Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson (January 25, 1878 – May 14, 1975) was a Swedish-American electrical engineer, who was a pioneer in radio and television development.
Alexanderson was born at Uppsala, Sweden, and educated at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Technische Hochschule (Technical University) in Berlin, Germany. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1902 and spent much of his life working for the General Electric company. He designed the Alexanderson alternator, a high-frequency generator for longwave transmissions, which made modulated (voice) radio broadcasts practical. The only surviving transmitter in a working state is at the Grimeton radio station outside Varberg, Sweden. It is a prime example of pre-electronic radio technology and was added to UNESCO's World heritage list in 2004.
He had been employed at General Electric for only a short period of time when GE received an order from Canadian-born professor and researcher Reginald Fessenden for an alternator with much higher frequency than others in existence at that time. In the summer of 1906 Mr. Alexanderson presented a 50 kHz alternator that was installed in Fessenden's radio station in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. By fall its output had been improved to 500 watts and 75 kHz. On Christmas Eve, 1906, Fessenden broadcast the first radio transmission with music and talk, playing the violin and reading the gospel himself. The transmission was heard as far away as the Caribbean Sea.
Alexanderson also created the amplidyne, a direct current amplifier.
Mr. Alexanderson was also instrumental in the development of television. The first television broadcast in the United States was to his GE Plot home at 1132 Adams Rd, Schenectady, NY, in 1927. Over his lifetime, Mr. Alexanderson received 345 US patents, the last filed in 1968 at age 89. The inventor and engineer remained active to an advanced age, working as a consultant to GE and RCA in the 1950s. He died in 1975 and was buried at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, New York.
In 1983, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and in 2002 the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.
- U.S. Patent 1,008,577 – High frequency alternator (100 kHz), filed April, 1909; issued, November, 1911
- U.S. Patent 1,173,079 – Selective Tuning System (Tuned RF Circuit, filed October, 1913; issued February, 1916
- U.S. Patent 1,723,908 – Ignition system, (RFI suppressor), filed June, 1926; issued August, 1929
- U.S. Patent 1,775,801 – Radio signaling system (directional antenna), filed November 1927, issued September 1930
See also 
- David E. Fisher and Marshall J. Fisher, Tube, the Invention of Television Counterpoint, Washington D.C. USA, (1996) ISBN 1-887178-17-1
- E.F.W. Alexanderson. General Electric Review, January, 1913
- E.F.W. Alexanderson, "Transatlantic Radio Communication", Trans. AIEE, (1919), pp. 1077–1093
- J.E. Brittain, Electrical Engineering Hall of Fame: Ernst F. W. Alexanderson, Proc. of the IEEE, Volume 92, July 2004, pp. 1216–1219.
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