Patent 7777

Patent No. 7777 for Tuned or Syntonic Telegraphy

Born in 1957, the year starting the first adventures into space, I have been drawn towards communications and flights into space. Witnessing Gagarin’s first trip, Armstrong’s first step and visions from the planets, I was entranced. I reflected on my dreams and realities and felt strong connections between the two.

In 1896 Marconi was granted the world’s first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy and, subsequently demonstrated wireless communication within the UK and between France and England. In 1900 Marconi took out Patent No. 7777 for “tuned or syntonic telegraphy” and in December 1901 used his system for transmitting the first wireless signals across the Atlantic, 2100 miles. This very feat proved that wireless waves were not affected by the curvature of the Earth. Although Marconi went on to patent many other inventions and opened the first transatlantic commercial service, Patent No 7777 proved that all on the planet earth could be in communication with each other.

Marconi addressed this defect with a patent application for a much more sophisticated “four-circuit” design, which featured two tuned-circuits at both the transmitting and receiving antennas. This was issued as British patent number 7,777 on 26 April 1900. However, this patent came after significant earlier work had been done on electrical tuning by Nikola Tesla. (As a defensive move, in 1911 the Marconi Company purchased the Lodge-Muirhead Syndicate, whose primary asset was Oliver Lodge’s 1897 tuning patent.) Thus, the “four-sevens” patent and its equivalents in other countries was the subject of numerous legal challenges, with rulings which varied by jurisdiction, from full validation of Marconi’s tuning patent to complete nullification.

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