Hedwig, Hollywood, and Wi-Fi
Europe in the 1930’s was not a pleasant place for many. For women it was typical in the expectations that they were to be domesticated and valued primarily for the beauty or lack thereof regarding their physical attributes. Such valuations are still being made today in spite of scientific research that proves when women are valued for their complete being and given equal status, all aspects of a nation benefit. Someone questioned the “legality” of my dedicating these fifty-plus posts to female inventors. There is not legality regarding subject other than what I deem permissible, by the way.
The purpose of this blog is as it has always been – a philosophical, spiritual, and religious reflection about life. It is similar to theological reflections, those dynamics of thought based upon picture or writings, often scriptural, or events in which one’s faith is discussed as it regards to our actions and reactions to said events, pictures, or writings. The lack of attention given to the results of gender bias is something I feel worth noting. By engaging in such discrimination, actually in any discrimination, we become our own enemies. Discrimination is any form is a stop sign towards progress.
Europe in the 1930’s is one such example. The growing distrust of a group of people simply because they called their houses of worship temples was based on greed and nothing realistic or scientific. Racial and ethnic biases have no basis; neither does gender bias.
A young woman named Hedwig Kiesler was born in Vienna, Austria in 1914 to a rather well to do family. Her family was a banker and her mother a pianist and the Jewish Hedwig grew up to study theater in Germany. At the age of eighteen years, Hedwig both starred in a film and married the third richest man in Austria. Her new husband resented her brief nude scene in the film and kept her a prisoner in their home, a castle named Schloss Schwartzenau. Hedwig served as hostess to her husband’s clients. An arms dealer he entertained Mussolini and Hitler and military technologists. Hedwig discovered she had an interest besides acting.
Hedwig Kiesler Mandl escaped her husband and country and in Paris was introduced to an American film producer who would take her to Hollywood and give her a new name. Now known as the “most beautiful woman in the world” Hedwig became Hedy Lamarr and acted in films with such actors as Clark Gable, Bob Hope, and Spencer Tracy as well as Judy Garland and Lana Turner. She found acting boring, though, and resumed her interest in science.
Hedy Lamarr contributed to America’s effort in World War II by inventing with musical composer George Antheil spread-spectrum technology that jammed radio frequencies tracking torpedoes. Although they received a patent for their technology in 1942, it would not be implanted until twenty years later during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Their design, based upon the way piano rolls work in a player piano became the groundwork for wireless technology used today, including Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth.
Hedy Lamarr was posthumously entered into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. “Any girl can be glamorous. All she has to do is stand still and look stupid.” Obviously Hedy Lamarr thought she was more than just a pretty face and she certainly was.