1873 ~ Lee DeForest, Inventor of the triode vacuum tube, possibly the most significant invention that made radio possible.
Lee DeForest was born in 1873 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We’re sure his parents had big plans for him; but they could never have realized how their son, Lee, would change the world.
DeForest seemed to be a born inventor. He held patents for hundreds of different items including the photoelectric cell and the surgical radio knife. But none had as much impact on the world as his invention of the electron tube, specifically the triode, a three element vacuum tube, which later became the audion tube ~~ possibly the most significant invention that made radio possible.
Wireless radio broadcasting was unthinkable in the early 1900s and DeForest was considered a fraud. He was arrested for selling stock to underwrite the development of his invention, which no one believed would work. He was forced into selling the rights to his patent to American Telephone and Telegraph for $500,000; considered by most to be foolish of AT&T. The rest is history.
Lee DeForest’s 1950 autobiography is called “Father of Radio”.
• 1970 ~ Jimi Hendrix opened his recording studio in New York City. Because of its state-of-the-art 36-track recording capability, it attracted many top rock groups.
• 2000 ~ George Edmund Sandell, a noted violin and viola player, teacher and inventor died at the age of 88.
Sandell studied in New York under the viola virtuoso William Primrose and on scholarship at the Royal Swedish Conservatory in Stockholm.
Sandell moved to Los Angeles in 1938, where he played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena and Santa Monica Symphonies.
Along with classical music, he performed pop, swing and Latin music, and played with the string sections of big band luminaries Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey and Xavier Cugat.
Sandell also played on some of Frank Sinatra’s recordings and worked for most of the big Hollywood studios on orchestral sound tracks, including the sound track for the movie Citizen Kane.
In 1947, he invented the Gee-Bee, a kitchen sponge with a plastic handle for washing dishes. He sold the company to DuPont in 1953.
• 2001 ~ Alix Williamson, the classical music publicist who suggested to Baroness Maria von Trapp that she write a book about her family’s experiences, died at the age of 85.
Williamson’s suggestion resulted in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music.”
She represented artists such as André Watts and Frederica von Stade and helped the New York Grand Opera get a citation in the Guinness Book of World Records for its performances of a complete cycle of Verdi’s operas in Central Park. Williamson also ghostwrote books.