Chain from Marconi’s Poldhu transmitter mast

Local Industry

Chain from Marconi’s Poldhu transmitter mast

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These five heavy chain links, each about 8 inches long, played a vital part in the first successful transatlantic radio signal. It was sent by Giulielmo Marconi on December 12th 1901 from Poldhu Wireless Station to a receiving station in Newfoundland, Canada. The links formed part of one of the chains which secured the transmission masts to their concrete bases. Consisting only of three Morse code dots for the letter ‘S’, the transmission itself might seem insignificant today, but this groundbreaking event was the forerunner of all today’s telecommunications. It paved the way for mobile phones, satellite communications, broadband, the internet and the world wide web. Marconi had come to Cornwall in late 1900 and selected the clifftop site at Mullion for his new high power transmitter and he later used the site for his shortwave experiments before it closed in 1933. It is now owned by the National Trust.