Thursday, 18 December 2008

Lee De Forest, 1873-1961

American scientist,

Invents the Audion grid-triode vacuum tube in 1906 used as a detector of radio signals, an audio amplifier and an oscillator for transmitting.

De Forest is credited with the Birth of public radio broadcasting when on January 12, 1910, he conducted experimental broadcast of part of the live performance of Tosca and, the next day, a performance with the participation of the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Caruso, breaks hearts and glass with his voice, also haunting Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo.

I remember reading in that excellent book from Suzan J. Douglas that De Forest was a meloman but couldn't afford a seat at the opera. He was relentlessly placed behind a column. He then promised himself to use his telegraph apparatus to bring music in people's houses. By doing this, he changed the way wireless telecommunication was used, originally from point to point (eg warship to military base) to omnidirectional broadcast. Fairly good intentions there. Thank you sir!

Here is the book reference:
Suzan J. Douglas,
Inventing american broadcasting 1899 - 1922,
The John Hopkins University Press,
Paperback, Baltimore and London, 1987, 365p.
ISBN 0-8018-3832-0

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