Early radios acted as devices for naval ships to communicate with other ships and with land stations; the focus was on person-to-person communication.
However, the potential for broadcasting—sending messages to a large group of potential listeners—wasn’t realized until later in the development of the medium.
Marconi then duplicated Hertz’s experiments in his own home, successfully sending transmissions from one side of his attic to the other.
He saw the potential for the technology and approached the Italian government for support.
The technology needed to build a radio transmitter and receiver was relatively simple, and the knowledge to build such devices soon reached the public.
Amateur radio operators quickly crowded the airwaves, broadcasting messages to anyone within range and, by 1912, incurred government regulatory measures that required licenses and limited broadcast ranges for radio operation.
When the government showed no interest in his ideas, Marconi moved to England and took out a patent on his device.
Rather than inventing radio from scratch, however, Marconi essentially combined the ideas and experiments of other people to make them into a useful communications tool.
By the 1870s, telegraph technology had been used to develop the telephone, which could transmit an individual’s voice over the same cables used by its predecessor.
When Marconi popularized wireless technology, contemporaries initially viewed it as a way to allow the telegraph to function in places that could not be connected by cables.