Lee de Forest

Lee de Forest

Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, USA
Death 30 Jun 1961 (aged 87)
Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Mission Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section C, Lot 416, Grave 2
Memorial ID 271 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Inventor. He was born in Iowa but raised in Alabama where his father was President of Talladega College (an African-American school). His family faced difficulty there as some white residents resented his father educating African-Americans. He went to college at Yale where he gained a reputation as an ingenuous inventor. In fact, he paid for some of his tuition by marketing some of his inventions. He was suspended when he tapped into the school’s electrical system while working on an invention and caused a campus wide blackout. However, he was allowed to complete his schooling and eventually earned a PhD. The focus of his interests was wireless telegraphy. In 1906, his experiments led to the invention of the Audion tube. This vacuum tube was a device that allowed a voice to be amplified. A year later he filed a patent for an improved tube, called a triode or the De Forest Valve. He was also one of America’s pioneer radio station owners. In 1916, he broadcast the first radio advertising (for his products), was the first to report presidential election results via radio and led the first radio broadcast of music. He is credited with inventing talking movies. His inventions led him to be dragged through several legal battles concerning patent conflicts and investor concerns. He won in the courts, but the cases took their toll in his professional life as many of his colleagues lost their trust in him. However, in 1959 he was awarded an Academy Award for “his pioneering inventions which brought sound to the motion picture” and is recognized by many as the "Father of Radio."

Bio by: Bigwoo

Family Members




How famous was Lee de Forest?

Current rating:

85 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 271
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lee de Forest (26 Aug 1873–30 Jun 1961), Find a Grave Memorial no. 271, citing San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .