SaveNetRadio is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate, we earn small fee,from qualifying sales. Learn more

History of Radio: Who Invented Radio & When?

History of Radio - When and Who Invented Radio

You turn on your car, and the radio plays your favorite song. The radio has become a part of everyone’s daily routine, whether listening to it in the morning before work or putting on some music while you clean. But when and who invented the radio?

The first technology for the radio has been discussed widely. Many historians will say that Guglielmo Marconi was the first to begin the development of the radio with his telegraph. Some argue that Nikola Tesla was the father of the radio.

There have been many who contributed to different types of radios, though. Marconi’s telegraph and Tesla’s coils were only the beginning of the radio’s journey into what it is used for today. 

When Was The Radio Invented?

The telegraph was the first version of the radio. This was the first time you could instantly send a message over a vast expanse via morse code—these ideas developed in the 1890s and continued to advance.

It wasn’t until 1896 that the patent for the technology of the telegraph was made in Britain, but the first message was sent in 1895. The telegraph then led the way to radios, phones, and then televisions. It helped advance the way society communicated with each other.

Who Invented The Radio?

Guglielmo Marconi invented the first technology for the radio. He created the first telegraph, which led ways to newer, more advanced forms of the radio. Sending morse code via instant message started the race for the development in communications.

But there has been the argument that Nikola Tesla was the first to truly invent the radio. With a stream of unfortunate events, Tesla’s experiments and the lab were destroyed in a fire in New York. A year later than Guglielmo’s telegraph patent, Tesla had a patent for using radio waves.

Nikola Tesla - Inventor of Radio

Who First Produced and Transmitted Radio Waves?

In the 1860s, German physicist James Clerk Maxwell observed that radio waves existed, which gave the foundation to understanding radio waves that inventors could use later on. This included Nikola Tesla, who began to develop coils that transmitted the first radio waves.

Nikola Tesla developed many key patents and instruments used later on for radios. Although Marconi was the first to communicate over vast distances without the time delay, Tesla’s work was also necessary to advance the radio.

The Battle For The Radio Patent

Marconi and Tesla both fought for the patent of the radio. Both applied for the patent around the same time when Tesla received the patent for the radio in America after completing his invention of transmitting radio waves through coils. 

Marconi received the patent for the telegraph and the radio in Britain in 1896, a year before Tesla. When he found out about Tesla’s patent, he used his father’s wealth to help him win the battle of who first provided the technology to communicate over distances. 

Tesla tried to fight against Marconi but eventually lost the battle. Later on, Marconi tried to sue the U.S. Government for giving Tesla the patents. The U.S. Government reinstated Tesla’s patents to avoid the lawsuit, thus giving the lawsuit no grounds.

Although Tesla has ownership of these patents and has given many contributions to the radio, people often see Marconi as the father of the radio. Not many know about the battle that took place between Tesla and Marconi. 

Unfortunately, Tesla did not get to see his parents return to him. He died a few years before the U.S. government reinstated his patents to avoid the lawsuit. 

How The Radio Advanced?

Eventually, Marconi sold his invention and research to Thomas Edison, and many inventors from other large companies spent years trying to develop wireless communication that could be used during World War I. 

Fessenden, a Canadian inventor with Thomas Edison’s company, could transmit voices and music consistently. This was developed even further to be used for military purposes and was eventually implemented in World War I.

In the 1920s, the development of the radio became cheaper for the general public. Companies began to search for cheaper ways to produce this invention and make it better. Stocks for these companies also boomed. 

Even during the Great Depression, radio technology continued to thrive as TV companies began to grow. The 1930s were considered the “Golden Age of the Radio” and thus the radio became an essential part of society.

How Radio Changed The World?

The radio was one of the largest leaps to long-distance communication. Before, people had to wait days, weeks, even months before hearing from family and friends. At this time, mail was delivered via horse or train, but the communication was delayed either way.

Information was important for governments, and by the time they got information on other countries, the information was old news. So having a way to communicate instantly gave real-world information immediately. The radio was a game-changer for the entire world.

Many people thought the radio wouldn’t succeed like it has today. Those against the radio thought that it was impractical and held no value. Many even said that the radio would disappear just as quickly as it appeared, but that was not the case.

The radio continued to thrive and be an invention that contributed to many other inventions and accomplishments. Those many inventions that were later created are as follows:

  • Radio (used in your car)
  • Telephones
  • Cell phones
  • Internet
  • Television

Without the invention of the radio, there would not be the advancements we have today. Communication wouldn’t be so easy, and you wouldn’t be able to video call your friend in a completely different country.


There is still an argument about who truly is the inventor of the radio today. Is it Tesla or Marconi? You could even say that many of the scientists before were contributors to the radio. Without their discoveries of radio waves or wavelengths, there would be no foundation for the radio. So who really is the father of the radio?


Give a Comment