The Italian inventor, wireless telegraphy pioneer and winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics was offered free passage on Titanic but had taken the Lusitania three days earlier. As his daughter Degna later explained, he had paperwork to do and preferred the public stenographer aboard that vessel.
Although Marconi was later grilled by a Senate committee over allegations that his company’s wireless operators had withheld news from the public in order to sell information to the New York Times, he emerged from the disaster as one of its heroes, his invention credited with saving more than 700 lives.
Three years later, Marconi would narrowly escape another famous maritime disaster. He was on board the Lusitania in April 1915 on the voyage immediately before it was sunk by a German U-boat in May.