postheadericon Hedy Lamarr was an inventor?

... and Now For Something Completely DifferentI recently saw something indicating that Hedy Lamarr was an inventor and I just had to check it out.  Well, I certainly learned a few things (actually a lot) about Ms. Lamarr that I didn’t know.  She was born in Austria 1914 and moved to Hollywood soon after 1932.  In 1933 she made a Czech film entitled “Ecstasy” which featured a nude scene by her – this scene was at least partly the cause of the major American film studios forbidding nudity in films from 1934 until the late 1960s.

Ms. Lamar and co-inventor George Anthell  (who was a composer) patented a “Secret Communication System” which was meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II.  Their solution involved changing the frequencies of radio waves in such a manner that they were undetectable to enemies.  The story goes (I was not able to verify this) that they created the invention while in a restaurant, writing on a napkin.  (Oh, all those lost napkins….)

This invention was so innovative that the patent is still currently being cited.  I did a quick search on  and found that her patent was cited in an AT&T  patent (US 7,558,389) entitled “Method and apparatus for preventing speech comprehension by interactive voice response system,” as well as a patent by Microsoft (US 7,379,447) entitled “Slotted seeded channel hopping for capacity improvement in wireless networks.”

Ms. Lamarr once said “Any girl can be glamorous.  All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”  Although she was indeed glamorous, she certainly wasn’t talking about herself when she said that.  Anyone who could come up with that invention could not be stupid.  For more information about Ms. Lamarr, please see her official site.

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