Glanville, Edward Edwin

Edward Edwin Glanville (1873-1898)

Physicist, wireless telegraphy pioneer

Edward Edwin Glanville was born in Blackrock, Co. Dublin in 1873. Edwin entered TCD in 1891 to study mathematics and experimental science and gained a first-class BA in 1895. He was awarded Scholarship also in 1895 and undertook some postgraduate work under Professor George Francis FitzGerald for which he successfully sat his examination in 1898.

In July 1897 Edwin joined what later became the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co.  After an initial period in London , Glanville was sent to Salisbury Plain for experiments to test the efficiency of various types of aerials.  In November Marconi hired George Kemp, on loan from the Post Office, and in January 1898 Glanville and he carried out transmission tests between Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight and Bournemouth . In June 1898 Lord Kelvin inspected the installation and insisted on paying a shilling to send a message to G.G. Stokes; this was the first paid telegram to be transmitted by wireless.

In July 1898 Marconi instructed Glanville and Kemp to set up a wireless telegraphy link between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle to monitor shipping for Lloyds. The first test signals were received in 6 July; on the same day Marconi ordered Glanville and Kemp to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire ) for the annual regatta. Over the two-day event more than 700 reports of the yacht races were transmitted to the shore; this was the first use of wireless telegraphy at a sporting event and demonstrated its potential for marine communication. Glanville and Kemp returned to Rathlin and Ballycastle, respectively, to resume their experiments. Sadly Glanville was killed on 21 August by a fall from the cliffs on Rathlin while pursuing his hobbies of geology and bird watching.

Reference: Michael Sexton. 2005. Marconi: The Irish Connection, Four Courts Press.

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