The year is 1942, WWII is raging in Europe, and the United States has joined with Allied Forces. In a desperate attempt to get the upper hand on the Axis Forces, the National Inventors Counsel asked Americans to contribute ideas for the defense of the United States and world.
Twenty eight years earlier a little girl was born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna. Once grown, she married Fritz Mandl, a wealthy munitions dealer who developed remote controlled weapons for the Nazi. Unhappy in the marriage, Hedwig fled to the United States where she was discovered by MGM in 1937 and given her surname by Louis B Mayer. Mayer named her after the studio’s silent-era star Barbara La Marr and Hedwig Kiesler became Hedy Lamarr.
Hedy Lamarr found stardom in such moves as Samson and Delilah, White Cargo and Tortilla Flat with super stars such as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Hedy starred in 30 films and was considered the most beautiful woman alive. But those accolades left her wanting more out of life. And in 1942 when she heard about the National Inventors Counsel asking Americans to help with invention ideas in the War effort Hedy’s wheels started turning.
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While attending a dinner party she sat and talked with composer George Andle. She knew that radio-controlled torpedoes were unreliable, and she also realized the enemy would have a harder time jamming signals if they were sent over different and changing frequencies. She talked with George and when leaving she wrote her number on his window in lipstick. Together the two designed a process called frequency hopping which allowed transmitters and receivers to change frequencies randomly. In 1942, believing they had something that would help the war effort, they got a patient. But the military did nothing with it other than basically throw the idea in a drawer. By the time science used their idea the patient had expired so neither of them ever benefited from their idea.
The system she and George invented is known today as spread spectrum technology communications. This technology is the bases for things we take for granted every day now, such as GPS, Satellite, Bluetooth, WiFi, and yes our cell phones.
Hedy loved science and practiced her favorite hobby of inventing every chance she got, in her trailer between scenes as well as staying up all night at home. One of her successes was streamlining Howard Hughes racing airplane. Lamarr said she didn’t have to work on ideas they just came naturally. She was once quoted as saying anyone can be glamorous all they have to do is stand around and look stupid.
It took 55 years before Hedy was recognized for her contribution to technology. But in 1997 she was given a Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which Hedy Lamarr replied, "It's about time."
Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage.
Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own.
Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.Connect with Debbie Lynne:
I love Hedy's story! It should be told in every school in the land! And I also love Avice and Philip's story. I still can't get over the plot twist!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Connie! You are such an encourager and blessing. :)Delete
Debbie, what a fascinating post! I can't imagine the frustration she must have had when the government didn't take advantage of their idea. Thanks for sharing this story about the brains behind the beauty.ReplyDelete
Thanks Marilyn. It is amazing that the government had this technology and didn't do anything with it. Imagine how much quicker the war could have ended and lives saved.ReplyDelete