The father of radio control is born, April 13, 1888

-April 13, 2017

John Hays Hammond Jr earned the title of father of radio control by developing the radio remote control capabilities now used for modern missile guidance systems.

Hammond was born in California, but spent part of his childhood in South Africa and England as his father worked as a mining engineer. He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor of science degree in 1910.  According to Wikipedia, his mentors included Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, and he was a friend of another radio pioneer, Nikola Tesla.

He worked at the US Patent Office to learn about the patent process and stay up to date on what innovations were happening, before founding the Hammond Radio Research Laboratory in Gloucester, MA, where he began pursuing his interest in radio waves.

By the beginning of World War I, he had developed radio remote control. In 1914, Hammond incorporated a gyroscope to his system to send an experimental yacht called Natalia on a 120-mile round trip from Gloucester to Boston. His work also extended to techniques to prevent jamming of remote control and a radio-controller torpedo for coastal defense.

Over his career, Hammond received 800 patents mostly in radio control and naval weaponry. Some of his patents include a system for radio control of moving bodies, a submarine sound transmitter, and a paravane torpedo.

In addition to his work in radio, he researched and developed a frequency modulation (FM) system, a secure telephone communication system, a unicontrol superheterodyne, a variable pitch propeller for ships, and a system for secure television transmission of classified data called "Telespot."

He also served on the Board of Directors of RCA and was president of the consulting firm Hammond Research Corporation, which was based out of his estate, now known as the Hammond Castle Museum.

Hammond's estate and laboratory are now a museum in Gloucester, MA.
: Hammond Castle Museum

Hammond won many awards for his pioneering work, including the Edward Longstreth Medal from The Franklin Institute in 1959, and the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1963. He died in 1965 at the age of 76.

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Editor's note: This article was originally posted on April 13, 2015 and edited on April 13, 2017.

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