Invention History: The Father of FM


Edwin Howard ArmstrongEdwin Howard ArmstrongThe widow Armstrong picked where her husband had left off with the help of Dana Raymond, a Columbia graduate and attorney loyal to Armstrong.

Marion was not as driven by principal as was Edwin. She was willing to compromise. She settled with RCA, and then addressed the other infringement suits one by one, with Motorola being the last to concede defeat. It threw in the towel in 1967 following a ruling against it in the Supreme Court.

We take FM for granted today because it is so much a part of our normal everyday experience. It is the most common format used for broadcasting high-fidelity music, as well as for television sound (including most VCR systems), and communications. And even though Edwin Howard Armstrong is not a name immediately familiar to most people, there is, at least, no question about how much of what he created is attributable to his own genius.

A partial listing of honors and accolades bestowed upon the father of FM follows:

1917 - Medal of Honor, Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE/IEEE).

1941 - Franklin Medal (for regeneration), Franklin Institute.

1942 - Edison Medal, American Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE).

1955 - Union Nationale de Telecommunications in Geneva - The International Telecommunications Union, an arm of the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland that advocates for the standardization of the radio spectrum - honored Armstrong by adding his name to a list of distinguished innovators in the fields of electricity and telecommunications including, Ampere, Bell, Faraday, Hertz, Kelvin, Marconi, and Morse.

1983 - Edwin Howard Armstrong postage stamp issued by United States Postal Service.

2000 - Induction into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame "in recognition of his contributions and pioneering spirit that have laid the foundation for consumer electronics."

And finally, if any doubts remain about the role played by E. Howard Armstrong in shaping our modern existence in America, you need only reflect on the events of September 11, 2001.

When terrorists crumbled the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, broadcasters needed an alternate location from which they could quickly restore their coverage of New York City. They were back on the air again by September 12, broadcasting from a tower on a hill in Alpine, New Jersey.

Mike Daisy
Featured Blogger - My Blog


Apr 15, 2007
by Michelle
Michelle's picture

Mike, Is FM used for


Is FM used for anything else but radio? Is the inventor of FM inventor of FM radio?

Apr 16, 2007
by Mike (not verified)

Yes, EH Armstrong is

Yes, EH Armstrong is considered the inventor of FM. It's used a lot outside of radio. TV  sound is FM. Military, NASA. Cellphones sound technology is based on it. 


Jul 6, 2008
by Anonymous