A Patent Issued 72 Years Ago Today, Made Wireless Communications Possible

August 11, 1942 – Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil are issued a patent for their “Secret Communications System”.

George Antheil, an Avant-garde US composer, and neighbor of Hedy, used a technique to control several player pianos from a single player piano roll. The system used the player piano roll to randomly generate the transmission frequencies to control various devices; in this case, radio controlled torpedoes.

The invention was originally rejected by the Navy because it was thought the device was too bulky to be installed in torpedoes; however, an updated version of the device started showing up on Naval ships, three years after the patent expired, and was used during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Submitted by Val Asuncion, LSC Assistant Sales Manager