Cost Of Marconi


May 3, 2005
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What was the cost of a complete Marconi Wireless shipboard installation, such as on the Titanic in 1912 ?

Was Marconi equipment just available to commercial users or could anyone buy any Marconi equipment ?
 
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William Oakes

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The Marconi Company provided the equipment and installation as part of a larger contract with the British shipping companies and the Royal Mail Company under which they agreed to use only Marconi Equipment.
What that larger contract/agreement entailed in terms of cost is unknown to me.
No, the equipment was only accessible to users under contract.
Marconi was VERY secretive about his equipment, and fearful of competitors.
 
May 3, 2005
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Is there any information on cost of other communication type equipment made by companies other than Marconi ?
Were there companies selling equipment to the general public ?
I'm thinking mainly of receiving equipment.
Of course when radiotelephone and vacuum tubes came into being there were many companies selling for the home use market.
But I'm thinking of the time during "spark" type "radiotelegraphy" it was mainly a "do it yourself/build it yourself" type thing for the "wireless enthusiast" ?
 

William Oakes

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In the early 1900's the technology was so knew and misunderstood, that there were no wireless enthusiasts. The main competition that Marconi had was the German military.
The Kaiser saw the benefit and financial potential in the technology.
During this time, there was no market to the general public, so the answer is no.
There were no companies selling to the general public!
 
May 3, 2005
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The question was for 1912 at the time of the Titanic disaster.
There are reports of "wireless clubs" dating back to 1908 at Columbia University.
And "commercially built wireless transmitting and receiving equipment" available in 1905.
See "Wikipedia History of Amateur Radio"
 
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May 3, 2005
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Thanks very much for your posts. They got me to thinking about what I had read !

I really didn't know very much until I did some research on the subject.
I was just going on some stories I had heard that some "hams" ( which was intended as derogatory at that time ) had interfered with wireless communication and caused confusion in such matters as those similar to the Titanic. But there were I believe reports of these "hams" listening to Titanic .
And how they had receivers to do so.

And it seems licensing and "ham radio" didn't really take off as far as both transmitting and receiving were concerned until after the end of WWI. All Amateur receivers and transmitters in the UK were forbidden and ordered to be turned in or dismantled until some time later after the end of the war.
I have heard that some countries still require permits or licences even for receiving equipment.

Well, I was glad to share my findings with you.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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In the early 1900's the technology was so knew and misunderstood, that there were no wireless enthusiasts. The main competition that Marconi had was the German military.
The Kaiser saw the benefit and financial potential in the technology.
During this time, there was no market to the general public, so the answer is no.
There were no companies selling to the general public!
No there were lots of enthusiasts. Its why they had to pass the "Radio Acts" one of them being in 1912. And not just from the techinical aspect. There were a lot of investors in the market at the time. Many taken to the cleaners over poor or fraudulant companys. If interested in early radio in all its aspects the site below has a lot of info. Cheers.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Thanks very much for your posts. They got me to thinking about what I had read !

I really didn't know very much until I did some research on the subject.
I was just going on some stories I had heard that some "hams" ( which was intended as derogatory at that time ) had interfered with wireless communication and caused confusion in such matters as those similar to the Titanic. But there were I believe reports of these "hams" listening to Titanic .
And how they had receivers to do so.

And it seems licensing and "ham radio" didn't really take off as far as both transmitting and receiving were concerned until after the end of WWI. All Amateur receivers and transmitters in the UK were forbidden and ordered to be turned in or dismantled until some time later after the end of the war.
I have heard that some countries still require permits or licences even for receiving equipment.
Yes it was problem. The navy complained of pranksters sending ships out on fake distress calls. Also purposefully jamming. But not just amatures listening. The navy operated a recieving station where they would log radio traffic and was recording the messages the night of Titanic. I wonder if those records still exist.
"While these messages were intercepted by more than one wireless receiving station, there is one place where the Senate Committee could undoubtedly get copies of them. The New York Navy Yard has a powerful receiving station, and has what is known as an "intercepted message" book. These messages are considered confidential and are never given out, but the book would undoubtedly be at the disposal of the investigating committee."
 

William Oakes

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A really great read about this period of time, Pre-Titanic, that involves the growing Trans-Atlantic shipping trade, Guglielmo Marconi, and Hawley Crippen, a murderer, and how their stories are all woven together is in Erik Larson's Thunderstruck.
A really well crafted book that is a highly enjoyable read.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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A really great read about this period of time, Pre-Titanic, that involves the growing Trans-Atlantic shipping trade, Guglielmo Marconi, and Hawley Crippen, a murderer, and how their stories are all woven together is in Erik Larson's Thunderstruck.
A really well crafted book that is a highly enjoyable read.
Hmmm. I may have to pick that one up. I liked his book Dead Wake a lot. Thanks.
 
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