The meaning and usage of the word "radio" has developed in parallel with developments within the field of communications and can be seen to have three distinct phases: electromagnetic waves and experimentation; wireless communication and technical development; and radio broadcasting and commercialization. Many individualsâ€"inventors, engineers, developers, businessmen - contributed to produce the modern idea of radio and thus the origins and 'invention' are multiple and controversial. Early radio designs could not transmit sound or speech and were called the "wireless telegraph."
Development from a laboratory demonstration to a commercial entity spanned several decades and required the efforts of many practitioners. In 1878, David E. Hughes noticed that sparks could be heard in a telephone receiver when experimenting with his carbon microphone. He developed this carbon-based detector further and eventually could detect signals over a few hundred yards. He demonstrated his discovery to the Royal Society in 1880, but was told it was merely induction, and therefore abandoned further research.
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