Guglielmo Marconi, an engineer by training, receives credit for making the first functional radio. Marconi was born on April 25, 1874, in Bologna, Italy. He spent his childhood years living comfortably in Italy with his father and mother.
As part of a privileged upbringing, Marconi received excellent tuition at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna. As a young man, Marconi developed a keen interest in magnetic waves. He eventually developed long-distance equipment for broadcasting and transmitting electrical signals. His work failed to capture the interest of Italian authorities, but caught the attention of English authorities. With grants from the English government, Marconi moved to England to pursue work.
In 1896, at just 22 years old, Marconi successfully broadcast signals across the English Channel. He established wireless transmission bases on the Isle of Wight, and then set his sights on a transatlantic transmission system. He continued developing and improving long-distance signals through the early 1900s.
In 1909, Marconi received the Noble Prize in Physics along with German scientist Karl Braun. Marconi's radios benefited many citizens, including those aboard the ill-fated Titanic. Using its Marconi transmitter radio, the Titanic radioed an emergency message to shore, and respondents rescued more than 700 survivors of the sinking.Learn More
In 1498, the Chinese created the first toothbrush as it is known today with bristles and a thin handle.Toothbrushes were mentioned as far back as 3,000 BC. They were described as chew sticks that were made of twigs with split threads at the end that could be rubbed vigorously against the teeth to remove food and plaque.Full Answer >
Although widely and erroneously credited to 19th-century British plumber Thomas Crapper, the modern flush toilet was actually invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington. His treatise, titled "A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax," described an early type of flush toilet.Full Answer >
Thomas Edison's favorite invention was the phonograph. Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. It was through his efforts to improve the telephone and telegraph that he conceived the idea to record sound on tinfoil-coated cylinders.Full Answer >
John Bird invented the sextant in 1759. His work was based on prior work by John Hadley and Thomas Godfrey, who separately invented the octant. He also relied on the work of Sir Isaac Newton regarding the principles of a doubly reflecting navigation instrument.Full Answer >