Biography of Oliver Lodge

Photo of Oliver Lodge

Sir Oliver Lodge was a nineteenth century scientist and spiritualist. He was responsible for equipment for detecting radio waves and inventing the spark plug for the internal combustion engine.

When and Where was he Born?

12th June 1851, “The Views”, Penkhull, Staffordshire, England. (House lived in later by Stanley Matthews).

Family Background:

Oliver Lodge was the eldest son of Oliver Lodge and Grace Heath.


Newport Grammar School, Shropshire. University College London and the Royal College of Science, London.

Timeline of Sir Oliver Lodge:

1877: Lodge marries Mary Marshall, from Brampton House, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire on 22nd August.

1881: Lodge lives at 17 Parkhurst Road, Islington, London. He becomes Professor of Physics at the University of Liverpool.

1887: Oliver Lodge is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

1890: He completes his time as physics Professor at the University of Liverpool.

1893: Lodge discredits the ether theory prevalent among the Victorians which had said that a substance called ether must be necessary to carry waves such as sound or light. This thus paves the way for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

1894: He perfects a radio wave detector named “The Coherer” and becomes the first man to transmit a message by wireless signal at a meeting of the British Association at Oxford. He also invents the spark plug for the motor car.

1898: Lodge is awarded the Rumford Medal from the Royal Society.

1900: He is chosen as the first Principle of the new Birmingham University.

1902: Lodge receives a Knighthood.

1915: Death of his son Raymond. In later life, although he was a practising Christian he took a major interest in psychic phenomenon with his friend Arthur Conan Doyle. Much of this work proved controversial but he remained undaunted.

When and Where did he Die?

22nd August 1940, at home at Normanton House, Lake, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, England of natural causes.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1897: “Signalling across Space without Wires”.
1909: “The Ether of Space”
1916: “Raymond”.
1924: “Making of Man”.
1925: “Talks about Wireless”.
1931: “Past Years” (autobiography).
1933: “My Philosophy”.


22nd August 1877 to Mary Marshall, from Brampton House, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Site of Grave:

Close to the South East wall of St. Michael’s Church, Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire.

Places of Interest:


University of Birmingham.