The Radio

Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi, pictured, is largely credited with inventing the radio. However, Tesla beat Marconi to the punch — he just happened to run into some bad luck.

Tesla had realized that Tesla coils had another purpose: They could transmit messages. But just when he was about to try it out in 1895, his lab burned down.

At first, Tesla didn’t see Marconi as a threat. “Marconi is a good fellow,” Tesla once said. “He is using 17 of my patents.”

But Marconi would win the day. He transmitted signals across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901. The U.S. patent office awarded a patent for the invention of the radio to Marconi, despite denying him multiple times because he was using Tesla’s technology.

The U.S. Supreme Court would later uphold Tesla’s original patents —but not until six months after his death in 1943.

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