Marconi School of Wireless

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The Marconi School of Wireless was the only educational facility offering training in radio and wireless telegraphy for many years.

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor who pioneered the development of long-distance radio transmission. He founded the Marconi Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897 and, only four years later, opened its first training school in Essex, England. The school would later be moved to Chelmsford and renamed Marconi College.

The goal of the school was to provide practical training in wireless to students with backgrounds in engineering. Because Marconi’s technology was so new, few engineers had any training in the field through formal academic settings. But demand for operators was high in the early days of radio. The school, which initially ran about six weeks, but would later expand into a multi-year correspondence course, taught operators how to use short- and long-range sets. They could obtain employment afterwards in commercial shipping, long-distance communications, police dispatching, and broadcasting. Many students would serve in the First World War as wireless operators on the battlefield.

Marconi’s company soon developed a network of schools to train its operators to serve across the oceans of the world. Schools in London, Liverpool, New York, Madrid, Sydney and other locations accredited radio operators in the practices of the field. “The Marconi School Diploma is recognized everywhere as the hall-mark of training, entitling its holder to the most favourable consideration by discerning employers,” explained a Marconi School handbook from 1937.

In Australia

School handbook from 1937 (pdf, 5.2 MB)