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June 06, 2008

Kentuckian, inventor of Wireless Telephony

I was exchanging emails with a new friend in Australia who is promoting Gold Systems' Password Reset product, and in the conversation I mentioned (as I often do) that I was originally from Kentucky.  I have a list of Kentucky facts to counter any hillbilly jokes, and I sent him a few.  Since he's from Australia I figured he might know about Daniel Boone or the Beverly Hillbillies but not much else.

One of the facts is this:

  • The radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.

As I hit send, I wondered, is this really true?  Well, according to Wikipedia, it is - sort of.

Nathan B. Stubblefield (November 22, 1860 - March 28, 1928) was an American inventor and Kentucky melon farmer. It has been claimed that Stubblefield invented the radio before either Nikola Tesla or Guglielmo Marconi, but his devices seem to have worked by audio frequency induction or, later, audio frequency earth conduction [1] (creating disturbances in the near-field region) rather than by radio frequency radiation for radio transmission telecommunications. Though there were contemporaneous experiments by others such as William Preece, Stubblefield has been proposed as a claimant for the invention of wireless telephony, or wireless transmission of the human voice.  -- From Wikipedia

So, I'm not the first kid from Kentucky to get involved with telephony.  I love the fact that he was described as an American inventor and melon farmer.

Now here is one of those coincidences that I love so much.  Another fact that I have in my list is:

  • The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.

I don't have a reference to that, so I did a quick search.  While it may be true that the first American public display was in Kentucky, in 1883, according to this website, the first publc display was in 1863, in . . . . Australia.

June 6, 2008 in Unified Communications | Permalink


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