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Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton

William Preece received Guglielmo Marconi at the General Post Office in London in 1896. That moment marked the beginning of the Bolognese inventor's public career. In order for a young unknown Italian scientist to be taken seriously, the mediation of an authoritative figure was needed. Alan Campbell-Swinton was undoubtedly that person, taking it upon himself to write a letter of presentation for Marconi and addressing it to Preece.

Born in Kimmerghame (Scotland) in 1863, after his studies in Edinburgh and a year in France, Campbell-Swinton moved to Newcastle in 1882 for an engineering internship. Having ascertained his interests and sharpened his skills in the field of electricity, he decided to settle in London and start up his own Company.

In 1896 he was the first to experiment radiography for medical use. In 1903 he began to design a television prototype, utilizing the Braun tube. The following year he closed his Company and dedicated himself entirely to his research.

After a few years, in 1908, he announced on “Nature” that a new system of communication - “Distant Electric Vision” - was about to see the light. In 1911 he outlined in great detail an electronic scanning television system, specifying that a few ulterior technical acquisitions were needed for the realization.

As an engineer he worked for the W T. Henley Telegraph Works Company, the Charles Parsons’s Marine Steam Turbine Company, and the Crompton Parkinson, Ltd., of which he also became the director. He held numerous prestigious positions in the most important scientific and cultural institutions of the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, the advent of broadcasting had incentivized research and experimental transmissions also in the field of television, thanks especially to the electromechanical system devised in 1925 by another Scottish inventor, John Baird.

Two years after Campbell-Swinton's death (London, 1930), Tedham and McGee developed a purely electronic system based on his theories, which thereby found their confirmation 21 years after being formulated. A couple of years later, the BBC decided to officially adopt the electronic system Marconi-EMI. Guglielmo Marconi, through his Company, had thus ideally settled the debt of gratitude toward Campbell-Swinton.





























Francesco Paresceparesce francesco

Marconi was the right man in the right place at the right time. He was the right man because he had the ideal combination of personal characteristics for the job: persistence, daring, technical ability, charisma and flair for public relations.


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