Hedy And Antheil

Diptych of composer George Antheil and actress Hedy Lamarr.
George Antheil and Hedy Lamarr. 1, 2

The famous Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr (1914 – 2000), known for her extraordinary beauty, and American avant-garde composer George Antheil (1900 – 1959), famous for the composition Ballet Mécanique, were awarded U.S. Patent # 2292387 A in 1942, “Secret Communication System,” commonly known now as spread-spectrum communication technology.

Shortly after meeting, Lamarr and Antheil discussed their mutual concerns for the allies during WWII with protecting radio-controlled torpedoes from interference. That conversation was the wellspring for the idea of frequency hopping.

Their joint invention used a mechanism similar to piano player rolls to synchronize the changes between the 88 frequencies—not coincidentally, this is also the standard number of piano keys—and called for a high-altitude observation plane to steer a radio-controlled torpedo from above. 3
YouTube Placeholder Image for NI8nOa9BvjY
History Channel Presentation: Hedy Lamarr. 4
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Page Sources

Stef joosen.  "George Antheil, 1922."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 July 2015.  Web.  2 Oct. 2015.  Public Domain.
Floor.  "Hedy Lamarr."  Photograph.  Flickr.  Flickr, a Yahoo Company, 18 July 2006.  Web.  2 Oct. 2015.  CC BY-SA 2.0.
This Month in Physics History: June 1941: Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil Submit Patent for Radio Frequency Hopping."  APS.  American Physical Society, 1995 – 2015.  Web.  3 Aug. 2015.
Loder, Thomas.  "History Channel Presentation: Hedy Lamarr 4 Minutes."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 7 Jan. 2012.  Web.  2 Oct. 2015.
Additional References:
  • Lienhard, John H.  "No. 435: Hedy Lamarr, Inventor."  UH.EDU.  The Engines of Our Ingenuity, 1988 – 1997.  Web.  3 Aug. 2015.
  • "Secret Communication System Patent # US 2292387 A."  Drawing.  Google Patents.  IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, n.d.  Web.  2 Oct. 2015.