Move Over Marconi Meet The Real Father of Radio

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Canadian Reginald Fessenden and his message was “One Two Three Four — is it snowing where you are Mr. Thiessen? If it is, telegraph back to me.”

How Canadian - he talked about the weather!

While Marconi is often credited as being “the”, or at least, “a” father of radio, he was in fact experimenting with wireless telegraphy, not radio.

In fact, Marconi was never interested in transmitting voice and didn’t think it possible.

Nor is it even certain he actually heard the morse clicks from across the ocean amid the static on Dec 01, 1901. His spark technology meanwhile was also a dead end and he would abandon it in 1912.

At the same time, a Canadian working for the US Weather service, was developing actual radio technology.

Reginald Fessenden knowing that Marconi’s technology was a dead end had been working on his own theory of wireless transmission called amplitude modulation, what we would later know as AM radio

It was on this daye, December 23, 1900, a year before Marconi’s claimed telegraphy clicks, that he transmitted the very first wireless radio voice message to become the real “father” of radio.

He sent a message a distance of 1.6 kilometres between two 13-metre towers. The first words ever transmitted were, “One Two Three Four — is it snowing where you are Mr. Thiessen? If it is, telegraph back to me”.

Thiessen quickly telegraphed back using Morse code that he heard Fessenden clearly and that it was snowing.

Continuing to perfect his technology, on Christmas eve 1906, he made the world’s first public broadcast.

From his station near Boston, ships at sea in the Atlantic and Caribbean outfitted with his recievers heard a female vocalist and Fessenden himself playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin. He also sings carols,and read passages from the Bible.

Fessenden is credited with over 500 patents and inventions from sonar, to television, to a fathometer to tracer bullets and many more.
He died in 1932.


History: Dec.23, 1900, the real father of radio (external - login to view)

There is more to read on Fessenden:

  • IEEE- Fessenden- Father of radio (external - login to view)
  • Site for Fessenden (external - login to view)
  • Hammond Museum site- Fessenden (external - login to view)
good thing it was snowing or buddy might not have called back
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