The actress Hedy Lamarr was known for her beauty and film career, but she was also an inventor. The Official Website of Hedy Lamarr describes her accomplishment as follows:

Hedy patented an idea that later became the crutch of both secure military communications and mobile phone technology. In 1942, Hedy and the composer and pianist George Antheil patented what they called the ‘Secret Communication System.’ The original idea, meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II, involved changing radio frequencies simultaneously to prevent enemies from being able to detect the messages. While the technology of the time prevented the feasibility of the idea at first, the advent of the transistor and its later downsizing made Hedy’s idea very important to both the military and the cell phone industry.

Hedy Lamarr, 1940

Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Hedy became an actress at the age of 17. Before her 20th birthday, she had signed a contract with MGM in Hollywood. During her acting career, she starred alongside Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and Bob Hope, among other stars. 

Hedy was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014 due to the importance of her invention.

Featured image: Hedy Lamarr (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

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  1. This is a very interesting story. In the US, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired a documentary on it in 2018. It can be found on the internet at the following URL:

    https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-documentary/9906/

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