Hugo Gernsbak

Picture of Hugo Gernsbak

Date of Birth: 08/16/1884

Age: 83

Place of birth: Luxembourg

Citizenship: United States

Electrical experimenter. Hugo Gernsback towards

Hugo Gernsback came to America in 1904 from Luxembourg.

Conservative Europe was too narrow for two decades of science enthusiast. Whether it America free from the chains of class and prejudice, America, in which young talented inventor without a thorough education (a decent university education in Gernsbeka was not) could be developed to its fullest extent of their abilities. America, fostered the genius of Edison - The man who invented the light bulb!

However, apparently, the relationship of Edison and the light bulb seen Gernsbeku in slightly different colors - deep down (although the existence of the soul, he did not believe at all) Hugo was convinced that the primary was just light bulbs, but Edison was created only in order to reveal it to the world. The same goes for the phonograph. But there were still Bell and his matchless Phone! ..

When talk about Gernsbeke, certainly mention - in a different formulation - that it was an absolute supporter of the Church Science. His relationship with science - sorry, with Science! - They were very religious. He fervently believed in the fact that science is a fundamental principle of all. The world was created in accordance with the laws of science - it is possible to argue that it was for the law, but only as long as the priests were different points of view on this matter. Man, as a scientifically proven Darwin, it was also created in full compliance with the laws of science - the doctrines of natural selection. In the chain of transformation of macaques in homo sapiens erectus were still missing links, but the fact that these links will show up soon, there was no doubt. That man is almost completely mastered electricity, deprived of heavenly Thunderbolts most impressive weapon. And, unlike the divine miracles, science could repeat its infinite wonders. Time and again flew hot air balloons and airplanes, repeatedly flipped spark of a Leyden jar, causing perturbations in the essential areas that could catch hundreds of miles away - as did Popov and Marconi ...

Science gave the universe harmony - because Newton`s laws were slim and slender as were the formula of Ampere and Faraday. And most importantly - Science, unlike inert religions granted a permission to Create New - invention.

Electricity and electromagnetic field were the scientific frontier, which wanted to build his kingdom Hugo Gernsback. He invented a completely new type of dry battery. St. V, who - in Luxembourg! - I needed a dry electric battery completely new type? Who - in Luxembourg! - Can assess the value of the battery - and its inventor - for Science ?!

In New York! Immediately in New York!

After emigrating to America, Hugo Gernsback ... I felt a little cheated. Even in America, as it turned out, clearly lacked people who had associated themselves saints electric gifts. But, those who join them in time, did extraordinary things. Since 1903, ships of the US Navy were equipped with radio transmitters centrally (though the word "radio" came later, as long as the move was the term "wireless"), built an impressive chain of coastal transceiver stations. Department of Agriculture has funded research aimed at creating a wireless system for collecting and disseminating meteorological reports throughout the United States ... Private development also were in full swing - in 1901, Reginald Fessenden - by the way, is not an American and a Canadian - issued patent (US, by the way) a completely new type of radio. Its transmitter had to send the broadcast no individual pulses and a continuous electromagnetic wave that was to make the wireless radio is the same convenient as a telephone connection. However, Fessenden was able to build on this principle, suitable for demonstrating the device only in 1906.

Compared with the invention Fessenden, the newest battery Gernsbeka looked like something not very promising. It was a level unworthy of the American scale. A sober assessment of the weak business opportunities of their offspring, Gernsbek instantly launched a new venture, which brought him in the first place, the glory of one of the devotees radiodela, and, secondly, some capital. Even before the exile he developed a portable device for wireless communications, but to bring it to the presentation did not have time. Arriving in New York, he found that many of the necessary components for his work in America just do not get it. This led to the idea to establish Gernsbeka company for US technicians scarce European equipment. At the same time, Hugo was going to, eliminating the lack of equipment to finish its development.

The company was called aloud - "The Electro Importing Company of New York City". In 1905, the company threw to the market the world`s first apparatus for radio - "Telimco Wireless Telegraph Outfits". The scope of "Telimko" (a $ 50 set of 7 cents) and consisted of a transmitter and a receiver, which allowed virtually everyone who wants to arrange a home amateur radio. The room "Scientific American" on 25 November 1905 an advertisement appeared "Telimko" - and it was the world`s first radio advertising campaign, intended for a broad audience, and even in the magazine, which was distributed in the United States - at the national level!

Very soon it became clear Gernsbeku how low technical culture of the masses - even at home Edison. Creator "Telimko" had rejected the accusations of charlatanism - some experts could not believe that such a fantastic thing as a wireless station can cost at tens of thousands, or even thousands of dollars, and a total of seven and a half. After a letter of "cheating" Gernsbeka got to the office of the mayor`s office Gernsbeka raided a police check. Gernsbek demonstrated the efficiency of the device, but the police are not convinced.

- Still, you rogues, - said the policeman. - If this device for wireless communication, why is there such a lot of wires?

Gernsbeku managed to create something more than a simple and affordable to the masses radio. "Telimko" has caused rapid growth radiosoobschestva. He has presented a variety of enthusiasts an opportunity to develop "frontier ether" and this was a real breakthrough. Impressive - until then - to achieve military department for radio service of the US Navy were closed almost immediately. In 1910, amateur broadcasting, according to the leaked to the press reports the military has hindered the work of a powerful naval station in Boston.

In April 1912, the world was shocked by the news of the death of "Titanic." By accident of hams, of course, had nothing to do, but it is famous shipwreck led to an aggravation of the state need to debate - and even international - ordering etheric activity and accelerate the adoption of long-awaited decision. August 13, 1912 dated "Act on the regulation of radio communications"; this Legal Code amateur radio activity is limited to a 200-meter range.

The idea to give hams separate range also belonged to Hugo Gernsback. At least, he himself adheres to this version. Gernsbek jealously watched as multiplying the number of amateur transmitters (still - they provide a profit his company), and was well aware that the government may one day simply to ban the sale of transmission equipment to individuals, if it suddenly jeopardize the program itself government. Therefore, the allocation to the amateur broadcast a special range - a kind of ethereal reservations - makes life easier for both the government and the military (they no longer interfere with all sorts of amateurs), as well as by radio enthusiasts - they got their "legalized" the territory in which can feel quite comfortable.

However, the broadcast could not and should not have become the only means of communication between hams. He was absolutely necessary information center, where they could learn the news about the latest technical developments, to clarify controversial questions, get advice, discuss about the prospects. In addition, anecdotal story of the police and wires Hugo persuaded that the public should be harnessed to educate on the part of the advanced technical ideas. Gernsbek quickly realized that a monthly magazine for radio amateurs could use quite popular.

In 1908 he began producing "Modern Electrics".

In our history, there comes one of the most interesting moments. In 1908, Hugo Gernsback became publisher and editor - Gernsbek himself repeatedly stressed, the first magazine in the world dedicated to the radio. Magazine is quickly gaining followers, it is growing in popularity among fans. "By 1911, its circulation was about a hundred thousand copies - writes Gernsbek - he sold all newsstands in the United States and Canada and is sent to subscribers around the world." One hundred thousand copies - this edition is impressive even now. Even if we take into account that the other sources referred to half the number of circulation, it is generally not a big difference. Think about what intense interest was tested when the wireless connection topic, how great was the audience for this, in general, highly specialized popularization magazine!

"Modern Electrics" turned out to be quite sensible and practical, it was not nonsense, he did everything to be interesting. He printed not only articles, but that it is extremely important to us, and even works of art. In April 1911, for example, in the magazine begins to publish the continuation of the story "Ralph 124C 41+" - and the publication of its proceeds from issue to issue twelve months up to March 1912. Tale of the Hugo Gernsback conceived as an artistic review of the vast prospects of science - as he saw them. Judging by the fact that cover all twelve issues of the magazine, which was published in the "Ralph", were decorated as illustrations for the next story fragments, Gernsbek gave this publication is very important.

Notice how versatile tool in the hands of Gernsbeka "Modern Electrics".

The first - the magazine consolidates consumer products company gernsbekovskoy (the assortment of products grows and the magazine, of course, in every way they advertise and promote), circulation of the important Gernsbeka ideas and approaches, gives enthusiasts wireless motion and direction of the organization.

The second - the magazine itself brings considerable income that can be spent on carrying out new experiments (and a lot of experimenting Gernsbek, filling arriving lack of deep experience of education).

The third - the magazine makes it possible to be realized Gernsbeku-thinker, dreamer and Gernsbeku-even Gernsbeku-writer.

Let us be frank - a writer Gernsbek was, to put it mildly, not brilliant. Fortunately, he was not and graphomaniac. Few literary texts that Hugo blessed mankind, though wretchedly from a literary point of view, but precisely match the tasks set by the author himself.

That`s what Gernsbek seen fit to inform readers advance notice to the first fragment of his story:

"This story, which takes place in 2660, will be published in our magazine throughout the year. It should tell the reader about the future with precision, compatible with the modern remarkable development of science. The author would like to especially draw your attention to the fact that, although many inventions and events in the story may seem strange and unbelievable to him, they are not impossible and does not go beyond the reach of science. "

Perception of literary creativity Gernsbekom was very, very limited. Form fantastic story gave him an opportunity to make gripping it "scientific" ideas, if not in life, then at least in the text. No other advantages, in addition to the saturation limit descriptions of science and technology of the future, "Ralph 124C 41+" does not imply, and the author of this text deliberately did not put anything beyond that. The story should have been perceived by the reader as a set of patent applications in the futuristic inventions and discoveries. All predicted in the novel inventions and discoveries, Gernsbek considered to be equal to or later necessarily implemented.

Now, more than ninety years after the first publication, "Ralph 124C 41+" is perceived almost as an archaeological monument is trampled by numerous invasions of the ruins of Chersonese. By itself the ruins, according to what can be found in them during the excavations, you can learn more about the past time and the people who walk through the ancient streets. "Ralph 124C 41+" tells the story of the events of the twenty-seventh century - but gives the reader a vivid picture of the ideas and way of thinking of people heyday era of Science - the XIX and XX centuries; hero of the story is a futuristic name - but through his "poker face" is clearly visible Hugo Gernsback himself - a man deeply suffering from the fact that he has to deal with is not what he would like.

Hugo Gernsback wanted to be a scientist and inventor - but he was not under force what is called a "conceptual breakthrough" in English and in Russian - a radically new idea. Gernsbek longed to create something entirely new in terms of technology, but it is constantly misled linear thinking. Realistic his invention (by the end of his life he was a holder of dozens of patents to eight) were careful development of already existing concepts. Its direct contribution to the development of technology, limited introduction to the scientific use of the word "television" - he liked to recall that it was he who first used the term in print in "Modern Electrics" article "Television and telephoto" (this was in 1909) . He himself experimented a lot in the 20s with the practical transfer of television image, but these experiences are not gained fame ...

For today`s reader numerous inventions Ralph 124C 41+ say much more about the ideas and concepts that prevailed at the beginning of the XX century than on the subsequent development of science. Some of these concepts - for example, the idea of ??a world ether as an environment in which propagate electromagnetic waves - are outdated almost immediately after writing the story (and Gernsbek faithfully pointed this out when reprinting "Ralph"), some have been implemented practically letter in letter - like, say, artificial lighting of sports fields - but the conceptual novelty is not pulled. Other ideas show some ability of the author to the linear extrapolation - but again based on popular at the beginning of the XX century technical solutions. For example, Gernsbeku seemed reasonable to reduce the size of the daily newspaper to the size of a postage stamp, and invent for her reading a special projector - and in this he anticipated the idea and microfilm technology (which, incidentally, immediately after the outdated archives computerization). But smaller futuristic newspaper still typeset in the 12 columns that a screen reader is definitely uncomfortable ... or the idea of ??wireless power transfer - indeed, if it is possible to transmit electromagnetic signals without wires, then why not transfer and energy? However, the process of energy transfer in the description Gernsbeka resembles a natural disaster: around energy transmitter formed "an ethereal vacuum" (where, according to the author, can not exist any electromagnetic waves, including light band), all metal objects within a radius of tens of miles magnetized or are heated white hot, buzzing siren vibrate buildings - some of which are included in the resonant vibrations and not destroyed only because of the built stiloniya - "recent substitute steel" ... All this is a disaster occurs, note in the center New York.

But - a sin to sneer at misconceptions and naive notions almost a century ago. Much more interesting, I think, look at the "Ralph 124C 41+" as a reflection of the nature of the features of its author.

No matter how dangerous to the student at least to a small degree to identify the author with e of the hero, in this case I would suggest that Gernsbek creating Ralph-Possible, drawing is his hero - such as it would like to see himself. Ralph - implemented innovator and inventor, one of a dozen people in the world, which as a sign of their services to science and humanity is allowed to be added to the name "plus" sign. He short-circuited with the President of the earth, the man whose portrait is drawn during the festival in the sky "vozduholetami" and is a five-minute standing ovation citizens of New York. Ralph tired universal recognition of his merits, he reluctantly agrees to appear in public, when the masses are going to honor him for scientific organized rescue from certain death of the heroine of the novel. The inventor lives in a luxurious house, perfectly adapted for scientific research, it caters to the valet ...

It is a dream - the dream of the role that the inventor must, according to Gernsbeka playing properly ordered society. It is a dream - the dream of recognition of merit of the inventor to the society. It is a dream - the dream of a world in which the inventor can not ozabochivatsya earning funds for the creation of more and more machines, materials and technologies in the world ... The inventors of this dream will do for all of society. They will provide its cheap solar energy. They Zamosc city streets with the latest metal, which does not make its way through any pesky weed. They will create a device to theatrical performances you can watch in the comfort of the apartment, and thus irrevocably priobschat weight to culture. They will solve the traffic problems via an underwater tunnel under the Atlantic, electric roller skates and "completely made of metal" flying cars ...

Alas. The world in which Gernsbeku had to exist, was not the world of his dreams. In order to bring happiness to the twentieth century his inventions, he had to first earn the money necessary to pay for expensive experimentation. But these experiments were truly expensive - if we take into account that all the revenues from the business and from the edition of the popular "Modern Electrics" was not enough to offset the losses in that plunged Gernsbeka his scientific research. In experiments, he spared no money ever. And sometimes, in order not to interrupt the studies, he had to withdraw large sums from the Working Capital Journal ...

From the point of view of any normal businessman, it was an absolute idiocy. And, as a man of business, Gernsbek understood this perfectly. But how adept science he was absolutely certain that every cent spent on inventing them, will not be spent in vain.

Because of this, he got burned - for the first time but not the last. In 1913, due to financial problems "Modern Electrics" was declared bankrupt and wound up in the hands of the publishers of the magazine "Popular Science", which simply strangled quietly - like an annoying competitor.

Alternatively, a historical version of events states that Gernsbek renamed "Modern Electrics" and he was called "Electrical Experimenter". This version emerged, apparently due to the fact that Gernsbek instantly recovered from bankruptcy, immediately opened a new magazine. However, the new edition, although it took over almost all the features of the former, the legal successor of "Modern Electrics" could not be.

Among other practices "Modern Electrics", Gernsbek retained in the new magazine and custom print fiction works. This made the "Electrical Experimenter" more attractive to casual readers who Gernsbek hoped in this way - gradually, through reading something entertaining, exciting and fantastic - to attach to the achievements of science.

This idea - to attach someone to some achievements through reading fiction stories - will be his banner throughout the rest of his life. And at the same time - will ruin the reputation of the entire science fiction for the next hundred years ...

In 1915, it was in the pages of "Electrical Experimenter" appeared for the first time the word "scientifiction". Gernsbek conveniently noted that in the phrase "scientific fiction" syllable "fic" is repeated twice, once properly cleaned and received repeat convenient term to refer to fiction, concentrating on the promotion of scientific ideas. He published three years before that, "Ralph" was, without a doubt, "scientifiction", and the cycle of stories "Scientific Adventures of Baron Munchausen" ( "Baron Munchausen`s Scientific Adventures"), which he began publishing in the same 1915 in Electrical Experimenter "-. Hence, too, for the word it has already been some real content, but to a new term was fixed, his own literary authority Gernsbeka was not enough..

Therefore Gernsbek made perfect - from his point of view - a move which gave the contraption way very definite literary foundation. He postulated that:

"Scientifiction" - a kind of fiction, who wrote Jules Verne, HG Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe, is an exciting romantic stories implicated on scientific evidence and prophetic anticipation. ".

This definition (which is textually enshrined in the editorial was the introduction to the first number of "Amazing Stories") without further explanation now looks pretty rough juggling. It can be taken either as a deliberate pushing creativity such diverse authors as Poe, Verne and Wells in the narrow confines of gernsbekovskoy popularization of the concept, or as an attempt to expand this concept to such an extent that it will shape and Jules Verne and HG Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe .

Unfortunately, Gernsbek never gave reason to assume that it adheres to the second point of view. From "scientifiction" requires both informative and predictive, it is this - the main meaning "scientifiction". This idea sounded in his editorials aggressively and consistently ...

But - all this will be only ten years later. Until Gernsbek time to establish in 1919 another magazine - "Radio Amateur News", rename (this time it was renamed) "Electrical Experimenter" in 1920 in "Science and Invention" (apparently to emphasize that the electricity - it yet all science), as well as the release in August 1923, the thematic issue of the journal devoted entirely to "scientifiction" ... Around the same time, in 1923, Gernsbek attempted to find out what the public thinks about the organization of the monthly magazine "Scientifiction" devoted entirely fiction. The public reacted to the idea without much enthusiasm and Gernsbek decided that the time was not yet ripe.

As history has shown, it was wrong. Emerged in the same 1923 pulp-magazine fiction horror "Weird Tales" quickly gained popularity - though he did not get in the range of interests Gernsbeka as published for the most part all kinds of anti-scientific mysticism, and only occasionally diluted with stories that could be called " scientifiction ". However, it was a clear signal - the reader was ready for a new type of pulp-publishing - a thematic literary magazine. If "All Story" and "Argosy" (by the way, by the time they, too, fell victim to publishing experiments Frank Muncie - in 1914 he merged the monthly "All Story" and the weekly "Cavalier Weekly" in literary centaur "All Story Cavalier Weekly", and in 1920 in this test has been involved also "Argosy"; these things weekly meal became known as the "all Story Argosy weekly") published the entire entertainment literature, regardless of its nature - adventure, detective, science fiction, westerns, and so on - is a new type of magazine took any one niche of commercial fiction, but held on to her death grip. They were much less universal, their audience was limited to fans of one particular "genre", but the audience this was a constant and reliable.

Perhaps Gernsbeka for a distracted from the idea of ??publishing a journal devoted to "scientifiction", transmission experiments teleimage - he worked a lot and rapidly in the 20 years it is this area of ??radio. Perhaps he had other reasons to take the time - for example, it is very likely he could not collect the necessary sum to run the project. But three years later he still finally grown together.

The first issue of "Amazing Stories", dated April 1926, appeared on magazine stands on 5 March. It is this date should be considered the beginning of a new era in the history of science fiction of the XX century.

Hugo Gernsback and then could not think that this project will immortalize his name. Much more hope on this score he laid still on the radio ...