Ernst F. W. Alexanderson
Born Jan 25 1878 - Died May 14 1975
Patent Number(s) 1,008,577
Inventor Ernst Alexanderson was the General Electric Company engineer whose high-frequency alternator gave America its start in the field of radio communication. In 1904, Alexanderson was assigned to build a high-frequency machine that would operate at high speeds and produce a continuous-wave commission.
Beforethe invention of his alternator, radio was an affair only of dots and dashes transmitted by inefficient crashing spark machines. After two years of experimentation, Alexanderson finally constructed a two-kilowatt, 100,000-cycle machine. It was installed in the Fessenden station at Brant Rock, Massachusetts, on Christmas Eve, 1906. It enabled that station to transmit a radio broadcast which included a voice and a violin solo.
During his 46-year career with G.E., Swedish-born Alexanderson became the company's most prolific inventor, receiving a total of 322 patents. He produced inventions in such fields as railway electrification, motors and power transmissions, telephone relays, and electric ship propulsion, in addition to his pioneer work in radio and television. Alexanderson's name also will be recorded in history for his pioneer efforts in television and the transmission of pictures. On June 5, 1924, he transmitted the first facsimile message across the Atlantic. In 1927 he staged the first home reception of television at his own home in Schenectady, New York, using high-frequency neon lamps and a perforated scanning disc. He gave the first public demonstration of television on January 13, 1928.