Marconi Company
Overview
 
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

 in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company (sometimes presented as Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company). It was renamed Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company in 1900 and The Marconi Company in 1963.

As the defence division of GEC since 1968 it was renamed GEC-Marconi in 1987, Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 (MES) in 1998, which merged with British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 to form BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 in 1999.
Encyclopedia
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

 in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company (sometimes presented as Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company). It was renamed Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company in 1900 and The Marconi Company in 1963.

As the defence division of GEC since 1968 it was renamed GEC-Marconi in 1987, Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 (MES) in 1998, which merged with British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 to form BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 in 1999. The Marconi Company should not be confused with the Marconi Corporation
Telent plc
Telent Limited is a radio, telecommunication, and internet systems installation & services provision company. The company was formed in 2006 from the UK and German services businesses of Marconi Corporation which had not been acquired by Ericsson.- History :The company was formed in January 2006...

 which was created in 1999 by the renaming of The General Electric Company (GEC), minus the Marconi Electronic Systems business.

Early history

Marconi's "Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company" was formed on 20 July 1897 after the granting of a British patent for wireless in March of that year. The Company opened the world's first radio factory on Hall Street in Chelmsford
Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

 in 1898 and was responsible for some of the most important advances in radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. These include:

  • The Diode
    Diode
    In electronics, a diode is a type of two-terminal electronic component with a nonlinear current–voltage characteristic. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material connected to two electrical terminals...

     vacuum tube
    Vacuum tube
    In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

     in 1904 (Fleming
    John Ambrose Fleming
    Sir John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, the diode, then called the kenotron in 1904. He is also famous for the left hand rule...

    )
  • Transatlantic radio broadcasting
  • High Frequency
    High frequency
    High frequency radio frequencies are between 3 and 30 MHz. Also known as the decameter band or decameter wave as the wavelengths range from one to ten decameters . Frequencies immediately below HF are denoted Medium-frequency , and the next higher frequencies are known as Very high frequency...

     tuned
    Tuner (radio)
    A radio tuner is a subsystem that receives radio broadcasts and converts them into audio-frequency signals which can be fed into an amplifier driving a loudspeaker. FM tuner, AM tuner, Digital Audio Broadcasting DAB tuner, etc. are types of radio tuner dealing with transmissions using different...

     broadcasting
    Broadcasting
    Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

  • Formation of the British Broadcasting Company
    British Broadcasting Company
    The British Broadcasting Company Ltd was a British commercial company formed on 18 October 1922 by British and American electrical companies doing business in the United Kingdom and licensed by the British General Post Office...

     (later to become the independent BBC)
  • Formation of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America (assets acquired by RCA
    RCA
    RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

     in 1920)
  • Formation of Marconi Marine (1904)
  • Short wave beam
    Beam
    Beam may refer to:*Beam , a construction element*Beam , the most extreme width of a nautical vessel, or a point alongside the ship at the mid-point of its length*A narrow, propagating stream of particles or energy:...

     broadcasting
  • Radar
    Radar
    Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

  • Television
    Television
    Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

  • Avionics
    Avionics
    Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...




Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Training College was set up in 1901. Along with private entrepreneurs, Marconi company formed in 1924 the Unione Radiofonica Italiana (URI), which was granted by Mussolini's regime a monopoly of radio broadcasts in 1924. After the war, URI became the RAI
RAI
RAI — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane, is the Italian state owned public service broadcaster controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development. Rai is the biggest television company in Italy...

, which lives on to this day.

In 1939 the Marconi Research Laboratories at Great Baddow were founded and in 1941 there was a buy out of Marconi-Ekco
EKCO
EKCO from Eric Kirkham Cole Limited was a British electronics company producing radio and television sets from 1924.Expanding into plastic production for its own use, Ekco Plastics produced both radio cases and later domestic plastic products; the plastics company became Lin Pac Mouldings...

 Instruments to form Marconi Instruments.

Operations as English Electric subsidiary

English Electric
English Electric
English Electric was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers...

 acquired The Marconi Company in 1946 which complemented its other operations; heavy electrical engineering, aircraft and its railway traction business. In 1948 the company was reorganised into four divisions:

  • Communications
  • Broadcasting
  • Aeronautics
  • Radar



These had expanded to 13 manufacturing divisions by 1965 when a further reorganisation took place. The divisions were placed into three groups :
  • Telecommunications
  • Electronics
  • Components


At this time The Marconi Company had facilities at New Street Chelmsford, Baddow, Basildon, Billericay, and Writtle as well as in Wembley, Gateshead and Hackbridge. It also owned Marconi Instruments
Marconi Instruments
Marconi Instruments was a British company, one of the Marconi group of companies, formerly part of GEC. The company was based in St Albans, Colchester and Stevenage . Prior to the consolidation in Stevenage, its main site was at Longacres on the eastern outskirts of St Albans, where it was the...

, Sanders Electronics, Eddystone Radio and Marconi Italiana (based in Genoa, Italy). In 1967 Marconi took over Stratton and Company to form Eddystone Radio.

Expansion as GEC subsidiary

In 1967 or 1968 English Electric was subject to a takeover bid by the Plessey Company
Plessey
The Plessey Company plc was a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company. It originated in 1917, growing and diversifying into electronics. It expanded after the second world war by acquisition of companies and formed overseas companies...

 but chose instead to accept an offer from GEC. The computer section of GEC, English Electric Leo Marconi (EELM), merged with Elliott Automation and International Computers and Tabulators
International Computers and Tabulators
International Computers and Tabulators or ICT was formed in 1959 by a merger of the British Tabulating Machine Company and Powers-Samas. In 1963 it also added the business computer divisions of Ferranti...

 (ICT) to form Marconi Elliott Computer Systems Limited (later renamed GEC Computers Limited
GEC Computers
GEC Computers Limited was the computer manufacturing company under the GEC holding company.-History:Starting life as Elliott Automation, the data processing computer products were transferred to ICT/ICL and non-computing products to English Electric as part of a reorganisation of the parent company...

) and International Computers Limited (ICL). In 1968 Marconi Space and Defence Systems and Marconi Underwater Systems were formed.

The Marconi Company continued as the primary defence subsidiary of GEC, GEC-Marconi. Marconi was renamed GEC-Marconi in 1987. During the period 1968-1999 GEC-Marconi/MES underwent massive expansion.

Acquisitions which were folded into the company and partnerships established include:

  • Defence operations of Associated Electrical Industries
    Associated Electrical Industries
    Associated Electrical Industries was a British holding company formed in 1928 through the merger of the British Thomson-Houston Company and Metropolitan-Vickers electrical engineering companies...

     in 1968, AEI had been acquired in 1967.
  • Ferranti
    Ferranti
    Ferranti or Ferranti International plc was a UK electrical engineering and equipment firm that operated for over a century from 1885 until it went bankrupt in 1993. Known primarily for defence electronics, the Company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but ceased trading in 1993.The...

     defence businesses in 1990
  • Ferranti Dynamics in 1992
  • Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering in 1995
  • Alenia Marconi Systems
    Alenia Marconi Systems
    Alenia Marconi Systems was a major European integrated defence electronics company and an equal shares joint venture between BAE Systems and Finmeccanica until its dissolution on May 3, 2005....

     in 1998, a defence electronics company and an equal shares joint venture between GEC-Marconi and Finmeccanica
    Finmeccanica
    Finmeccanica S.p.A. is an Italian conglomerate. Finmeccanica is the second largest industrial group and the largest of the hi-tech industrial groups based in Italy. It works in the fields of defence, aerospace, security, automation, transport and energy...

    's Alenia Difesa.
  • Tracor
    Tracor
    Tracor was a major North American defense electronics contractor which was acquired by Marconi Electronic Systems , a subsidiary of General Electric Company plc, in 1998. Following the purchase of MES by British Aerospace in November 1999 to form BAE Systems, Tracor became BAE Systems Integrated...

     in 1998.



Other acquisitions include:
  • Divisions of Plessey
    Plessey
    The Plessey Company plc was a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company. It originated in 1917, growing and diversifying into electronics. It expanded after the second world war by acquisition of companies and formed overseas companies...

     in 1989 (others acquired by its partner in the deal, Siemens AG
    Siemens AG
    Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

    , to meet with regulatory approval).
    • Plessey Avionics
    • Plessey Naval Systems
    • Plessey Cryptography
    • Plessey Electronic Systems (75%)
    • Sippican
    • Leigh Instruments


In a major reorganisation of the company, GEC-Marconi was renamed Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 in 1996 and was separated from other non-defence assets.

Marconi name today

In 1999 GEC underwent a major transformation. Marconi Electronic Systems which included its wireless assets was demerged and sold to British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 which then formed BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

.

GEC, realigning itself as a primarily telecommunications company following the MES sale, retained the Marconi brand and renamed itself Marconi plc. BAE were granted limited rights to continue its use in existing partnerships, however by 2005 no BAE businesses use the Marconi name. Major spending and the dot-com collapse led to a major restructuring of that group, in a debt-for-equity swap
Equity swap
An equity swap is a financial derivative contract where a set of future cash flows are agreed to be exchanged between two counterparties at set dates in the future. The two cash flows are usually referred to as "legs" of the swap; one of these "legs" is usually pegged to a floating rate such as...

 shareholders were given 0.5% of the new company, Marconi Corporation plc.

In 1999 Reltec and Fore Systems were acquired at the height of the "dot-com" boom. With its subsequent collapse the Marconi Corporation got into financial difficulties.

In October 2005 the Marconi name and most of the assets were proposed to be bought by the Swedish firm Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

. The transaction was completed on January 23, 2006 effective as per January 1, 2006. The Marconi name will still be used as brand within Ericsson. At the time of the acquisition Ericsson announced that they would be rebranding Marconi assets Ericsson and retaining Marconi only as the name of the Italian research facility. However the company has since labeled its OMS line and its Long Haul Digital Radio system Marconi. The rest of the Marconi company was renamed as telent plc.

See also

  • Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom
  • Marconi Scientists
    Marconi Scientists
    The GEC-Marconi scientist deaths conspiracy theory states that between 1982 and 1990 twenty-five British-based GEC-Marconi scientists and engineers who worked on the Sting Ray torpedo project, and other US Strategic Defense Initiative related projects died under mysterious circumstances...

     - Article about the 25+ defence employees who have died in mysterious circumstances since the early 1980s.
  • Marconiphone
    Marconiphone
    Marconiphone was an English manufacturer of domestic receiving equipment, notably radio receivers and reel-to-reel tape machines.- History :After World War I, the Marconi Company began producing non-industrial receivers, principally for the amateur market, at the Soho premises of The Marconi...

     - the company's domestic receiver brand.
  • Imperial Wireless Chain
    Imperial Wireless Chain
    The Imperial Wireless Chain, also known as the Empire Wireless Chain, was a strategic international wireless telegraphy communications network, created to link the countries of the British Empire. Although the idea was conceived prior to World War I, Britain was the last of the world's Great Powers...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK