Edwin Armstrong

One of the impossible round questions this week was “What did Edwin Armstrong invent in the 1930’s?” Although it was the only multiple choice question this week (sorry Milo), a lot of teams got wrong. This is interesting because Armstrong (above with his wife and his ghetto blaster) was one of the most remarkable inventors of the 20th century. But while everybody knows Marconi, Edison, and many known Farnsworth (partly b/c he had the awesome first name Philo), nobody seems to know Armstrong. Well, he invented FM radio, and as soon as he did, the powers that be (primarily RCA) set out to destroy him. It is a perfect example of how ingenuity can be halted by big money and power (see electric cars), and in the end an exasperated Armstrong committed suicide. But his wife continued the court battle for decades, and in the end finally won. I’m surprised nobody has made a movie about this. It’s pretty captivating stuff.
RELATED: I have no idea how radio waves work despite my Media Studies degree, but I still find this guy fascinating.

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