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Signor Marconi's Magic Box: The Most Remarkable Invention Of The 19th Century & The Amateur Inventor Whose Genius Sparked A Revolution
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Signor Marconi's Magic Box: The Most Remarkable Invention Of The 19th Century & The Amateur Inventor Whose Genius Sparked A Revolution

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The world at the turn of the twentieth century was in the throes of "Marconi-mania"-brought on by an incredible invention that no one could quite explain, and by a dapper and eccentric figure (who would one day win the newly minted Nobel Prize) at the center of it all. At a time when the telephone, telegraph, and electricity made the whole world wonder just what science wo ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 20th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 2003)
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Dec 29, 2006 rated it really liked it
An interesting biography of Guglielmo Marconi and his role in the invention of radio. While Marconi was not the first person to transmit radio signals, and while he didn't invent the building blocks that made up radio, he was the first person able to take what was a laboratory curiosity and to turn it into a practical system for long-distance communication. It was thanks to Marconi that wireless went from sending signals a few hundred yards to spanning the Atlantic ocean in less than a decade, a ...more
Andrew Otis
May 05, 2021 rated it liked it
An interesting tale of a remarkable inventor. Sometimes bogs down. This book had no citations, so I am at a loss for where the author sourced specific information, which would have been nice given that it appeared there was some primary source research based on what the introduction discussed.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable, in-depth account of Marconi and his great invention. What I most enjoyed was the discussion of other inventors and inventions that inspired Marconi.This book also went into how wireless technology was instrumental in saving lives
OK biography of inventor who promoted wireless and used it without scientifically knowing how it really worked. Best part is how it was used on the Titanic before it sank. Worth reading but there may be better biographies out there.
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: nerds
Shelves: owned, biography
Saw this at the Harvard Coop, and snapped it up. It's a good read and a fascinating topic. It's essentially a biography of Marconi, focusing on his most creative period, 1896 - 1910 or so. The author glosses past the engineering aspects, which I found frustrating -- why did Marconi's apparatus behave as unpredictably as it did? Would a better physics education have helped him? What did he think was happening, and what really did? Likewise, I wish the author talked more about the business aspects ...more
George Anderson
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just surfaced from the strata of my possessions. Five years since I read it but it still sparks recognition of how much I enjoyed reading about a narrow period of radio development that I cared little about beforehand. Consider visiting a time when radio waves were mysterious and no theory existed to guide the researchers to either create or detect them. Later devices such as the vacuum tube enabled an escape from this era but it was an erratic and unpredictable path. The accomplishments of Marc ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I still don't understand how radio works, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading this book. It managed to stay interesting and intelligent without getting bogged down in the technical details. I can't decide if it's a positive or negative, but every chapter ended with a cliffhanger or teaser that compelled me to keep reading. Good because if kept me reading, bad because it kept me up past my bedtime! ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book full of interesting facts - did you know that Baden-Powell's brother manufactured man-lifting kites that were used to hoist the aerial for the first ever transatlantic wireless transmission? ...more
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Guglielmo Marconi 1874-1937, made wireless telegraphy commercially viable. Voice transmission by radio came later, Marconi's original work transmitted morse code. Later he was a Mussolini supporter. Very fun to read, needs a little more technical detail & a bibliography
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Found this by accident perusing the biography section at the library. Didn't know this guy had so much to do with improving (though not inventing)wireless technology... ...more
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting part of history.
Johann Fourie
Starts very good but waters a bit down in the last quarter of the book. Nothing is said about voice radio development.
Jeff Beebe
Doesn't really explain how it worked -- but then, Marconi didn't know either. ...more
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