Titanic Disaster Changed Wireless Use on Ships

Two men employed by the Marconi Company worked in this small windowless room near the bridge. Their main job was to receive and send messages by radio waves using Morse code. Little did they know they would soon be tapping out one of the first SOS signals from a ship in distress. Photo: Wikimedia

Wicked Local Cape Cod: The Titanic’s radio had been down and there was a backlog of messages from the Cape – “See you soon,” “Pick you up in New York” – waiting to be delivered. While radio operators in nearby ships took off their headphones and went to bed late on April 14, 1912, a Marconi employee on one of those vessels, the Carpathia, sent a message to the “unsinkable ship” reminding them of the growing pile of correspondence.

“They replied, ‘We struck a berg, save us,’” said Barbara Dougan, educational coordinator at Cape Cod National Seashore. “It was a lucky fluke.”

The “Marconi man,” Harold Cottam, immediately told the captain and at 12:30 a.m. on April 15 the Carpathia, 60 miles away from the Titanic and farther away than other ships, raced to the scene of one of the most famous tragedies of all time.

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Video: Titanic remembered at Marconi station


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