Lee DE Forest.org


Lee de Forest was the first to write about and demonstrate how music could be send into homes using the wireless telephone, or the radio. He also invented support technology that allowed broadcasting for the public to happen. His Audion detector was used as a radio receiver, his Audion amplifier made small signals louder, and his oscillating Audion was used as a transmitter. He was interviewed for a 1907 magazine: “The ether waves, which receive the sound vibrations, may have passed over miles of city or wastes of sea, through the walls of hundreds of buildings or over the roofs of the tallest towers. Nothing will retard or obstruct them, and those who stand between are unaware of the silent voices or spirit music which may be passing them on every side. They are dumb to all save him who listens with the proper ‘responder’ correctly attuned to the electric waves. He alone hears the etheric ‘call of the wild,’ and when it speaks to him in the well-known accents of a distant friend, or when music of silent spirits, coming in from nowhere, sings to him the strains of some well loved earthly melody, his wonder grows, and he trembles at the weirdness of it all.” The poetry of radio. Later, he started several radio stations, in New York and San Francisco.


The Radio

Opera Stars on the Radio. Lee de Forest’s favorite music was opera, and beginning in 1907 he sent music from his laboratory to anyone with a radio.

Left, a de Forest transmitter like one used for WWJ Detroit, right the 1925 receivers

Lee de Forest, 1873-1961, was an inventor and scholar who made significant contributions to the science of electronic communications during the first three decades of the Twentieth Century. He held numerous patents on the technology of radio, television and film.

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Have a question about Lee de Forest? Email the creator of this site, Mike Adams | Contact Jim Reed at History San Jose about the de Forest papers