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Edwin H. Armstrong

Edwin H. ArmstrongAKA Edwin Howard Armstrong

Born: 18-Dec-1890
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 31-Jan-1954
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Suicide [1]
Remains: Buried, Locust Grove Cemetery, Merrimac, MA

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Inventor of FM radio

Military service: US Army (Signal Corps, Paris Laboratory in WWI)

While a student at Columbia University, invented a feedback circuit using Lee De Forest's Audion tube. This circuit acted as an amplifier at levels unseen before, and also could act as an oscillator at its higher frequencies. The invention immediately revolutionized radio. A patent dispute arose, with the US Supreme Court granting De Forest the patent deserved by Armstrong, in error. During World War I for the US Army he invented the superheterodyne circuit, the fundamental part of most radio and television receivers. In 1933 he devised a new system of radio, frequency modulation. Technically superior, FM was the target of both regulatory shenanigans (such as RCA pressuring the FCC to invalidate the frequencies that Armstrong's broadcasts occurred on) and patent ligtigation, also brought on by an undeserving RCA.


[1] Suicide by defenestration.

Father: John Armstrong (publisher)
Mother: Emily Smith Armstrong (schoolteacher)
Wife: Marion MacInnis (m. 1-Dec-1923)

    High School: Yonkers High School, Yonkers, NY (1910)
    University: BS Electrical Engineering, Columbia University (1913)
    Professor: Columbia University

    Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
    Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame
    French Legion of Honor 1919
    IEEE Medal of Honor 1917
    IEEE Edison Medal 1942
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 1980

Appears on postage stamps:
USA, Scott #2056 (20 cents, issued 21-Sep-1983)


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