Hugo Gernsback:
Science Fiction Technology and Ideas
Hugo Gernsbacher was born in Luxembourg in 1884. He received a technical education; his special interest was telephone and electrical communications equipment. By the end of his life, he would have 80 patents. He came to America in 1904, and began a company called the Electric Importing Company, which was the forerunner of companies like Radio Shack, selling radio building equipment by mail. The catalog of this company became Modern Electrics, a magazine that he edited and published. In 1926 he started Amazing Stories, perhaps the most famous of the early sf magazines. He died in 1967.


(From Science Wonder Stories)

Science fiction fans everywhere recognize him as the “Father of Science Fiction.” The most prestigious award in science fiction writing, the Hugo award, is named for him.

Invention/Technology Source Work (Publication Date)

Acoustic Apparatus (Osophone) - original patent filing
A device that used bone conduction to transmit sound.

Acoustic Apparatus (1923)

Actinoscope
A device that used a pulsating polarized ether wave to judge the distance to an object (a RADAR)

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Aeroflyer
A flying car.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Alohydrolium
The lightest metal.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Automatic-Electric Packing Machine
A device able to pack randomly shaped objects combined into a single package automatically.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Detectophone - machine translation of language
First use of the idea of a voice-activated machine.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Hypnobioscope - learn while you sleep
The first fictional reference to sleep teaching.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Iridium Spirals (Street Lights)
Streetlights provide sunlight at night.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Language Rectifier early reference to machine translation
The first reference to machine-translation of human languages.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Personalized News
First reference to news that is customized to the needs of each individual subscriber.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Space-Sick
Uneasiness associated with space travel.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Steelonium - very early reference
A remarkable kind of steel that did not rust or corrode.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Sub-Atlantic Tube - undersea tunnel
A tunnel under the ocean; the shortest distance between the two points.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Telautograph
First fictional reference to a fax machine.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Tele-Motor-Coasters - power skates
Powered skates for personal transportation.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)

Telephot - early videophone
A device that combined the functions of telephone and television; a phone with a screen.

Ralph 124c 41 + (1911)


(Records 1 to 16 of 16)

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