MAN OF HIGH FIDELITY by Lawrence Lessing


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The life of Howard Armstrong contains two-and only two-themes:- his inventive genius, his incessant litigation to protect patent rights. Armstrong's feed-back principle and superheterodyne were the Alpha and Omega of radio. Single-handed, he devised and founded FM. His contributions to radar remain military secrets. The moment Armstrong quitted his attic laboratory in Yonkers or ceased prowling the scientific halls of Columbia, he marched to court, and there fought- literally to the death- his incredible 14-year suit against deForest and his final marathon with RCA. For the rest, Armstrong had one wife, no children; one Hispano Suiza, costing $11,000, which he reserved immemorially in cold storage, as he clung sentimentally to all his possessions. He had a scattering of electronic associates- few friends, no noticeable attitudes or eccentricities, no favorite sports or vices. He was proud of what he had achieved, always ready to defend them against belittlers; he was insistently generous to those in need but concealed his name. In no sense was he a universal figure; his genius was confined within vacuum tube. This makes him difficult to dramatize, but this simple straightforward, biography points out something in him of dignity and tenacity which win respect. The telling is lacklustre, but competent.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1956
Publisher: Lippincott