LSSM is chasing this, was Re: General Data? Computer

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Fri Mar 18 15:46:40 CDT 2022

> On Mar 18, 2022, at 3:15 PM, W2HX <w2hx at> wrote:
>> For a number of years they had on display the world's oldest broadcast transmitter, an FM transmitter from 1919 invented in The Hague by Hanso Idzerda.  
> Interesting as that would have predated the invention of FM by Edwin Howard Armstrong in 1933 (or at least what we thought was the invention). But notably, vacuum tube technology that existed in 1919 might be hard-pressed to be up to the task. I look forward to doing some more research on this topic. Thanks!

FWIW, in an article I wrote about Idzerda's work I mentioned an analogy: Leif Eriksson's discovery of America, well before the journeys of Columbus.  The difference is that Eriksson's travels did not produce any historic followup while Columbus's travels did.  Similarly, Idzerda's work was a technological dead end; while a few additional transmitters were built from his design, it disappeared in the late 1920s, and the reactance modulator used by Armstrong was a better technology.

In the world of computers you can apply this analogy as well; the Analytical Engine, the ABC computer, and perhaps Zuse's computers would be examples of early work that didn't produce any real descendants.  Somewhat different but similar are all the various dead end technology bits, from core rope ROM to bubble memory to magnetic card memory, all things that had a brief and very limited existence but faded and left no progeny.


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