Leonard F. Fuller

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One megawatt Poulsen arc radio transmitter built by Federal in 1919 for the US Navy, whose development was headed by Fuller.

Dr. Leonard F. Fuller (August 21, 1890 – April 23, 1987) was a noted American radio pioneer.

Fuller was born in Portland, Oregon, graduated from Portland Academy in 1908, and in 1912 graduated from Cornell University with an M.E. degree. He then joined the National Electric Signaling Company, Brooklyn, New York, switching after a few months to the Federal Telegraph Company at San Francisco, becoming its chief engineer in 1913.

From 1913 to 1919 he led development and manufacture of very large Poulsen arc transmitters (ranging in sizes from 200, 350, 500 and up to 1,000 kilowatts) for the Army and Navy, which were then installed in stations for trans-oceanic communications in the United States, France, Panama, Hawaii, and across the Pacific to the Philippines. He was a member of the National Research Council's antisubmarine group in World War I, and also continued his studies at Stanford University, receiving Stanford's first Ph.D. granted in electrical engineering in 1919.

1925 Freshman Masterpiece radio, Colin B. Kennedy Co.

From 1919 to 1923 Fuller manufactured radio receivers at the Colin B. Kennedy Company, San Francisco, which he founded, and performed private consulting in communications for electrical power companies. In 1921 and 1922, he designed and installed the world's first carrier current telephone system on power lines above 50,000 volts. From 1923-1926 he worked for General Electric in Schenectady and New York City on power company communication and radio receiver work, then in 1926 returned to San Francisco for GE. There he led new high voltage developments and the application of vacuum tubes for the west coast's electric power industry, including power-line communications between Hoover Dam and Los Angeles. He then returned to Federal Telegraph Company as its Executive Vice President and Chief Engineer, managing its plant at Palo Alto.

From 1930 to 1943 Fuller was professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, also serving as department chair. In this role he became friends with Ernest Lawrence, and constructed as a gift the Berkeley radiation laboratory's first large cyclotron. From 1946-1954, he was coordinator of contract research and acting professor of electrical engineering at Stanford.

Fuller held 24 patents, was a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and a member of the American Physical Society, and received the first IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, in 1919, for his contributions to long-distance radio communication.


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