In 1888, the world takes on a new dimension: Heinrich Hertz discovers electromagnetic waves, opening the way for the development of radiotelegraphy.  In 1894, Jagdish Chandra Bose  demonstrates the use of radio waves, but fails to patent his experiment.  Nikola Tesla is considered to be the inventor of radio technology, although his creation is destroyed in a fire in 1895.  At about the same time, Alexander Popow develops the overhead antenna and sends the words "Heinrich Hertz" to a receiving station 250 meters away.  It is Guglielmo Marconi who finally achieves the first successful transatlantic wireless communication.

The new technology is initially conceived of as a simple transmission from one location to another, first for military purposes, and later for the safety of passenger ships.  The term "radio" is first used in 1912, at a London conference shortly after the sinking of the Titanic, when radio stations formally agree to receive and pass on all messages.

While the number of dedicated amateurs grows, David Sarnoff is the first to develop the idea of commercial radio in 1916.  It is only after the end of the first world war that his vision is realized by the Radio Corporation of America and the new techn ology is embraced by an enthusiastic audience.  Soon the production of radio receivers can hardly meet the demand, and by 1922, there are 500 radio stations on the air in the USA.

The enthusiasm infects Europe as well: a small device brings the whole world into one's own living room, and borders can be crossed with a turn of the dial.  In "Radio: An Art of Sound", Rudolf Arnheim writes that informational programs have the potential to overcome class divisions within society, and that the exchange of public opinion among nations could reduce the threat of future military conflicts: Technologically and socially, all indicators signal the coming of a new era.  But in 1933, the publication of Arnheim's book is banned in Germany.
back to radio tesla