In early 1912, the telegraph was the new gadget, a novelty used by upper-class travelers to chat with their friends back home. The equivalent of today's smartphone with Facebook.
|Jerry Neal as Guglielmo Marconi|
I learned about the wireless aspect of the famous disaster last weekend during Jerry Neal's performance as Guglielmo Marconi. Neal is the co-founder of RF Micro Devices, Inc. (for cell phones and other applications) and owner of Linbrook Estate, where I saw his performance. Since childhood he's been fascinated with Marconi (1874-1939), who invented telegraph technology and sent the first transatlantic wireless signals in 1901.
As part of the deal between Marconi and White Star Line, he and his family had free passage on Titanic's maiden voyage. But Marconi decided to take earlier transport to America and his wife and children joined him later.
|Titanic artifacts at Linbrook Hall|
The operators weren't the only ones to stick to their posts in an attempt to save as many passengers as possible. Engineering crew members stayed to keep the lights on as long as possible. Boiler operators, firemen, and the famous band, all kept working.
With 1,523 casualties, Titanic remains the greatest peacetime disaster in maritime history. In honor of that, Neal's grandson Charles Neal composed a song, "Signals," for the occasion. He also played a solemn trumpet solo of "Nearer My God to Thee."
After the performance, Neal answered questions in character about Marconi.
Earlier in the evening I got to tour Linbrook Hall. I'll share more about that in Monday's post.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn lots of details about the Titanic, including the people onboard and recovery operations, I recommend the book Titanic: Destination Disaster, The Legends and the Reality.
Photos courtesy of Linbrook Heritage Estate.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to this event through my chamber of commerce membership, with no obligation to write about it.