Radio today does not seem to be some kind of unusual and unique device that is capable of wireless communication. However, there was a time when radio became a real breakthrough in the development of new technologies. The history of radio is rooted in the distant past, which this article will understand.
The history of the invention of this device is associated with Alexander Popov. Modern man uses all the technical devices that originated from the first device – TV, computer, mobile phone. Although other states have their own inventors, they also understood electromagnetic electrical signals.
Signal lights and the first radio
Even at the dawn of primitive civilization, man thought about how to send information over long distances. It is worth talking about this in an essay or report on the topic of radio. At first, primitive tribes used fire smoke, then learned to reflect sunlight, gave signal lights or transmitted messages by pigeon mail. They used these methods for thousands of years, until the telegraph appeared in 1832. But gradually the information became more complex, which became the basis for the discovery of new communication systems.
The word “radio” itself, translated from the Latin language, means “to emit rays.” And after all, in fact, it is based on electric or electromagnetic waves, today even elementary schoolchildren know about this. But at the end of the 17th century, people thought little about a device that could transmit not just a few sets of letters, but whole texts, ciphers, and even music.
It was only in the 1830s that the physicist from England Michael Faraday announced that he had discovered electromagnetic waves.
And 30 years later, British inventor James Maxwell told the world about the theory of the electromagnetic field. Physicists continue to study it today. This is also worth mentioning in the radio post.
Around the same years, the American dentist Malone Loomis reported the advent of wireless communication, on which he worked for a long time. The dentist said he was able to invent a new way of transmitting information that people needed in other cities, countries or even continents. For this, two kites were used with electrical wires attached to them. The first played the role of a transmitter, and the second – a radio receiver antenna. When the circuit of one opened from the ground, the galvanometer needle began to move in the other wire.
The inventor claimed that such a device could transmit signals over 22 kilometers or more.
The history of the invention of radio in brief
The following stages in the development of radio communications:
- 1872 Loomis received his patent;
- 1880-1890 – passed successful experiments on electromagnetic waves;
- 1888 – Hertz waves were invented.
Loomis received the world’s first wireless communication patent. But this document does not contain a detailed description of the apparatus that the inventor created. He did not even keep the drawings of his devices. Because of this, not everyone considers his project to be the basis of modern radio. From 1880 to 1890, several different scientists conducted a series of successful experiments. They worked with electromagnetic waves using only advanced elements. It is because of this that several states are still demanding the title of radio inventors for themselves.
For example, in Germany, the physicist Heinrich Hertz is considered the first scientist. In 1888 he started working with electromagnetic waves. And to this day they are named after him – Hertz waves.
Experiments and observations
Information about Hertz’s experiments also came to other countries. In 1894, Oliver Lodge in Britain gave a lecture on radio waves. Then he demonstrated how they are transmitted at a distance of up to 50 m. But his experiments were more related to detection than to the development of communications. Although physicists repeated his experiments. But their range was no more than 150-200 m, and this was not enough for practical use.
In 1895, Alexander Popov invented a device for recording electromagnetic bursts that appear during a thunderstorm. And a year later, he showed how to transmit audio messages through buildings.
But in parallel with him, the Italian Guglielmo Marconi also worked. He also first designed an apparatus for marking discharges, and then a radiotelegraph. But this scientist demonstrated his inventions a year later than Popov. The problem was that his homeland, Italy, was not interested in the experiments that the 20-year-old inventor had set up. And he had to turn to the UK for help.
And if we talk briefly about the history of the creation of radio, then both Popov and Marconi at a distance, independently from each other, created the same device. But both of them took Hertz’s experiments as a basis. The German scientist used Maxwell’s theory.
Then they did not yet know how to send voices or musical messages on the air. The devices could only record radio waves that were emitted near their location. The signals were transmitted in Morse code, taking turns connecting the machines. But such arresters turned out to be unsuitable for further use. Large devices required too much power to operate, and they also emitted signals along the entire possible path, interfering with each other.
We can say that the first radio bore more resemblance to wireless telegraph.
Sound from the lamp
The electromagnetic wave itself is needed to modulate the signal, change it over time. The device of Marconi and Popov could not do this. To change the amplitude or frequency of a wave, there must be special elements that change the current flowing through them. Radio tubes became such details. These are glass cans with evacuated air and soldered metal parts. They resembled ordinary lamps that were used for lighting.
Although these elements were unreliable and fragile, they allowed the invention of radio and other types of technology:
- unmanned aircraft.
Modern microwave ovens are also built in a similar way. Hertz’s experiments and Maxwell’s theory allowed communications workers to transmit signals without the use of wires. They passed through various obstacles and stretched for hundreds of kilometers.
The development of electronics and the creation of radio tubes made it possible to transmit both sound and images. Subsequently, radio appeared in almost every home.
Computers and numbers
The third stage of the scientific and technological revolution began with boring mathematical calculations. In the period between the two world wars, technology evolved so much that specialists with extensive experience too often had to calculate anything:
- accountants tweaked the balance sheet;
- officials kept various records;
- engineers calculated the strength of new structures;
- scientists processed the results.
During World War II, skilled workers began to crack the ciphers of their enemies. And they also tried to create nuclear weapons. This required a fast, versatile computing technique.
The first such devices looked rather bulky. But the engineers managed to change them. Then the Morse code encoded letters, but they learned to use similar signals to encrypt numbers. Due to the fact that electrical impulses move at light speed, operations with them lasted no more than a few seconds. Experts began to create electronic circuits that processed and stored these signals. On their basis, they created a universal computing machine – a computer.
Later it became known that impulses of electricity can encrypt both numbers and letters. That is, it became possible to present any picture or sound as a sequence of signals. Today, every child knows how to use a computer, but he can hardly tell even briefly about the invention of radio and computer communication with him.
Modern universal technology allows you to carry out complex accounting calculations, do any operations with information, even solve scanwords. But during the Second World War, computers still continued to heat up and burn out lamps.
Working with semiconductors and radio
Bulb burnout problems led to the development of semiconductor transistors. They were also able to alter the current flow in response to weak signals, but they required less power and were much more compact. Modern ones are about the size of a fingernail, but they can contain about a billion transistors that continue to work without interruption for decades.
Scientists dreamed of massively distributing computers around the world, and gradually it became a reality. Such devices can listen to the radio broadcast and catch hundreds of millions of waves from it in a second. In doing so, they turn them into a stream of numbers, and also work with complex programs. Modern electronics allows you to store tens of thousands of books, processes signals from standard radio stations, and even carry out complex calculations. And for all this, there is enough energy from an ordinary pocket battery.
Any smartphone receives a series of pulses from a mobile tower and turns it into an image or video on the screen. The display consists of several million dots, each with three elements for different colors. Navigation, drones, satellite Internet and digital television work on the same principle. Signals are also transmitted using contactless bank cards, electronic passes and travel tickets. Even modern equipment in education works according to similar schemes.
Any story about radio can include information about its importance. The inventions of Alexander Popov, Hertz, Maxwell and Marconi gave birth to modern technologies.
The first bulky machines that drove Morse code into the air became the basis for the creation of computers and smartphones.