Edwin Howard Armstrong (December 18, 1890 – February 1, 1954) was an American electrical engineer and inventor, best known for developing FM (frequency modulation) radio and the superheterodyne receiver system. He held 42 patents and received numerous awards, including the first Medal of Honor awarded by the Institute of Radio Engineers (now IEEE), the French Legion of Honor, the 1941 Franklin Medal and the 1942 Edison Medal. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and included in the International Telecommunication Union's roster of great inventors.
Edwin H. Armstrong
Sketch of Armstrong, c. 1954
|Born||December 18, 1890|
|Died||February 1, 1954 (aged 63)|
|Occupation||Electrical engineer, inventor|
|Known for||Radio engineering, including invention of FM radio|
(m. 1922; his death 1954)
|Awards||IEEE Medal of Honor (1917)|
IEEE Edison Medal (1942)
Armstrong was born in the Chelsea district of New York City, the oldest of John and Emily (Smith) Armstrong's three children. His father began working at a young age at the American branch of the Oxford University Press, which published bibles and standard classical works, eventually advancing to the position of vice president. His parents first met at the North Presbyterian Church, located at 31st Street and Ninth Avenue. His mother's family had strong ties to Chelsea, and an active role in church functions. When the church moved north, the Smiths and Armstrongs followed, and in 1895 the Armstrong family moved from their brownstone row house at 347 West 29th Street to a similar house at 26 West 97th Street in the Upper West Side. The family was comfortably middle class.
At the age of eight, Armstrong contracted Sydenham's chorea (then known as St. Vitus' Dance), an infrequent but serious neurological disorder precipitated by rheumatic fever. For the rest of his life, Armstrong was afflicted with a physical tic exacerbated by excitement or stress. Due to this illness, he withdrew from public school and was home-tutored for two years. To improve his health, the Armstrong family moved to a house overlooking the Hudson River, at 1032 Warburton Avenue in Yonkers. The Smith family subsequently moved next door. Armstrong's tic and the time missed from school led him to become socially withdrawn.
From an early age, Armstrong showed an interest in electrical and mechanical devices, particularly trains. He loved heights and constructed a makeshift backyard antenna tower that included a bosun's chair for hoisting himself up and down its length, to the concern of neighbors. Much of his early research was conducted in the attic of his parents’ house.
In 1909, Armstrong enrolled at Columbia University in New York City, where he became a member of the Epsilon Chapter of the Theta Xi engineering fraternity, and studied under Professor Michael Pupin at the Hartley Laboratories, a separate research unit at Columbia. Another of his instructors, Professor John H. Morecroft, later remembered Armstrong as being intensely focused on the topics that interested him, but somewhat indifferent to the rest of his studies. He was known for challenging conventional wisdom and being quick to question the opinions of both professors and peers. In one case, he recounted how he tricked an instructor he disliked into receiving a severe electrical shock. He also stressed the practical over the theoretical, stating that progress was more likely the product of experimentation and work based on physical reasoning than on mathematical calculation and formulae (known as part of "mathematical physics").
Armstrong graduated from Columbia in 1913, earning an electrical engineering degree.
In 1934, he filled the vacancy left by John H. Morecroft's death, receiving an appointment as a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia, a position he held the remainder of his life.
Following college graduation, he received a $600 one-year appointment as a laboratory assistant at Columbia, after which he nominally worked as a research assistant, for a salary of $1 a year, under Professor Pupin. Unlike most engineers, Armstrong never became a corporate employee. He set up a self-financed independent research and development laboratory at Columbia, and owned his patents outright.
Armstrong began working on his first major invention while still an undergraduate at Columbia. In late 1906, Lee de Forest had invented the three-element (triode) "grid Audion" vacuum-tube. How vacuum tubes worked was not understood at the time. De Forest's initial Audions did not have a high vacuum and developed a blue glow at modest plate voltages; De Forest improved the vacuum for Federal Telegraph. By 1912, how vacuum tubes worked was understood, and the advantages of high vacuum tubes were appreciated.
While growing up Armstrong had experimented with the early, temperamental, "gassy" Audions. Spurred by the later discoveries, he developed a keen interest in gaining a detailed scientific understanding of how vacuum-tubes worked. In conjunction with Professor Morecroft he used an oscillograph to conduct comprehensive studies. His breakthrough discovery was determining that employing positive feedback (also known as "regeneration") produced amplification hundreds of times greater than previously attained, with the amplified signals now strong enough so that receivers could use loudspeakers instead of headphones. Further investigation revealed that when the feedback was increased beyond a certain level a vacuum-tube would go into oscillation, thus could also be used as a continuous-wave radio transmitter.
Beginning in 1913 Armstrong prepared a series of comprehensive demonstrations and papers that carefully documented his research, and in late 1913 applied for patent protection covering the regenerative circuit. On October 6, 1914, U.S. patent 1,113,149 was issued for his discovery. Although Lee de Forest initially discounted Armstrong's findings, beginning in 1915 de Forest filed a series of competing patent applications that largely copied Armstrong's claims, now stating that he had discovered regeneration first, based on August 6, 1912 notebook entry, while working for the Federal Telegraph company, prior to the January 31, 1913 date recognized for Armstrong. The result was an interference hearing at the patent office to determine priority. De Forest was not the only other inventor involved – the four competing claimants included Armstrong, de Forest, General Electric's Langmuir, and Alexander Meissner, who was a German national, which led to his application being seized by the Office of Alien Property Custodian during World War I.
Following the end of World War I Armstrong enlisted representation by the law firm of Pennie, Davis, Martin and Edmonds. In order to finance his legal expenses he began issuing non-transferable licenses for use of the regenerative patents to a select group of small radio equipment firms, and by November 1920 seventeen companies had been licensed. These licensees paid 5% royalties on their sales which were restricted to only "amateurs and experimenters". Meanwhile, Armstrong reviewed his options for selling the commercial rights to his work. Although the obvious candidate was the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), on October 5, 1920 the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company took out an option for $335,000 for the commercial rights for both the regenerative and superheterodyne patents, with an additional $200,000 to be paid if Armstrong prevailed in the regenerative patent dispute. Westinghouse exercised this option on November 4, 1920.
Legal proceedings related to the regeneration patent became separated into two groups of court cases. An initial court action was triggered in 1919 when Armstrong sued de Forest's company in district court, alleging infringement of patent 1,113,149. This court ruled in Armstrong's favor on May 17, 1921. But a second line of court cases, the result of the patent office interference hearing, would have a different outcome. The interference board had also sided with Armstrong, but he was unwilling to settle with de Forest for less than what he considered full compensation. Thus pressured, de Forest decided to continue his legal defense, and appealed the interference board decision to the District of Columbia district court. On May 8, 1924, that court ruled that it was de Forest who should be considered regeneration's inventor. Armstrong (along with much of the engineering community) was shocked by this course of events, and his side appealed this unexpected decision. But although the legal proceeding twice went before the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1928 and 1934, he was unsuccessful in overturning the decision.
In response to the second Supreme Court decision upholding de Forest as the inventor of regeneration, Armstrong attempted to return his 1917 IRE Medal of Honor, which had been awarded "in recognition of his work and publications dealing with the action of the oscillating and non-oscillating audion". However, the organization's board refused to let him, and issued a statement that it "strongly affirms the original award".
The United States entered into World War I in April 1917, and later that year Armstrong was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and assigned to a laboratory in Paris, France to help develop radio communication for the Allied war effort. He returned to the United States in the fall of 1919, after being promoted to the rank of Major. (During both world wars, Armstrong gave the U.S. military free use of his patents.)
During this period Armstrong's most significant accomplishment was the development of a "supersonic heterodyne" – soon shortened to "superheterodyne" – radio receiver circuit. This circuit made radio receivers more sensitive and selective and is still extensively used today. The key feature of the superheterodyne approach is the mixing of the incoming radio signal with a locally generated, different frequency signal within a radio set. This circuit is typically referred to as the mixer. The end result is a fixed, unchanging intermediate frequency, or I.F. signal which is more easily amplified and detected by subsequent circuit stages that follow the mixer. In 1919, Armstrong filed an application for a U.S. patent of the superheterodyne circuit which was issued the next year. This patent was subsequently sold to Westinghouse. The patent would be challenged, however, triggering yet another patent office interference hearing. Armstrong ultimately lost this patent battle; although the outcome was less controversial than that involving the regeneration proceedings.
The challenger was Lucien Lévy of France who had also worked developing Allied radio communication during World War I. He had been awarded French patents in 1917 and 1918 that covered some of the same basic ideas used in Armstrong's superheterodyne receiver. AT&T, which was interested in radio development at this time, primarily for point-to-point extensions of its wired telephone exchanges, purchased the U.S. rights to Lévy's patent and contested Armstrong's grant. The subsequent court reviews continued until 1928, when the District of Columbia Court of Appeals disallowed all nine claims of Armstrong's patent, assigning priority for seven of the claims to Lévy, and one each to Ernst Alexanderson of General Electric and Burton W. Kendall of Bell Laboratories.
Although most early radio receivers used regeneration Armstrong approached RCA's David Sarnoff, whom he had known since giving a demonstration of his regeneration receiver in 1913, about the corporation offering superheterodynes as a superior offering to the general public. (The ongoing patent dispute was not a hindrance, because extensive cross-licensing agreements signed in 1920 and 1921 between RCA, Westinghouse and AT&T meant that Armstrong could freely use the Lévy patent.) Superheterodyne sets were initially thought to be prohibitively complicated and expensive as the initial designs required multiple tuning knobs and used nine vacuum-tubes. However, in conjunction with RCA engineers, Armstrong developed a simpler, less costly design. RCA introduced its superheterodyne Radiola sets in the U.S. market in early 1924, and they were an immediate success, dramatically increasing the corporation's profits. These sets were considered so valuable that RCA would not license the superheterodyne to other U.S. manufacturing companies until 1930.
The regeneration legal battle had one serendipitous outcome for Armstrong. While he was preparing apparatus to counteract a claim made by a patent attorney, he "accidentally ran into the phenomenon of super-regeneration", where, by rapidly "quenching" the vacuum-tube oscillations, he was able to achieve even greater levels of amplification. A year later, in 1922, Armstrong sold his super-regeneration patent to RCA for $200,000 plus 60,000 shares of corporation stock, which was later increased to 80,000 shares in payment for consulting services. This made Armstrong RCA's largest shareholder, and he noted that "The sale of that invention was to net me more than the sale of the regenerative circuit and the superheterodyne combined". RCA envisioned selling a line of super-regenerative receivers until superheterodyne sets could be perfected for general sales, but it turned out the circuit was not selective enough to make it practical for broadcast receivers.
"Static" interference – extraneous noises caused by sources such as thunderstorms and electrical equipment – bedeviled early radio communication using amplitude modulation (AM) and perplexed numerous inventors attempting to eliminate it. Many ideas for static elimination were investigated, with little success. In the mid-1920s, Armstrong began researching whether he could come up with a solution. He initially, and unsuccessfully, attempted to resolve the problem by modifying the characteristics of existing AM transmissions.
One approach considered as a potential solution had been the use of frequency modulation (FM) transmissions, where, in order to encode audio, instead of varying (technically known as "modulating") the amplitude (strength) of a radio signal, as was done for AM transmissions, the frequency was varied. However, in 1922 John Renshaw Carson of AT&T, inventor of Single-sideband modulation (SSB), had published a Proceedings of the IRE paper which included a detailed mathematical analysis which showed that FM transmissions did not provide any improvement over AM. Although the Carson bandwidth rule for FM is still important today, this review turned out to be incomplete, because it analyzed only what is now known as "narrow-band" FM.
In early 1928 Armstrong began researching the capabilities of frequency modulation. Although there were few others involved in FM research at this time, he did have knowledge of a project being conducted by RCA engineers, who were investigating whether FM shortwave transmissions were less susceptible to fading than AM. In 1931 these engineers constructed a successful FM shortwave link transmitting the Schmeling-Stribling fight broadcast from California to Hawaii, and noted at the time that the signals seemed to be less affected by static, but the project made little further progress.
Working in secret in the basement laboratory of Columbia's Philosophy Hall, Armstrong slowly developed what eventually resulted in wide-band FM, in the process discovering significant advantages over the earlier "narrow-band" FM transmissions. He was granted five U.S. patents covering the basic features of new system on December 26, 1933. Initially, the primary claim was that his FM system was effective at filtering out the noise produced in receivers by vacuum tubes.
Armstrong had a standing agreement to give RCA the right of first refusal to his patents. In 1934 he made a presentation of his new system to RCA president Sarnoff. Sarnoff was somewhat taken aback by its complexity, as he had hoped it would be possible to eliminate static merely by adding a simple device to existing receivers. From May 1934 until October 1935 Armstrong conducted field tests of his FM technology from an RCA laboratory located on the 85th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City. An antenna attached to the building's spire transmitted signals for distances up to 80 miles (130 km). These tests helped demonstrate FM's static-reduction and high-fidelity capabilities. However RCA, which was heavily invested in perfecting television broadcasting, chose not to invest in FM, and instructed Armstrong to remove his equipment.
Denied the marketing and financial clout that RCA would have brought, Armstrong decided to finance his own development and form ties with smaller members of the radio industry, including Zenith and General Electric, to promote his invention. Armstrong thought that FM had the potential to replace AM stations within 5 years, which he promoted as a boost for the radio manufacturing industry, then suffering from the effects of the Great Depression, since making existing AM radio transmitters and receivers obsolete would necessitate that stations buy replacement transmitters and listeners purchase FM-capable receivers. In 1936 he published a landmark paper in the Proceedings of the IRE that documented the superior capabilities of using wide-band FM. (This paper would be reprinted in the August 1984 issue of Proceedings of the IEEE.) A year later, a paper by Murray G. Crosby (inventor of Crosby system for FM Stereo) in the same journal provided further analysis of the wide-band FM characteristics, and introduced the concept of "threshold", demonstrating that there is a superior signal-to-noise ratio when the signal is stronger than a certain level.
In June 1936, Armstrong gave a formal presentation of his new system at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. For comparison, he played a jazz record using a conventional AM radio, then switched to an FM transmission. A United Press correspondent was present, and recounted in a wire service report that: "if the audience of 500 engineers had shut their eyes they would have believed the jazz band was in the same room. There were no extraneous sounds." Moreover, "Several engineers said after the demonstration that they consider Dr. Armstrong's invention one of the most important radio developments since the first earphone crystal sets were introduced." Armstrong was quoted as saying he could "visualize a time not far distant when the use of ultra-high frequency wave bands will play the leading role in all broadcasting", although the article noted that "A switchover to the ultra-high frequency system would mean the junking of present broadcasting equipment and present receivers in homes, eventually causing the expenditure of billions of dollars."
In the late 1930s, as technical advances made it possible to transmit on higher frequencies, the FCC investigated options for increasing the number of broadcasting stations, in addition to ideas for better audio quality, known as "high-fidelity". In 1937 it introduced what became known as the Apex band, consisting of 75 broadcasting frequencies from 41.02 to 43.98 MHz. As on the standard broadcast band these were AM stations, but with higher quality audio – in one example, a frequency response from 20 Hz to 17,000 Hz +/- 1 dB – because station separations were 40 kHz instead of the 10 kHz spacings used on the original AM band. Armstrong worked to convince the FCC that a band of FM broadcasting stations would be a superior approach. That year he financed the construction of the first FM radio station, W2XMN (later KE2XCC) at Alpine, New Jersey. FCC engineers had believed that transmissions using high frequencies would travel little farther than line-of-sight distances, limited by the horizon. However, when operating with 40 kilowatts on 42.8 MHz, the station could be clearly heard 100 miles (160 km) away, matching the daytime coverage of a full power 50-kilowatt AM station.
FCC studies comparing the Apex station transmissions with Armstrong's FM system concluded that his approach was superior. In early 1940, the FCC held hearings on whether to establish a commercial FM service. Following this review, the FCC announced the establishment of an FM band effective January 1, 1941, consisting of forty 200 kHz-wide channels on a band from 42-50 MHz, with the first five channels reserved for educational stations. Existing Apex stations were notified that they would not be allowed to operate after January 1, 1941 unless they converted to FM.
Although there was interest in the new FM band by station owners, construction restrictions that went into place during World War II limited the growth of the new service. Following the end of World War II, the FCC moved to standardize its frequency allocations. One area of concern was the effects of tropospheric and Sporadic E propagation, which at times reflected station signals over great distances, causing mutual interference. A particularly controversial proposal, spearheaded by RCA, was that the FM band needed to be shifted to higher frequencies in order to avoid this potential problem. This reassignment was fiercely opposed as unneeded by Armstrong, but in the end he lost. The FCC made its decision final on June 27, 1945. It allocated one hundred FM channels from 88–108 MHz, and assigned the former FM band to 'non government fixed and mobile' (42–44 MHz), and television channel 1 (44–50 MHz), curiously now sidestepping the interference concerns. A period of allowing existing FM stations to broadcast on both low and high bands ended at midnight on January 8, 1949, at which time any low band transmitters had to be shut down, officially making obsolete 395,000 receivers that had already been purchased by the public for the original band. Although converters allowing low band FM sets to receive high band were manufactured, they ultimately proved to be complicated to install, and often as (or more) expensive than buying a new high band set outright.
Armstrong felt the FM band reassignment had been inspired primarily by a desire to cause a disruption that would limit FM's ability to challenge the existing radio industry, including RCA's AM radio properties that included the NBC radio network, plus the other major networks including CBS, ABC and Mutual. The change was also thought to have been favored by AT&T, as the elimination of FM relaying stations would require radio stations to lease wired links from that company. Particularly galling was the FCC assignment of TV channel 1 to the 44-50 MHz segment of the old FM band. Channel 1 was later deleted, since periodic radio propagation would make local TV signals unviewable.
Although the FM band shift was an economic setback, there was still reason for optimism, and a book published in 1946 by Charles A. Siepmann heralded FM stations as "Radio's Second Chance". In late 1945, Armstrong contracted with John Orr Young, founding member of the public relations firm Young & Rubicam, to conduct a national campaign promoting FM broadcasting, especially by educational institutions. Article placements promoting both Armstrong personally and FM were made with general circulation publications including The Nation, Fortune, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post.
In 1940, RCA offered Armstrong $1,000,000 for a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use his FM patents. But he refused this offer, primarily because he felt this would be unfair to the other licensed companies, which had to pay 2% royalties on their sales. Over time this impasse with RCA would come to dominate Armstrong's life. RCA countered by conducting its own FM research, eventually developing what it claimed was a non-infringing FM system. The corporation also encouraged other companies to stop paying royalties to Armstrong. Outraged by this turn of events, in 1948 Armstrong filed suit against RCA and the National Broadcasting Company, accusing them of patent infringement and that they had "deliberately set out to oppose and impair the value" of his invention, for which he requested treble damages. Although he was confident that this suit would be successful and result in a major monetary award, the protracted legal maneuvering that followed eventually began to impair his finances, especially after his primary patents expired in late 1950.
During World War II, Armstrong turned his attention to investigations of continuous wave FM Doppler radar funded by government contracts. The relative slowness of FM radar, compared with the AM pulse radar then in use, was offset by an enormous increment in range that became increasingly important with the advent of aircraft capable of traveling at supersonic speeds. Although the War ended before this technology could be applied, it subsequently became the method of choice. The first clear test of its utility in extremely long-range target detection was carried out on January 10, 1946, when the Army Signal Corps' Project Diana successfully reflected radar waves off the moon using a transmitter and receiver designed by Armstrong.
Bitter and overtaxed by years of litigation and mounting financial problems, Armstrong lashed out at his wife one day with a fireplace poker, striking her on the arm. She left their apartment to stay with her sister, Marjorie Tuttle, in Granby, Connecticut.
Sometime during the night of January 31–February 1, 1954, with his wife in Connecticut and three servants having left for the day, Armstrong removed the air conditioner from a window in his twelve-room apartment on the thirteenth-floor of River House in Manhattan, New York City, and jumped to his death. His body—fully clothed, with a hat, overcoat and gloves—was found in the morning on a third-floor balcony by a River House employee. The New York Times described the contents of his two-page suicide note to his wife: "he was heartbroken at being unable to see her once again, and expressing deep regret at having hurt her, the dearest thing in his life." The note concluded, "God keep you and Lord have mercy on my Soul." David Sarnoff disclaimed any responsibility, telling Carl Dreher directly that "I did not kill Armstrong." After his death, a friend of Armstrong estimated that 90 percent of his time was spent on litigation against RCA. U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) reported that Armstrong had recently met with one of his investigators, and had been "mortally afraid" that secret radar discoveries by him and other scientists "were being fed to the Communists as fast as they could be developed". Armstrong was buried in Locust Grove Cemetery, Merrimac, Massachusetts.
Following her husband's death, Marion Armstrong took charge of pursuing his estate's legal cases. In late December 1954, it was announced that through arbitration an out-of-court settlement of "approximately $1,000,000" had been made with RCA. Dana Raymond of Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York served as counsel in that litigation. Marion Armstrong was able to formally establish Armstrong as the inventor of FM following protracted court proceedings over five of his basic FM patents, with a series of successful suits, which lasted until 1967, against other companies that were found guilty of infringement.
It wasn't until the 1960s that FM stations in the United States started to challenge the popularity of the AM band, helped by the development of FM stereo by General Electric. Armstrong's FM system was also used for communications between NASA and the Apollo program astronauts. (He is of no known relation to Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong.)
Armstrong has been called "the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history". The superheterodyne process is still extensively used by radio equipment. Eighty years after its invention, FM technology has started to be supplemented, and in some cases replaced, by more efficient digital technologies. The introduction of digital television eliminated the FM audio channel that had been used by analog television, HD Radio has added digital sub-channels to FM band stations, and, in Europe and Pacific Asia, Digital Audio Broadcasting bands have been created that will, in some cases, eliminate existing FM stations altogether. However, FM broadcasting is still used internationally, and remains the dominant system employed for audio broadcasting services.
In 1923, combining his love for high places with courtship rituals, Armstrong climbed the WJZ (now WABC) antenna located atop a twenty-story building in New York City, where he reportedly did a handstand, and when a witness asked him what motivated him to "do these damnfool things", Armstrong replied "I do it because the spirit moves me." Armstrong had arranged to have photographs taken, which he had delivered to David Sarnoff's secretary, Marion MacInnis. Armstrong and MacInnis married later that year. Armstrong bought a Hispano-Suiza motor car before the wedding, which he kept until his death, and which he drove to Palm Beach, Florida for their honeymoon. A publicity photograph was made of him presenting Marion with the world's first portable superheterodyne radio as a wedding gift.
He was an avid tennis player until an injury in 1940, and drank an Old Fashioned with dinner. Politically, he was described by one of his associates as "a revolutionist only in technology – in politics he was one of the most conservative of men."
In 1955, Marion Armstrong founded the Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation, and participated in its work until her death in 1979 at the age of 81. She was survived by two nephews and a niece.
Among Armstrong's living descendants are Steven McGrath, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, formerly energy advisor to Maine's Governor, and Adam Brecht, a media executive in New York City, whose paternal great-grandfather, John Frank MacInnis, was the brother of Marion Armstrong. Edwin Howard Armstrong's niece, Jeanne Hammond, who represented the family in the Ken Burns documentary "Empire of the Air", died on May 1, 2019 in Scarborough, Maine. Ms. Hammond worked in her uncle's radio laboratory at Columbia University for several years following her graduation from Wellesley College in 1943.
For his wartime work on radio, the French government gave him the Legion of Honor in 1919. He was awarded the 1941 Franklin Medal, and in 1942 received the AIEEs Edison Medal "for distinguished contributions to the art of electric communication, notably the regenerative circuit, the superheterodyne, and frequency modulation." The ITU added him to its roster of great inventors of electricity in 1955.
He later received two honorary doctorates, from Columbia in 1929, and Muhlenberg College in 1941.
In 1980, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 1983. The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame inducted him in 2000, "in recognition of his contributions and pioneering spirit that have laid the foundation for consumer electronics." Columbia University established the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professorship in the School of Engineering and Applied Science in his memory.
Philosophy Hall, the Columbia building where Armstrong developed FM, was declared a National Historic Landmark. Armstrong's boyhood home in Yonkers, New York was recognized by the National Historic Landmark program and the National Register of Historic Places, although this was withdrawn when the house was demolished.
Armstrong Hall at Columbia was named in his honor. The hall, located at the northeast corner of Broadway and 112th Street, was originally an apartment house but was converted to research space after being purchased by the university. It is currently home to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a research institute dedicated to atmospheric and climate science that is jointly operated by Columbia and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A storefront in a corner of the building houses Tom's Restaurant, a longtime neighborhood fixture that inspired Susanne Vega's song "Tom's Diner" and was used for establishing shots for the fictional "Monk's diner" in the "Seinfeld" television series.
A second Armstrong Hall, also named for the inventor, is located at the United States Army Communications and Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (CECOM-LCMC) Headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
E. H. Armstrong patents:
 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Database Search
Maj. Edwin H. Armstrong, whose inventions provided much of the basis for modern broadcasting, was found dead yesterday morning on a third-floor balcony of River House, 435 East Fifty-second Street. The 63-year-old electrical engineer had plunged from a window of his luxurious thirteenth-floor apartment, apparently late Sunday evening or during the night.
The appointment of Major Edwin Howard Armstrong as Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University yesterday by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the university.
His health began to suffer and his behavior grew erratic. On one occasion he came to believe that someone had poisoned his food and insisted on having his stomach pumped. On another, his wife fled the house as Armstrong lashed out with a fireplace poker.
After he penned the last sentence, "God keep you and the Lord have mercy on my soul," he put on his overcoat, hat and gloves and stepped out of a window thirteen stories above the ground.
the fm patent suit brought against RCA-NBC some years ago by the late Maj. Edwin H. Armstrong has been settled for approximately $1 million.
Esther Marion Armstrong, the wife of the late Maj. Edwin Howard Armstrong, a leading American inventor, died Wednesday at the Exeter (N.H.) Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 81 years old and lived in Rye Beach, N.H.
Alfred J. Gross (; February 22, 1918 – December 21, 2000), a.k.a. Irving J. Gross was a pioneer in mobile wireless communication. He created and patented many communications devices, specifically in relation to an early version of the walkie-talkie, Citizens' Band radio, the telephone pager and the cordless telephone.Armstrong award
There are several Armstrong awards, named after different people called Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong award for musical achievement in high school
Edwin Howard Armstrong award for excellence and originality in radio broadcastingAutodyne
The autodyne circuit was an improvement to radio signal amplification using the De Forest Audion vacuum tube amplifier. By allowing the tube to oscillate at a frequency slightly different from the desired signal, the sensitivity over other receivers was greatly improved. The autodyne circuit was invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong of Columbia University, New York, NY. He inserted a tuned circuit in the output circuit of the Audion vacuum tube amplifier. By adjusting the tuning of this tuned circuit, Armstrong was able to dramatically increase the gain of the Audion amplifier. Further increase in tuning resulted in the Audion amplifier reaching self-oscillation.
This oscillating receiver circuit meant that the then latest technology continuous wave (CW) transmissions could be demodulated. Previously only spark, interrupted continuous wave (ICW, signals which were produced by a motor chopping or turning the signal on and off at an audio rate), or modulated continuous wave (MCW), could produce intelligible output from a receiver.
When the autodyne oscillator was advanced to self-oscillation, continuous wave Morse code dots and dashes would be clearly heard from the headphones as short or long periods of sound of a particular tone, instead of an all but impossible to decode series of thumps. Spark and chopped CW (ICW) were amplitude modulated signals which didn't require an oscillating detector.
Such a regenerative circuit is capable of receiving weak signals, if carefully coupled to an antenna. Antenna coupling interacts with tuning, making optimum adjustments difficult.Edwin Howard Armstrong award
The Major Armstrong award, named after the inventor of FM radio, Edwin Howard Armstrong, is presented "to AM and FM stations for excellence and originality in radio broadcasting" by the Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation at Columbia University.The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society also has an award named after Edwin Armstrong, as does Radio Club of America.Esther Marion Armstrong
Esther Marion Armstrong was the widow of FM radio inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong. She is notable for continuing — and winning — her husband's patent lawsuits against some of America's largest electronics manufacturers after his suicide.
In 13 years of litigation, she was victorious in every battle over her husband's patents, winning financial settlements that restored her vast wealth.
In her final years she established awards and took other steps to honor her husband's accomplishments.
When Marion met Edwin Armstrong she was the secretary of David Sarnoff, then an executive at RCA.
Armstrong was then both an inventor and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. He had sold his patents for the autodyne (regenerative circuit) and superheterodyne receiver to Westinghouse, which then owned RCA, making him a millionaire, and owner of a large block of RCA stock.
Marion was described as "tall and strikingly handsome".
Armstrong built Marion what was described as "the world's first portable radio".
He bought her a Hispano-Suiza sports car as a wedding gift, when they wed in 1923.
By 1933, Edwin Armstrong had filed key patents for techniques he developed that were to eventually make FM Radio successful.
His professional relationship with Marion's former boss, Sarnoff, fractured when Sarnoff who was by then the President of RCA, concluded the development of FM Radio was not in the best interests of RCA, which operated an extensive network of commercial AM Radio stations. RCA and over a dozen other electronics firms including Motorola ended up filing competing patents for FM Radio.
These protracted patent fights brought Armstrong to the brink of financial ruin.
According to "They made America" Armstrong was oblivious to the toll his struggle was taking on Marion.
Marion spent months in a mental hospital after she threw herself into the East River.
Finally, on November 1, 1953, Edwin told Marion that he had used up almost all his financial resources.
In better times funds for their retirement was put in her name, and he asked her to release a portion of those funds, so he could continue the legal battles. She declined, and suggested he consider accepting a settlement. Enraged, Edwin picked up a fireplace poker, and swung at her. Marion left the apartment, and never saw him again.
After just under three months of separation, on January 31, 1954, Armstrong wrote Marion an apology and threw himself from his high-rise apartment.Marion inherited her husband's patents, and, by 1967, she was uniformly successful in lawsuits she had filed against patent violators, including Motorola, RCA and Zenith, which had been manufacturing and selling FM devices without compensating the estate of Marion's late husband, FM radio inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong. In her winning legal battles, Marion was advised by Dana Raymond of Cravath, Swaine & Moore of New York City.According to Jim Wesley's book Radio Memories, after she had begun to win the patent fights, she established awards to honor Armstrong's memory as a radio innovator.
Marion established the Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation.Marion died on (1979-08-08)August 8, 1979, in New Hampshire, where she had lived for many years on her private estate, known as Shadowlawn, located at 80 Sea Road in Rye Beach, New Hampshire.Among Marion Armstrong's living relatives are Steven McGrath of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, former energy advisor to Maine's Governor, and Adam Brecht, a New York City media executive, whose paternal great-grandfather, John Frank MacInnis, was the brother of Marion MacInnis Armstrong. Marion Armstrong's niece, Jeanne Hammond, who represented the family in the Ken Burns documentary, "Empire of the Air", died on May 1, 2019 in Scarborough, Maine. Ms. Hammond worked in the radio laboratory of her uncle, Edwin Howard Armstrong, on the campus of Columbia University, for several years after her graduation from Wellesley College in 1943.FM broadcast band
The FM broadcast band, used for FM broadcast radio by radio stations, differs between different parts of the world. In Europe, Australia and Africa ((defined as International Telecommunication Union (ITU) region 1)), it spans from 87.5 to 108 megahertz (MHz) - also known as VHF Band II - while in the Americas (ITU region 2) it ranges from 88 to 108 MHz. The FM broadcast band in Japan uses 76 to 95 MHz. The International Radio and Television Organisation (OIRT) band in Eastern Europe is from 65.8 to 74.0 MHz, although these countries now primarily use the 87.5 to 108 MHz band, as in the case of Russia. Some other countries have already discontinued the OIRT band and have changed to the 87.5 to 108 MHz band.
Frequency modulation radio originated in the United States during the 1930s; the system was developed by the American electrical engineer Edwin Howard Armstrong. However, FM broadcasting did not become widespread, even in North America, until the 1960s.
Frequency-modulated radio waves can be generated at any frequency. All the bands mentioned in this article are in the very high frequency (VHF) range, which extends from 30 to 300 MHz.IEEE Medal of Honor
The IEEE Medal of Honor is the highest recognition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It has been awarded since 1917, when its first recipient was Major Edwin H. Armstrong. It is given for an exceptional contribution or an extraordinary career in the IEEE fields of interest. The award consists of a gold medal, bronze replica, certificate and honorarium. The Medal of Honor may only be awarded to an individual.
The medal was created by the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) as the IRE Medal of Honor. It became the IEEE Medal of Honor when IRE merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) to form the IEEE in 1963. It was decided that IRE's Medal of Honor would be presented as IEEE's highest award, while the Edison Medal would become IEEE's principal medal.
Ten persons with an exceptional career in electrical engineering received both the IEEE Edison Medal and the IEEE Medal of Honor, namely Edwin Howard Armstrong, Ernst Alexanderson, Mihajlo Pupin, Arthur E. Kennelly, Vladimir K. Zworykin, John R. Pierce, Sidney Darlington, Nick Holonyak, Robert H. Dennard, Dave Forney, and Kees Schouhamer Immink.Lawrence Lessing
Lawrence P. Lessing is an American science writer.
A native of Buffalo, New York, he started his career as a newspaper man in Pittsburgh. There he was a correspondent for Time magazine. He was a long-time member of the board of editors of Fortune magazine, where he contributed articles on electronics, jet propulsion, automation, metallurgy.
From 1953 to 1955, he was an editor and contributor to Scientific American. Lessing won the 1965 AAAS-Westinghouse Science Journalism Award for his article in Fortune on the causes of earthquakes. Lessing is the author of three books, Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong (1956), Understanding Chemistry (1957), and DNA: at the core of life itself (1967). He was for some time on the editorial board of Fortune magazine and was a vigorous opponent of government interference with and distortion of scientific fact (see, for instance, his essay "In Defense of Science", and "Man of
High Fidelity").List of Légion d'honneur recipients by name (A)
The following is a list of some notable Légion d'honneur recipients by name. The Légion d'honneur is the highest order of France. A complete, chronological list of the members of the Legion of Honour nominated from the very first ceremony in 1803 to now does not exist. The number is estimated at one million including about 3,000 Grand Cross.
Nils Waltersen Aasen
Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon
Arnaud de Borchgrave
Alfred Agache (painter)
Akihito, Emperor of Japan
Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Jean Alesi French former Formula 1 driver and a racing driver
Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
Jean Francois Allard
Auguste Jean Ameil
Colonel (later Brigadier General) AT Anderson
Alexander E Anderson USS General A. E. Anderson (AP-111)
Constantine Andreou, sculptor & painter
Charles Paget, 6th Marquess of Anglesey
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten
Regina Annenberg Weingarten
David Annoussamy nominated in the year 2006 and received on the year 2007
Admiral Mohammad Anwar Mohammad Nor, Chief of Defence Force of Malaysia (2007)
Senedu Araya-Sellassie, Founder of Vision on Africa, VoA
Dombasle Arielle (1953–), French actress, singer, producer
Giorgio Armani, Italian fashion designer
Edwin Howard Armstrong
Henry "Hap" Arnold
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, photographer, journalist, reporter and environmentalist
Bahram Aryana (1906-1985), Grand Officier of the Légion d'Honneur, former Chief of Staff of the Shah's Armed Forces
Sir Frederick Ashton, founding choreographer of The Royal Ballet
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Charles AznavourLucien Lévy
Lucien Lévy (11 March 1892 – 24 May 1965) was a French radio engineer and radio receiver manufacturer.
He invented the superheterodyne method of amplifying radio signals, used in almost all AM radio receivers.
His patent claim was at first disallowed in the United States in favour of the American Edwin Howard Armstrong, but on appeal Lévy's claim as inventor was accepted in the US.Muriel Médard
Muriel Médard (born February 1, 1968) is an information theorist and electrical engineer. She is the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is known for her research in network coding.Outline of telecommunication
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to telecommunication:
Telecommunication – the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication. In modern times, this process almost always involves the use of electromagnetic waves by transmitters and receivers, but in earlier years it also involved the use of drums and visual signals such as smoke, fire, beacons, semaphore lines and other optical communications.Philosophy Hall
For Philosophy Hall at the University of Washington, now part of Savery Hall, see University of Washington Quad
Philosophy Hall is a building on the campus of Columbia University in New York City. It houses the English, Philosophy, and French departments, along with the university's writing center, part of its registrar's office, and the student lounge of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. It is one of the original buildings designed for the university's Morningside Heights campus by McKim, Mead, and White, built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and completed in 1910. Philosophy Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark as the site of the invention of FM radio by Edwin Armstrong in the early 1930s.
The space now occupied by the registrar formerly housed electrical engineering laboratories in which Michael I. Pupin and Edwin Howard Armstrong made several major technological breakthroughs. The building has been home to such notable faculty members as philosophers John Dewey, Frederick J. E. Woodbridge and Ernest Nagel, Guadeloupean novelist Maryse Condé, French literary scholar Michael Riffaterre, poet Kenneth Koch and English literary scholars Lionel Trilling, Edward Said, Carolyn Heilbrun, Quentin Anderson, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Mark Van Doren.
Philosophy Hall was not occupied by protesters during the 1968 protests. It served instead as a refuge for faculty and a site of contentious debates among them concerning student conduct.
The lawn in front of Philosophy Hall is the site of an original cast of The Thinker (Le Penseur), one of the most famous pieces by French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
The hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003.It is one of only a handful of buildings on the Columbia campus named for an academic discipline, and not an individual. The others include Mathematics, Journalism, and International Affairs.Robert Price (engineer)
Robert Price (7 July 1929 – 3 December 2008) was an American electrical engineer, known best for his research in spread spectrum and radar technology.
Price was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He majored in physics at Princeton University (1950) and then received his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1953). While working in the MIT Lincoln Laboratories, he was the co-creator of the Rake receiver, together with Paul Green. The Rake receiver has been described as "historically the most important adaptive receiver for fading multipath channels." They also supervised its deployment in a first-ever spread-spectrum system, the Lincoln F9C (1950).
Price and Green also attempted to bounce radar waves off the planet Venus (1958). With Gordon Pettengill, the two of them worked out a theory of range-Doppler mapping that was used on the Magellan probe mapping of Venus' surface 20 years later.
In 1965 he left the Lincoln Laboratory to join the Sperry Research Center in Sudbury, Massachusetts. He later worked at M/A-COM Government Systems and at Raytheon.Price was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1985). He was a Life Fellow of the IEEE.WA2XMN
WA2XMN is an experimental FM radio station which broadcasts sporadically from the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, New Jersey. The station commemorates the pioneering broadcasts of the world's first FM radio station, W2XMN, built by Edwin Howard Armstrong, which began experimental broadcasts from this tower in June 1938 followed by full power broadcasting beginning on July 18, 1939. Armstrong's station signed off as KE2XCC on March 4, 1954.WA2XMN broadcasts at 42.8 MHz, one of the frequencies used by Armstrong's station on the original 42-50 MHz FM broadcast band. Transmitting from near the top of the 425-foot tall Armstrong Tower, which sits on top of the 500-foot-tall Pallisades (for a total height of over 900 feet above mean sea level), WA2XMN has a listening range of roughly 60-100 miles. The building at the base of the tower still has the W2XMN call sign engraved above the entrance.The station signed on using a restored Phasitron transmitter built by Steve Hemphill, with technical assistance from WFDU 89.1, which has broadcast from the tower since its first sign on in 1971. The WA2XMN broadcasts have been simulcast on WFDU's FM signal and internet stream, allowing listeners who lack a VHF receiver that can tune to 42.8 MHz to listen to the broadcasts.WFDU
WFDU (89.1 MHz89.1 WFDU) is a non-commercial, college radio station licensed to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Founded in 1971, WFDU's studios are on campus, with its transmitter on the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, New Jersey. Following negotiations with New York University and the Federal Communications Commission, an agreement was reached for the two Universities to share the 89.1 frequency on the FM band. While WFDU and WNYU-FM share the frequency, each station maintains separate transmitter and studio facilities as well as discrete programming and personnel.
The station’s broadcast signal has up to a 60-mile radius of its transmitter, within the historic Armstrong Field Lab in Alpine. The AFL is the site of the world’s first FM station, W2XMN, built by the creator of FM technology, Major Edwin Howard Armstrong. And, with an increase in antenna height and a power rise to 3,000 watts, WFDU-FM has a potential to reach to 8.2 million people. In August 2015, WFDU launched two new HD channels: HD2, which is called "Jazz & What's More" for Jazz music, and HD3, which is called "Masterworks" for Classical music.WYDN
WYDN, virtual channel 48 (UHF digital channel 47), is a Daystar owned-and-operated television station serving Boston, Massachusetts, United States that is licensed to Lowell. The station is owned by the Educational Public TV Corporation, a subsidiary of Daystar sister company Word of God Fellowship, Inc. WYDN's studios are located on Sprague Street in Dedham, and its shares transmitter facilities with Concord, New Hampshire-licensed Ion Television owned-and-operated station WPXG-TV (channel 21) on Fort Mountain near Epsom, New Hampshire. On cable, WYDN is available on Comcast Xfinity digital channel 295 and on Verizon FiOS channel 25.West Peak (New Haven County, Connecticut)
Should not be confused with West Rock, another traprock summit in ConnecticutWest Peak, 1,024 feet (312 m), of the Hanging Hills, is the highest traprock peak in the state of Connecticut. The peak hangs above the city of Meriden 700 feet (213 m) below and is characterized by its vertical cliffs and sweeping views of southern Connecticut, Long Island Sound, and the Berkshires to the west. On a clear day, Mount Tom, in Massachusetts, can be seen 47 miles to the north.
The 51-mile Metacomet Trail crosses West Peak. Activities enjoyed on the peak include hiking, picnicking, and bird watching. West Peak is on an important raptor migration path.
Edwin Howard Armstrong, who invented FM radio and was a network radio pioneer, used West Peak as the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts, in 1939. His original 70-foot radio mast is still there. Currently, West Peak is home to seven FM broadcast stations, WNPR, WWYZ, WZMX, WDRC-FM, WKSS, WHCN, and WMRQ-FM. It is also known as West Peak State Park