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Alan Blumlein

AKA Alan Dower Blumlein

Born: 29-Jun-1903
Birthplace: Hampstead, England
Died: 7-Jun-1942
Location of death: Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, England
Cause of death: Accident - Airplane
Remains: Cremated (ashes given to family)

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Engineer

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Stereophonic recording

Electrical engineer Alan Blumlein was attempting to improve cinema sound systems by having sound emanate from more than one speaker, when in 1931 he devised a system for embedding two separate sound channels into a single record groove. Calling it binaural sound -- now known as stereo -- he made several experimental recordings and films, but his employer, EMI, had little interest in stereo, and instead focused Blumlein's attention on television. With Isaac Shoenberg, he invented 405-line monochrome TV broadcasting, the first TV format widely used, which was the standard in the UK from 1936 to the mid-1960s. Earlier, while working at Columbia Graphophone, he invented a wax cutting machine for making better gramophone masters, and a moving coil microphone. He was testing an improved targeting system for bombing when he was killed in a plane wreck in 1942, about fifteen years before stereophonic recordings became popular.

Father: Semmy Joseph Blümlein (broker, b. 1863, d. 1914)
Mother: Jessie Dower Blümlein
Wife: Doreen Lane Blumlein (m. 22-Apr-1933, two children)
Son: Simon Blumlein (b. 1936)
Son: David Blumlein (school principal, b. 1938)

    High School: Sir Roger Cholmeley's School at Highgate, London, England (1919)
    University: BS Heavy Electrical Engineering, City & Guilds of London Institute (1921)

    Electrical and Musical Industries (EMI, 1929-42)
    Columbia Graphophone Company (1929)
    Standard Telephones & Cables (1925-29)
    Institution of Engineering and Technology
    German Ancestry (paternal)
    Scottish Ancestry (maternal)


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