June 1945 Radio-Craft
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
The June 1945 edition of Radio-Craft
published a death notice for diode electron tube ("valve" in British parlance) inventor
Sir Ambrose Fleming. The date given was April 19th, but every
source I can find says he died on April 18th. With having been born on November
29, 1849, that made the good fellow 95½ years old. According to a calculator
TimeAndDate.com website, that's a grand total of 34,900 days.
Who's going to argue over a potential 0.00287% error, especially from back in a
era when communications and fact checking was not as easy as it is today?
Sir Ambrose Fleming
Sir Ambrose Fleming inventor of radio's
first vacuum tube, the Fleming valve, died April 19 in Sidmouth, Devon, at the age
of 95. Fleming's fame in the radio world rests not only on his discovery of the
radio possibilities inherent in the "Edison effect" between a hot and cold electrode
in an evacuated space, but also on one of the earliest fundamental treatises on
radio, published early in the century. This book, which contained more than 1700
pages, was for a number of years the authority on the subject, and is now regarded
as one of the classics of radio literature.
The invention of the Fleming valve was the result of researches made while working
for Marconi (at which time he designed the wireless signal apparatus of the famous
station in Cornwall from which the first transatlantic message was transmitted in
1901). The object was to discover a more sensitive and stable detector than any
in use. The new "valve" while not more sensitive than the detectors commonly employed
at the time, was remarkably more stable and reliable. Its real significance was,
however, that it paved the way for our modern electron tubes, which came into existence
when Lee DeForest put a third element - the grid - into the two-element Fleming
Knighted for his contributions to radio-electronic science, he became Sir Ambrose
Fleming in 1929. He was the last survivor of the group of radio pioneers in England
which included Marconi, Clerk Maxwell and Sir Oliver Lodge.
Posted January 10, 2022
(updated from original post on 2/5/2015)