Skip to comments.From Celluloid to Cell Phone. (Hedy Lamarr, 1940s actress, designed a jam-proof torpedo system)
Posted on 04/21/2003 9:41:59 PM PDT by Diddley
She was considered one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen, but Hedy Lamarr never wanted to be known as just a pretty face.
. . . . .
She is credited for patenting a technology that is used every day. Hers is a story that is something right out of well Hollywood.
A Kept Woman Finds Freedom
Upon the insistence of her parents, Hedy wed a prominent Austrian munitions tycoon by the name of Fritz Mandl. Mandl took his teenage bride everywhere, including prominent business meetings with his biggest client, the Nazi Party. Despite their Jewish heritage, Mandl was a Nazi sympathizer. Lamarr, on the other hand, could not have loathed the regime more.
Still, Lamarr, on the arm of her husband, would attend Nazi business meetings. There she absorbed the knowledge that would later inspire her own ideas about technology.
Meanwhile, Lamarr was sensitive to the changes in her environment and felt there was no future for Jews in Europe. One night, while Fritz entertained clients, Hedy slipped her personal maid a sleeping pill and silently slipped out a window never to return.
. . . . .
Lamarr flourished in Hollywood. The raven-haired beauty starred in several films and became a fixture on the social scene.
Mother of Invention
It was at a party at Janet Gaynor's house, Lamarr met composer George Antheil. The two got to talking about the ongoing war and their own ideas about how to support the allied troops against Germany.
On April 11, 1942 Antheil and Lamarr, using her married name Hedwig Markey, submitted what they called their Secret Communications System to the U.S. Patent office.
The system was designed to keep radio-controlled torpedoes from being jammed and steered off course by the enemy. The idea employed a pattern of random frequencies set by a torpedo transmitter and picked up by a corresponding receiver. The device was impossible to jam because even if the enemy could intercept part of the message, they had no way of knowing what the next part would be.
Hedy utilized her personal knowledge of Nazi technologies while the composer Antheil used his expertise in player piano methods. In fact, the code used to program the torpedos was based on the same idea of paper rolls used in player pianos.
. . . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.