Communication Pioneers Biographical Dictionary


This listing, while by no means complete, provides a starting point for future de­vel­op­ment. The focus of this initial effort is individuals con­trib­uting to the art of audio en­gi­neer­ing. This page was provided by Ted Uzzle, editor of Sound & Video Contractor, an Intertec magazine. As a matter of policy, living persons are not listed in this biographical dictionary.

Ampére, André M. (1775-1836) French sci­en­tist, studied the duality of electricity and magnetism, Earth’s mag­net­ic field.

Armstrong, Edwin H. (1890-1954) American in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped FM broadcasting.

Backus, John (1911-1988) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Univ. Southern Calif. 1945-1980, studied nuclear physics, and acoustics of musical instruments.

Bartlett, George W. (1920-1991) American broadcast engineer, con­trib­uted to broadcast frequency allocation standardization.

Bauer, Benjamin (1913-1979) Russian/American in­ven­tor, worked at Shure Bros. 1937-1957, thereafter at CBS Labs, worked on stereo LP de­vel­op­ment and quadraphonic sound.

Bell, Alexander G. (1847-1922) Eminent Scottish-American sci­en­tist and in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped the tele­phone (1876), photophone (1880), and graphophone (1883).

Benade, Arthur H. (1925-1987) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Case Western Reserve University 1952-1987, studied acoustics of musical instruments.

Berliner, Emile (1851-1929) German/American in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped flat gramophone disk (1888), founded Victor Co., 1901.

Biot, Jean B. (1774-1862) French sci­en­tist, meas­ured speed of sound in solids, first sci­en­tist-astronaut (ascended in hot air balloon, 1804).

Blumlein, Alan D. (1903-1942) British industrial sci­en­tist and in­ven­tor, worked for Western Electric, Columbia, and EMI, made crucial contributions to the earliest work on stereophony, television, and radar.

Boltzmann, Ludwig (1844-1906) Austrian sci­en­tist, meas­ured thresh­old of audibility with Toepler (q.v.), 1870.

Boner, C. Paul (1900-1979) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with University of Texas at Austin 1919-1970, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al and musical acoustics and theory of feedback.

Burris-Meyer, Harold (1902-1985) American engineer, applied audio and acoustic technology to the live theater.

Burroughs, Lou (1903-1986) American in­ven­tor, worked at Electro-Voice 1927-1976, de­vel­oped microphones with new technology.

Capehart, Homer E. (1897-1979) American in­dus­tri­al­ist and states­man, began making deluxe phonograph players in 1927, served in U.S. Senate from Indiana 1945-1963.

Theodore W. Case ( ) American in­ven­tor, holder of 633 U.S. patents, de­vel­oped optical sound.

Chladni, Ernst F. F. (1756-1827) German sci­en­tist, studied vibration of plates, velocity of sound in various media, author of Die Akustik.

Corti, Alfonso (1822-1876) Italian physician and anato­mist, described interior of cochlea, 1851.

Cotugno, Domenico (1736-1822) Italian physiologist, dis­cov­ered the inner ear is filled with fluid.

Coulomb, Charles A. (1736-1806) French sci­en­tist, meas­ured mag­net­ic and friction forces.

Craft, Edward L. (1881-1929) American industrial sci­en­tist, at Western Electric and Bell Labs 1902-1929, demonstrated talking picture apparatus in 1922.

Crowhurst, Norman (1913-1991) British/American engineer and author, worked at Tannoy, wrote 2000 articles and 50 books.

Davis, Arthur C. (1908-1970) American in­ven­tor of mixing consoles and equalization devices.

Davis, Charles C. (1893-1966) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked for Bell System and Westrex, developing film drives and stereo disk cutters.

de Forest, Lee (1873-1961) American in­ven­tor, con­trib­uted to vacuum tube technology, optical sound, radio broadcasting.

Doppler, Christian J. (1803-1853) Austrian edu­cator and sci­en­tist, described frequency-shifting effect of relative motion between sound or light source and observer.

Edison, Thomas A. (1847-1931) Eminent American in­ven­tor and in­dus­tri­al­ist, de­vel­oped the phonograph (1877), incandescent light (1879), moving pictures (1889).

Eustachio, Bartolommeo (1520-1574) Italian physician and anato­mist, dis­cov­ered Eustacian tube.

Faraday, Michael (1791-1867) Eminent British sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to electromagnetism and induction.

Fechner, Gustav T. (1801-1887) German sci­en­tist and philosopher, studied mind/body problem, invented experimental psychophysics.

Fleming, John A. (1849-1934) British edu­cator and sci­en­tist, de­vel­oped first diode and triode vacuum tubes (1904).

Fletcher, Harvey (1884-1981) American acoustical sci­en­tist, eminent also in speech and hearing research. Worked for Western Electric, later Bell Labs, from 1916, participated in stereophonic transmission and recording experiments, built hearing aid for Edison.

Frayne, John G. (1894-1990) Irish/American engineer and in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped stereophonic 45° cutters, stereophonic sound-on-film for motion pictures, won three Academy awards, and en­gi­neer­ing society awards.

Foley, Jack ( ) American sound editor and sound effects artist, de­vel­oped technique of synchronized sound effects at Universal Pictures, 1950.

Fourier, Jean B. J., Baron (1768-1830) French math­e­ma­ti­cian, de­vel­oped analytic technique for complex periodic phenomena.

Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655) French cleric and philosopher, meas­ured speed of sound in air (1635).

Gauss, Karl F. (1777-1855) Eminent German sci­en­tist and math­e­ma­ti­cian, de­vel­oped prototype telegraph.

Goldmark, Peter (1906-1977) Hungarian/American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at CBS 1936-1971, con­trib­uted to LP recording and color television.

Gray, Elisha (1835-1901) American in­ven­tor, filed tele­phone patent same day as Bell (q.v.).

Helmholtz, Hermann L. von (1821-1894), eminent German sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to en­gi­neer­ing and musical acoustics, psycho­acoustics.

Henry, Joseph (1797-1878) Eminent American sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to telegraph, en­gi­neer­ing acoustics, electric induction.

Heyser, Richard C. (1931-1987) American sci­en­tist, worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory 1956-1987, con­trib­uted to communication and instrumentation, including time-delay spectrometry.

Hilliard, John K. (1901-1989) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at MGM, Altec Lansing, and LTV Research, con­trib­uted to film sound and electro­acoustics.

Hunt, Franklin L. (1883-?) American industrial sci­en­tist, Bureau of Standards 1917-1927, Victor Talking Machine Co. 1927-1929, Bell Labs 1929-1948.

Hunt, Frederick V. (1905-1972) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Harvard Univ. 1927-1972, advanced the study of en­gi­neer­ing acoustics.

Huszty, Dénes (1927-1979) Hungarian in­dus­tri­al­ist, reconstructed Hungarian electro­acoustics industry in 1950s.

Jordan, Vilhelm L. (1909-1982) Danish acoustical sci­en­tist, con­sult­ed on Sydney Opera House, many others.

Keller, Arthur C. (1901-1983) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked for Western Electric and Bell Labs 1917-1966, made single-groove stereo recordings in 1931.

Kellogg, Edward W. (1882-1960) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at GE 1917-1930, then RCA 1930-1947, de­vel­oped cone and voice-coil loudspeakers with Rice (q.v.), photographic processes needed for optical sound tracks.

Khokhlov, Rem V. (1926-1977) Eminent Soviet edu­cator and sci­en­tist, studied physical acoustics.

Kircher, Athanasius (1601-1680) Italian cleric and scholar, author ofPhonurgia, renaissance musical and acoustical lore.

Kirchhoff, Gustav R. (1824-1887) German sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to electrical circuit analysis, propagation of sound through fluids.

Klein, Elias (1888-1977) Polish-American sci­en­tist, studied under­water sound, shock and vibration.

Knowles, Hugh S. (1904-1988) American engineer and in­dus­tri­al­ist, founder of Industrial Research Products (1946) and Knowles Elec­tron­ics (1954), con­trib­uted to communication and hearing prostheses.

Knudsen, Vern O. (1893-1974) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Univ. Calif. Los Angeles 1922-1974, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al acoustics.

Lansing, James B. (1902-1949) American in­ven­tor and in­dus­tri­al­ist, founded Lansing Mfg. Co., 1927, joined Altec Lansing, 1941, founded JBL, 1946.

LeBel, C. J. (1906-1960) American in­ven­tor, produced basic patent on fluorescent lamp, con­trib­uted to mag­net­ic recording, founder and first president of Audio Engineering Society.

Licklider, J. C. R. (1915-1990) American psychologist, studied speech perception by humans and by computers.

Lindsay, Harold (1909-1982) American in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped earliest Ampex tape recorders.

Livadary, John P. (1897-1987) French/American engineer asso­ci­ated with sound department of Columbia Pictures 1928-1959, won seven awards from Academy of M.P.A.S.

M’lzel, Johann N. (1772-1838) German in­ven­tor, produced musical automata, invented the metronome, made an ear trumpet for Beethoven.

Marconi, Guglielmo (1874-1937) Italian in­ven­tor, developer of wire­less telegraphy.

Mason, Warren P. (1900-1986) American industrial sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Western Electric and Bell Labs 1921-1965, de­vel­oped tele­phone communication systems and con­trib­uted to materials science.

Maxfield, Joseph P. (1887-1977) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked for Western Electric, later Bell Labs 1914-1947, con­trib­uted to sound recording, playback, and reinforcement.

Maxwell, James C. (1831-1879) Eminent Scottish sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to concepts of electromag­net­ic waves and fields.

McProud, C. G. (1904-1986) American audio journalist, edited Audio Engineering (later Audio) 1947-1971.

Miller, Dayton C. (1866-1941) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, studied musical acoustics, meas­ured speed of light.

Moir, James (1909-1988) British industrial sci­en­tist, worked at British Thompson-Houston 1934-1958, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al design, loudspeakers.

Moore, Clarence (1905-1979) American in­dus­tri­al­ist, founded Crown International in 1949.

Morse, Philip M. (1903-1985) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, de­vel­oped operations research, early computing, vibration research.

Morse, Samuel F. B. (1791-1872) American artist and in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped telegraph in 1836.

Munson, Wilden A. (1902-1982) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at Bell Labs 1927-1962, studied aspects of subjective loudness.

Neumann, Georg (1898-1978) German in­ven­tor and in­dus­tri­al­ist, man­u­fac­tured microphones, disk cutters.

Newman, Edwin B. (1908-1989) American psychologist, studied psycho­acoustics.

Newman, Robert B. (1917-1983) American engineer, architect, and edu­cator, asso­ci­ated with MIT 1946-1983, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., 1949-1983, and Harvard Univ. 1955-1983.

Nimura, Tadamoto (1916-1982) Japanese edu­cator and sci­en­tist, studied loudspeakers, room acoustics, noise control.

Oersted, Hans C. (1777-1851) Danish edu­cator and sci­en­tist, dis­cov­ered accidentally that a current generates a mag­net­ic field.

Ohm, Georg S. (1787-1854) Eminent German edu­cator and sci­en­tist, dis­cov­ered relationship between current, electromotive force, and resistance, theorized ear works analogously to Fourier analysis.

Olson, Harry F. (1901-1982) Eminent American sci­en­tist, worked at RCA from 1928, de­vel­oped microphones and loudspeakers, published numerous books.

Parkin, Peter H. (1917-1984) British engineer, studied auditorium acoustics, elecroacoustic reverberation, archi­tec­tur­al models.

Poniatoff, Alexander M. (1892-1980) Russian/American in­dus­tri­al­ist, founded Ampex in 1944, championed mag­net­ic recorders for audio and video.

Poulsen, Valdemar (1869-1942) Danish in­ven­tor, patented mag­net­ic recording (1898), con­trib­uted to radio technology.

Pythagoras (582-500 BC) Greek philosopher, studied relationship of pitch and length of plucked string.

Rayleigh, John William Strutt, Baron (1842-1919) Eminent British edu­cator and sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to general physical acoustics, won Nobel Prize in 1905.

Reichart, Walter (1903-1985) German sci­en­tist, studied electro­acoustics and building acoustics, advocate of international standards.

Reissner, Ernst (1824-1873) German physiologist, dis­cov­ered the cochlea is divided longitudinally into multiple chambers.

Rettinger, Michael (1905-1985) German/American engineer, worked at RCA 1936-1965, wrote numerous reference books.

Ricker, Norman H. (1896-1980) American industrial sci­en­tist, in­tro­duced paper cones to Western Electric loudspeakers in 1921.

Sabine, Wallace C. (1868-1919) Eminent American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with Harvard University 1886-1919, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al acoustics, con­sult­ed on Symphony Hall, Boston (1900), many others.

Saveur, Joseph (1653-1716) French sci­en­tist, coined word “acoustics” (l’acoustique) (1701).

Schott, Gaspar (1608-1666) German cleric and scholar, collected renaissance acoustical and musical lore.

Schultz, Theodore J. (1922-1989) American sci­en­tist, worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. 1960-1982, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al and musical acoustics.

Sette, William J. (1906-1990) American engineer, studied archi­tec­tur­al acoustics at ERPI during the earliest days of motion picture sound, de­vel­oped reverberation equation.

Shearer, Douglas (1899-1971) Canadian-American engineer, asso­ci­ated with MGM studios 1925-1968, becoming sound supervisor and director of technical research, winning 13 Academy Awards.

Shore, John (1662-1752) English musician, trumpeter at court of George I, in­ven­tor of tuning fork.

Siemens, Ernst W. von (1816-1892) German industrial sci­en­tist and in­dus­tri­al­ist, founded Siemens & Halske, de­vel­oped electrical motors, telegraph, tele­phone.

Snow, William B. (1903-1968) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at Bell Labs 1923-1946, and as consultant.

Stanley, William (1858-1916) American in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped AC trans­form­er (1885).

Steinway, Heinrich E. (1797-1871) German-American in­ven­tor and in­dus­tri­al­ist, founded piano mfg. firm, 1853.

Stephens, Raymond W. B. (1902-1990) British sci­en­tist and edu­cator, con­trib­uted to physical acoustics.

Stevens, Stanley Smith (1906-1973) American psychologist, founder of Harvard’s Psycho-Acoustical Laboratory.

Stokowski, Leopold A. (1882-1977) British-American orchestra con­duc­tor, active in experiments in stereophony, concert hall acoustics.

Suri, R. L. (1910-1985) Indian engineer, designed audio systems and acoustics for hundreds of studios, founded Suri and Suri in New Delhi, 1968.

Tainter, Charles S. (1854-1940) American in­ven­tor, associate of Bell (q.v.).

Terman, Frederick E. (1900-1982) American edu­cator and sci­en­tist, asso­ci­ated with MIT, Stanford Univ. and Harvard Univ., advanced the study of electronic technology.

Tesla, Nikola (1857-1943) Yugoslav/American in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped AC power systems, motors, patented wire­less telegraphy.

Tinkham, Russell (1911-1976) American in­ven­tor and in­dus­tri­al­ist, con­trib­uted to archi­tec­tur­al acoustics, founded Magnecord and Vega.

Toepler, August (1836-1912) German sci­en­tist, meas­ured thresh­old of audibility with Boltzmann (q.v.), 1870.

Tonndorf, Juergen (1914-1989) German-American auditory sci­en­tist and otologist, con­trib­uted to understanding of cochlear mechanics and electro-physiology.

Tremaine, Howard M. (1901-1969) American engineer and technical writer, worked in motion picture sound and television, author of two editions of Audio Cyclopedia, other books.

Tyndall, John (1820-1893) Irish sci­en­tist, studied behavior of sound waves in air.

Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus (ca. 1st century BC) ancient Roman architect, described amphitheatre acoustics, made analogy between sound in air and surface waves on water.

Volkman, John E. (1905-1980) American industrial sci­en­tist, spent his career at RCA designing studios and auditoria, and sound reinforcement components.

Volta, Alessandro, Count (1745-1827) Italian edu­cator and sci­en­tist, studied electrostatics and electro-chemistry, invented Voltaic cell (1800).

Warner, Samuel L. (1888-1927) American in­dus­tri­al­ist, opened cinemas (1906), Warner Bros. (1919), championed talking pictures.

Watson, Waldron O. (1907-1986) American engineer, worked in film studio sound departments 1928-1971.

Weber, Ernst H. (1795-1878) German medical sci­en­tist, published formula relating sensation to degree of stimulus (1834).

Weber, J. Gottfried (1779-1839) German sci­en­tist and musical theorist, studied acoustics of wind instruments.

Webster, Arthur G. (1863-1923) American sci­en­tist, de­vel­oped concept of acoustic impedance and early theory of horns.

Wente, Edward C. (1889-1972) American industrial sci­en­tist, worked at Western Electric and Bell Labs 1914-1954, de­vel­oped microphones (1917), com­pres­sion driver loudspeakers (1924), won Academy of A.M.P.A.S. award (1933).

Wheatstone, Charles (1802-1875) British sci­en­tist and in­ven­tor, de­vel­oped concertina (1829), stereoscopy (1838), popularized Ohm’s law and accurate measurements of DC resistance.

Yerges, Lyle F. (1918-1985) American engineer, technical author and editor, specialized in acoustical performance of archi­tec­tur­al elements.

Zwicker, Eberhard (1924-1990) German sci­en­tist, con­trib­uted to electro­acoustics, psychoacoustical masking and perception of loudness.