New York, April 15, 1912.
We’re aboard the 9th avenue elevated line, sitting next to Guglielmo Marconi. He’s just come to Manhattan via the RMS Lusitania. He’s here to pitch potential investors on an idea to expand the American Marconi’s Wireless base in the US.
So far he had overseen construction of stations in Egypt and in Arabia at the mouth of the Red Sea, with plans to add stations in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa’s West Coast. These stations were tied into the British Government and Marconi’s British Wing of his Wireless Telegraphy Company.
By adding stations in the United States on the east and west coasts, as well as in the Caribbean and Hawaii, the hope was that his American investors would be linked with the entire network of communication and of profits.
That presentation to investors was scheduled for tomorrow, but this evening, a knock on Marconi’s hotel room door from a New York Times reporter had interrupted his dinner and changed his plans.
As their train reached Fourteenth Street, the Slaughterhouse district air was thick and pungent.
Marconi had booked passage aboard the Titanic for its maiden voyage, but a change in plans forced him to cancel. He later wrote to his wife:
“I’ve witnessed the most harrowing scenes of frantic people coming here to me and to the offices of the company to implore and beg us to find out if there might not be some hope for their relations.”
Very little could be done.
The two men got out and finished their evening journey on foot, walking west towards the Hudson River. Soon Marconi began to see groups of distraught men and women.
As they arrived at Pier 54, the two men walked past a young lady sitting on the lap of an older woman, both of them crying as the older woman kissed the younger one’s forehead and stroked her hair. The times reporter noted that Marconi had begun to tear up himself.
They climbed aboard the RMS Carpathia and headed for the upper deck towards the Marconi Wireless room.
He sat with heavily bandaged feet, tapping away on his telegraph key. Bride recognized the boss he had yet to meet and stopped working. The two men shook hands. Bride, at the time only 22, began to tell Marconi the story of the tragedy that would forever alter the course of Guglielmo Marconi’s career.
The Music featured in this piece is Metamorphosis No. 2 arranged by David DePeters for vibraphone and harp and played by Ms. Elizabeth Hainen. This composition is featured on her latest album, Home: Works for Solo Harp. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora. You can find out more information about Ms. Hainen at elizabethhainen.com