|Lee de Forest and the Fatherhood of Radio|
by James A. Hijiya
This book is not so much an analysis of de Forest's contribution to technology as it is a chronicle of his spiritual quest. Lee de Forest was an important inventor, and this biography attempts to explain what moved him to become one. It tries to show how - in a universe from which deity had seemingly disappeared - de Forest's devotion to invention was part of his search for a new light. The book is not a study in the history of technology but in the history of the religion of technology.
In 1906, de Forest created the "Audion," the three-electrode vacuum tube, which became the foundation of the electronics industry for half a century. He was a pioneer in radio and talking pictures, and he worked on projects ranging from television to solar energy. Holder of more than three hundred patents, he was one of the most prolific inventors in American history.
But he was more than that. Lee de Forest had an immense curiosity that extended beyond science and engineering to politics, literature, and religion. His active and far-ranging mind became a register for many social and intellectual events during his long life: from Populism to McCarthyism, and from Darwinism to agnosticism. But while his interests were diverse, his vision was not. For him invention was not merely a vocation but a worldview. He represented a technological progressivism that advocated reform, but reform stemming less from social engineering than from real engineering. Although he favored certain improvements in law and education, he did not think that these would be the basis of social transformation. Instead, he believed that inventions - ranging from radios to war planes - would reform the human condition and that the future was more in the hands of inventors than statesmen. The millenium would be a technical innovation, with himself as one of its principal inventors.
As a young man, de Forest came to spurn conventional notions of an immortal soul; but he never ceased to seek ways to overcome death - not merely the physical death of the body but also the spiritual death of living without purpose. The fame of his inventions would, he hoped, keep him forever alive in the memory of posterity. Moreover, the good that his inventions did for humanity - his contribution to progress - would give meaning to his existence. For Lee de Forest, then, invention was a substitute for religion. By helping to build the future, he sought to become an indelible part of it.
|Lee de Forest, Electronics Boy|
by Lavinia G. Dobler
A volume in the "Childhood of Famous Americans" series, this books chronicles the life of inventor Lee de Forest as a young boy.
|Father of Radio, the Autobiography of Lee de Forest|
Dr. Lee de Forest
FATHHER of RADIO is the intimate life story of one of our most interesting and versatile geniuses. Few inventors have had greater effect upon the life and culture of our times. From just one of his many inventions —the electron tube—have come such twentieth-century marvels as the modern radio and phonograph, the long-distance telephone, the talking picture, television, radar, the cyclotron, the guided missile—and a host of others. Even atomic bombs would be impossible without it.
Dr. Lee de Forest has been more than an inventor. For a man of science he writes with remarkable literary skill, as readers of this book will quickly discover. He has been a lifelong student of the classics and an ardent lover of music. His amazing contributions to radio were inspired by the desire to make fine music as available to the public as the air itself.
In his autobiography lie reveals in vivid derail the story of his childhood and youth; his early struggles and achievements in wireless telegraphy; his rivalry with Marconi; his invention and development of the basic instruments of radiobroadcasting; his loves and sorrows; his fierce legal battles with American Marconi Co., Westinghouse, RCA, General Electric, and other corporations to maintain the validity of his many radio patents; his remarkable exploits as a mountain climber; and his relations with Marconi, Fleming, Caruso, Pupin, Edison, Langmuir, Armstrong, and other great men of the day.
His story is in no small degree a history of our times. Readers whose memory goes back to the early years of the century will recall the frequency with which the name of Lee de Forest made the headlines—for the first transmission of wireless overland, for the first rad iobroad cast, the first broadcast of Grand Opera, the first broadcast from an airplane in flight, the first theatrical presentation of sound-on-film motion pictures—and for the many honors publicly awarded to him for outstanding accomplishments.
|A Conqueror of Space: An Authorized Biography of the Life and Work of Lee de Forest|
by Georgette Carneal
Printed in 1930, this is the first biography of Lee de Forest.
|Empire of the Air|
by Tom Lewis
The absorbing, astounding, true story of the invention of radio broadcasting in the early 20th Century, and a long-overdue tribute to the lman who actually devised practical AM receivers and the entire FM System: Edwin Howard Armstrong. His genius gave us all a wonderful new world, but his patents were stolen by corporate greed. The story centers around three figures central to the period: Armstrong, Lee DeForest (who claimed to have invented a lot of things), and David Sarnoff (who founded R.C.A.).