Edwin Howard Armstrong

Edwin Howard Armstrong

Electrical Engineer and Inventor
Born Dec 18, 1890

Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American electrical engineer and inventor. He has been called "the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history". He invented the regenerative circuit while he was an undergraduate and patented it in 1914, followed by the super-regenerative circuit in 1922, and the superheterodyne receiver in 1918. Armstrong was also the inventor of modern frequency modulation (FM) radio transmission.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Edwin Howard Armstrong.


1890 Birth Born in 1890.
1895 5 Years Old When the church moved north, the Smiths and Armstrongs followed, and in 1895 the Armstrong family moved from their brownstone row house at 347 West 29th Street to a similar house at 26 West 97th Street in the Upper West Side. … Read More


1909 19 Years Old In 1909 Armstrong enrolled at Columbia University in New York City, where he became a member of the Epsilon Chapter of the Theta Xi engineering fraternity, and studied under Professor Michael Pupin at the Hartley Laboratories, a separate research unit at Columbia. … Read More


1913 23 Years Old 1 More Event
Armstrong graduated from Columbia in 1913, earning an electrical engineering degree. … Read More
1914 24 Years Old On October 6, 1914, U.S. patent 1,113,149 was issued for his discovery.
1915 25 Years Old Although Lee de Forest initially discounted Armstrong's findings, beginning in 1915 de Forest filed a series of competing patent applications that largely copied Armstrong's claims, now stating that he had discovered regeneration first, based on August 6, 1912 notebook entry, while working for the Federal Telegraph company, prior to the January 31, 1913 date recognized for Armstrong. … Read More
1917 27 Years Old 1 More Event
In response to the second Supreme Court decision upholding de Forest as the inventor of regeneration, Armstrong attempted to return his 1917 IRE Medal of Honor, which had been awarded "in recognition of his work and publications dealing with the action of the oscillating and non-oscillating audion". … Read More
Legal proceedings related to the regeneration patent became separated into two groups of court cases. An initial court action was triggered in 1919, when Armstrong sued de Forest's company in district court, alleging infringement of patent 1,113,149. … Read More


1922 32 Years Old …  A year later, in 1922, Armstrong sold his super-regeneration patent to RCA for $200,000 plus 60,000 shares of corporation stock, which was later increased to 80,000 shares in payment for consulting services. … Read More
1928 38 Years Old In early 1928 Armstrong began researching the capabilities of frequency modulation. … Read More


1933 43 Years Old Working in secret in the basement laboratory of Columbia's Philosophy Hall, Armstrong slowly developed what eventually resulted in wide-band FM, in the process discovering significant advantages over the earlier "narrow-band" FM transmissions. He was granted five U.S. patents covering the basic features of new system on December 26, 1933. … Read More
1934 44 Years Old 1 More Event
Armstrong had a standing agreement to give RCA the right of first refusal to his patents. In 1934 he made a presentation of his new system to RCA president Sarnoff. … Read More
1936 46 Years Old 1 More Event
In June 1936, Armstrong gave a formal presentation of his new system at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. For comparison, he played a jazz record using a conventional AM radio, then switched to an FM transmission. … Read More


1940 50 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1940, RCA offered Armstrong $1,000,000 for a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use his FM patents, but he refused this offer, primarily because he felt this would be unfair to the other licensed companies, which had to pay 2% royalties on their sales. … Read More
1941 51 Years Old 1 More Event
…  He held 42 patents and received numerous awards, including the first Medal of Honor awarded by the Institute of Radio Engineers (now IEEE), the French Legion of Honor, the 1941 Franklin Medal and the 1942 Edison Medal. … Read More
1945 55 Years Old …  In late 1945, Armstrong contracted with John Orr Young, founding member of the public relations firm Young & Rubicam, to conduct a national campaign promoting FM broadcasting, especially by educational institutions. … Read More
1948 58 Years Old Outraged by this turn of events, in 1948 Armstrong filed suit against RCA and the National Broadcasting Company, accusing them of patent infringement and that they had "deliberately set out to oppose and impair the value" of his invention, for which he requested treble damages. … Read More


1954 64 Years Old Sometime during the night of January 31/February 1, 1954, with his wife in Connecticut and three servants having left for the day, Armstrong removed the air conditioner from a window in his twelve-room apartment on the thirteen-floor of River House in New York City, and jumped to his death. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Howard_Armstrong.
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