The 100th anniversary of Marconi’s invention of the radio is being marked by a BT issue of six phonecards, plus a limited edition seventh card and a collectors pack. All are designed by Loewy International.

In what is possibly BT’s last issue of commemorative phonecards before the telecommunications giant begins using so-called ‘smart cards’, Marconi’s revolutionary discovery is explored through examples of historical events where radio has played a crucial role. Noel Edmonds does not figure.

Before starting work on the design, Loewy International’s team visited GEC Marconi Research in Essex to sift through its extensive archives.

GEC Marconi’s chief archivist Gordon Bussey helped enormously, says Loewy, providing examples and images for the designs to be drawn from.

Some of the archive material – such as the handwritten emergency radio message from the stricken Titanic – was not sufficiently legible to be used directly. Loewy enhanced some of the original images and combined them with new artwork.

Marconi’s signature was added. Contemporary colours were used for each event depicted, and the reverse of each card carries the story behind the drama. The cards will be available from next week.

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