More than a century after the first wireless telegraph signal was sent from Europe to Signal Hill by Guglielmo Marconi, his daughter has a message to send back to Newfoundlanders.
“I wish to transmit my love to Newfoundland,” said 82-year-old Princess Elettra Marconi, speaking by cellphone from Bologna, Italy.
She was only seven years old when her father died, but his legacy has defined her life.
The princess has devoted herself to learning as much as she can about her father and his work.
“History — that’s something very important,” she said.
Much of what she knows about her father came to her through her mother’s stories.
Her mother said her father used to predict, in the 1920s, that one day everybody would have a box in their pocket they could use to communicate with people.
He didn’t invent it, but Marconi had the early idea of a cellular phone.
What he did invent, however, would become the foundation for modern communications.
Marconi’s work with radio waves led to his development of the first radar system, said the princess, and he would later develop the first mobile telephone.
At the time, the phone needed “a motorcoach” to transport it, she said, but it was able to make wireless telephone calls.
Her father also developed the parabolic antenna, a precursor to the satellite.
The wide-ranging effect of his work was made evident when the princess was approached by Neil Armstrong, one of the few men to walk on the moon.
“He said to me, ‘If it wasn’t for Marconi, I wouldn’t have gone to the moon,’” she said.
Amateur radio operators around the world will celebrate the work of Marconi today on his birthday, which has been declared International Marconi Day.
In this province, amateur radio operators, federal and provincial politicians and representatives from Parks Canada will gather at Signal Hill to send a commemorative message from here to Marconi’s hometown of Bologna.
Across the Atlantic, Marconi’s daughter will celebrate her father’s memory and is expected to take part in the events using Skype, an Internet-based video calling program.
The 25th anniversary of the Marconi Day celebrations at Signal Hill will begin today at 10:30 a.m.
At 10:48 a.m., amateur radio operators on Signal Hill are scheduled to make contact with wireless operators in Bologna.