signal Hill

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket3,500 kilometres of ocean separate Poldhu, in Cornwall, from St John's, Newfoundland; prior to this day in 1901 the only way to traverse it was by boat, subject to all the vagaries inherent in such a journey.

Guglielmo Marconi, however, had another idea; to bridge what seemed to many in those days as an insurmountable distance with a deceptively simple looking invention known as a telegraph.

Atop Signal Hill he raised a kite 122 metres in the air and waited... For a message that finally came. Dot-dot-dot... The Morse Code for the letter 's'; 's' as in 'success'.

In later years Marconi's reputation justifiably suffered after he made his sympathies for Italian Fascism - and support for Benito Mussolini's imperialist designs on the Ethiopian Empire - known. None of that, though, ought to lessen the accomplishment he made on that windy hilltop overlooking the North Atlantic on this day in 1901...
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