In this review written in 1917, Donald McNicol recaps some of the most important individuals, events, and reviews related to early radio development, beginning with Guglielmo Marconi's work, for the period from 1896 through early 1904.

As the 1800s came to a close, the amazing possibility of communicating long distances without wires began to be explored. However, in many ways this new technology was almost as much of a mystery to the experimenters and scientists developing it as it was to the general public. Radio's debut decade would see a slow accumulation of knowledge and expertise, as various theories and innovations were tested and evaluated. And a century later, some of the ideas mentioned in these articles, such as personal communication, are still being worked out
The Electrical Experimenter, April, 1917, pages 893, 911:

The  Early  Days  of  Radio  in  America

By  DONALD  McNICOL,  Mem. I. R. E.
Assistant  Electrical  Engineer,  Postal  Telegraph-Cable Company
THE history of an art or a science, like that of individuals, is not of much general interest until the subject has attained permanent prominence. The historical development of a particular branch of science, such as radio telegraphy, in order to be complete and of instructive value should, if possible, be traced thru the personal connection therewith of all of its pioneers.
    So called official records alone are not sufficiently comprehensive. Many of the most illuminating essentials of historical narrative escape the observation of the official compiler and, in so far as radio is concerned, I believe it to be the duty of those acquainted with views and facts of its introduction to set these down for the inspection of the ultimate historian. To the extent this is done will be lessened the possibility that some item of value may be lost to the written records.

VERY few of our younger radio readers can recall the important events of the early days of radio in the United States most probably. We feel certain that you will be greatly interested in this timely contribution to radio history by Mr. Donald McNicol, who was actively interested in the early-day developments of Marconi, Lodge, Fessenden, de Forest, Stone, and other leading lights in this now distinct branch of applied science. Do you know when the first wireless text-book appeared in this country? When the first U. S. Navy instruction book was publisht? Who sold the first "coherer" sets for experimenters?--Then read Mr. McNicol's article.

    In February, 1896, Guglielmo Marconi journeyed from Italy to England for the purpose of showing the British telegraph authorities what he had developed in the way of operative wireless telegraph apparatus. His first British patent application was filed on June second of that year.
    Thru the cooperation of Mr. W. H. Preece, chief electrical engineer of the British Post-office Telegraphs, signals were sent in July, 1896, over a distance of one and three-fourths miles on Salisbury Plain.
    In March, 1897, a distance of four miles on Salisbury Plain was covered. On May thirteenth of that year communication was establisht between Lavernock Point and Brean Down, a distance of eight miles. During this latter demonstration Prof. Slaby of Germany, was present as a spectator.* [Adolphus Slaby's review of this demonstation, The New Telegraphy, appeared in the April, 1898 The Century Magazine.]
    In America, (1890-1896), many students of science were in touch with the discoveries made in Europe during this period; but it was not until 1897 that the utilitarian American mind sensed the commercial possibilities of the advances being made abroad.
    In its March, 1897, issue McClure's Magazine presented a long illustrated article entitled "Telegraphing Without Wires," by H. J. W. Dam, describing the experiments of Hertz, Dr. Chunder Bose, and the youthful Marconi.
    Telegraph Age, New York, in its issues of November 1 and November 15, 1897, reprinted a long article from the London Electrician, entitled "Marconi Telegraphy." This article consisted chiefly of the technical description which accompanied Marconi's British patent specification number 12,039 of 1896.
    In [its issue for June 19,] 1897, Scientific American published an instructive editorial [Wireless Telegraphy] dealing with the status of Wireless Telegraphy. The article discust Nikola Tesla's work, his claims and his prophecies, also the reports of Marconi's experiments with induction coils and coherers.
    The Journal of the Franklin Institute, in December, 1897, [Telegraphy Without Wires] covered practically the same ground.
    In the year 1898, Mr. William Maver, of New York, read a paper on wireless telegraphy at the annual convention of the Association of Telegraph Superintendents, at Wilmington, N.C. The information communicated was in the main a review of Dr. Marconi's early work.
    In the June, 1899, issue of McClure's Magazine there appeared a long illustrated article by Cleveland Moffett, entitled "Marconi's Wireless Telegraphy." In this article the cross channel tests were described in a popular, semi-technical manner.
    American technical magazines at first were somewhat slow in grasping the significance of the work being done in Europe; their references to the subject consisting mainly of brief reviews of articles appearing in foreign periodicals, with the result that American telegraphers of an experimental bent were supplied with but meager information, and that not of much practical value.
    In its February 16, 1899, issue Telegraph Age, New York, printed an elementary article by Willis H. Jones, which was the first really lucid description of the system served to American telegraphers.
    In July, 1899, the American Electrician published a complete semi-technical description [The Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy] of Prof. Jerome J. Green's demonstrations of wireless telegraphy at Notre Dame University, [South Bend, Indiana]. This article was hailed as a great find by amateurs, and in various parts of the country demonstration sets were made up, operated and exhibited.
    In September, 1899, during the International Yacht Races off New York harbor, the steamer Ponce was equipt with radio apparatus by Marconi, for the purpose of transmitting reports of the progress of the race. Two receiving stations were equipt; one on the Commercial Cable Company's cable ship Mackay Bennett, stationed near Sandy Hook, and connected with a land line station on shore by means of a regulation cable; the other at Navasink Highlands. This demonstration, altho not highly successful, immediately brought the subject to the fore in this country.
    In 1900, the erection of the first Marconi station at Cape Cod, Mass., was begun.
    In the fall of 1900, the author of this paper constructed the first amateur wireless set used in the twin cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. Later he exhibited the first sets shown in the cities of Butte, Mont., and Salt Lake City, Utah. In later years thriving radio clubs have grown up in these various centers.
    In 1900, Mr. Thomas E. Clark, of Detroit, Mich., began the manufacture of radio apparatus. Handsome catalogs were issued illustrating coherer and register sets. One of Mr. Clark's assistants was Mr. J. Z. Hayes, chief operator of the Postal Telegraph Company, Detroit.
    In March, 1901, the Marconi Company installed apparatus at five stations on as many islands of the Hawaiian group. For a long time these installations were of little value due to a scarcity of competent operatives.
    During this year the Canadian government installed two stations in the Strait of Belle Isle; [also constructed were] the New York Herald stations at Nantucket, Mass., and Nantucket light ship.
    The crowning radio event of the year was the reception by Dr. Marconi at St. Johns, Newfoundland, of the now famous letter "S," transmitted as a test signal from his English station; this was on December 11, 1901.
    The most important published article on radio during 1901 was that of Reginald A. Fessenden, [Wireless Telegraphy] which appeared in the Electrical World of June twenty-ninth. Prof. Fessenden was at that time connected with the United States weather bureau, and his communication described the work accomplished by him under the direction of Prof. Moore, beginning in January, 1900. The article contains an interesting exposition of Syntony as at that time understood.
    In its February 9, 1901 issue, Collier's Weekly contained a long illustrated article by Dr. Nikola Tesla, entitled "Talking With the Planets." The Scientific American of March ninth published a complete account [The Slaby System of Wireless Duplex Telegraphy] of the so-called Slaby-Arco system of wireless telegraphy, and the same magazine in its December twenty-eighth issue, gave further details and illustrations of Slaby-Arco equipment [The Slaby-Arco Portable Field Equipment for Wireless Telegraphy]. These articles were written by A. Frederick Collins.
    In 1902, the Canadian Marconi Company was formed, as well as the American Marconi Company.
    On January thirteenth, Dr. Marconi delivered a lecture to the members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers at New York, describing his system, and gave an account of the progress made up to that time.
    J. H. Bunnell & Company's catalog of 1902 lists a page of wireless goods. A relay, coherer, and tapper receiving outfit was listed at $25.00.
    On September first Prof. Fessenden's contract with the U. S. Government expired. He then established headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., and began a series of careful investigations which led to important results.
    In 1902, the United States Signal Corps established stations at Sandy Hook, N.J., and at Fort Wadsworth--twenty-two miles apart. The operators in charge were Messrs. L. E. Harper and C. J. Applegate. The instruments at first employed were manufactured under the direction of Dr. Lee de Forest, who had been developing new ideas during the two years previous. The detector consisted of two aluminum rods with a steel needle laid across them, and connected in series with a pair of head 'phones and a potentiometer controlled battery.
    During the year 1902, the output of radio literature increased in a very helpful degree. In its February, 1902, issue McClure's Magazine published a long article entitled "Marconi's Achievement; Telegraphing Across the Ocean Without Wires"[, by Ray Stannard Baker. In the magazine's April, 1902 issue, Henry Herbert McClure's "Messages to Mid-Ocean" reviewed Marconi's tests on the S.S. Philadelphia].
    The Scientific American [Supplement] of February fifteenth, contained an article written by A. F. Collins, entitled "How to Construct An Efficient Wireless Telegraph Apparatus at Small Cost." I think it is safe to say that the appearance of this article did more to introduce the art of amateur radio than anything else that had appeared.
    On April twelfth, the Western Electrician, of Chicago, published a communication from Dr. Lee de Forest with the heading: "An Interesting Sensitive Flame Experiment," which subsequently I could not help believing started the train of thought which culminated in the development of the marvelous AUDION.
    The Electrical World of April twelfth contained a long communication signed by Wilfrid Blaydes, [Mr. Marconi and His Critics], which shed considerable light upon the Marconi-Slaby controversy which was then raging in Europe.
    In 1902, copies of three books on wireless telegraphy reached this country from England; one written by Richard Kerr, one by George de Tunzelman and Sir Oliver Lodge's "Signaling Thru Space Without Wires."
    The first United States Government pamphlet on wireless appeared in 1903, entitled "Instructions For the Use of Wireless Telegraph Apparatus" by Lieutenant Hodgins, U.S.N. This booklet described only the Slaby-Arco coherer system. In fact none of these works described anything beyond the coherer.
    Dr. John Stone Stone took out seventy American radio patents between 1901 and 1904, and Harry Shoemaker forty patents between 1901 and 1905.
    In the year 1903 the International Wireless Telegraph Company was formed in America to exploit Dolbear's claims and to push litigation first begun in March, 1901, against Marconi. The claims were based on Dolbear's patent of October, 1886.
    In October, 1903, stations were established by the U. S. Signal Corps at Nome and St. Michael's, Alaska.
    The summer and fall numbers of Popular Science Monthly contained a long article by Prof. J. A. Fleming on "Hertzian Wave Telegraphy." This as one of the best authoritative accounts of Marconi's work up to that time.
    In 1903, the author wrote the first book length American treatise on the subject of wireless. The matter was published serially in the Western Electrician, Chicago.
    In 1903, the Marconi Company opened stations at Chicago, and at Milwaukee. The first International Radio Convention was held in Berlin, Germany, during this year. The report [The International Preliminary Conference to Formulate Regulations Governing Wireless Telegraphy] of Mr. John I. Watersbury, one of the American delegates to the convention, appeared in the North American Review of November, 1903.
    These brief memoranda may well be closed with the advent of the year 1904, as during that year Fessenden's electrolytic detector, de Forest's responder, Dunwoody's carborundum detector, and Marconi's magnetic detector, all made their appearances, furnishing the hungry amateur with a plethora of devices to displace the often blest filings coherer.
    The year 1904 clearly marks the beginning of RADIO'S climb to the plane of practicability. On February twentieth of that year the Western Union Telegraph Company's tariff periodical, The Journal of the Telegraph, for the first time announced the acceptance of messages for ships at sea [Marconi Wireless Telegraph to Incoming and Outgoing Steamships].
*Dealing only with the Art of wireless telegraphy we can reasonably omit reference to the work of Joseph Henry, in America; Hertz' work; the development of coherers; and Sir Oliver Lodge's famous lecture of 1894.