Marian Armstrong, RCA, Rca Nbc discussed on TechStuff
FM and AM transmitters and receivers are not compatible. You can't have both in the same radio set. If you have a receiver it may have an FM receiver and an AM receiver, but they are two separate receivers. They're not it's it's it's not a compatible technology again because you're looking at different modulations, and you're looking at different sizes of radio waves as well. So in nineteen forty RCA says, you know, what this FM thing makes less sense to us. Now now that we're really looking at it that we've got deal to make with you. And they present their Armstrong with a really attractive contract. He would get a cool one million dollars which in today's money. Around eighteen million dollars. In return RCA would get a royalty free license to use his FM patents. It was supposed to be a non-exclusive deal. However, so RCA would not get the exclusive rights to use this. They just wouldn't pay any royalties on anything they earned and in return Armstrong would get this one million dollar fee. However Armstrong had already made arrangements with other companies to license his patents, and they had to pay royalties on everything they sold anything that made use of one of his patents. He would get a little cut of it. And he felt like if he signed this agreement with RCA, it wouldn't be fair to these other companies that had to pay him every time they sold something. If RCA didn't have to do the same thing. How is that fair? So he refused. He said, I'm sorry. This deal's not gonna work with me. And that ticked off Sarnoff to no end. So Sarnoff directs is a genius to work on FM. Check of their own rather than license Armstrong's work and give them royalties. He says forget it. Let's just make our own FM tech and the company starts develop systems that they claim do not infringe upon Armstrong's patents. RCA then took another step casare enough isn't pleased with just trying to sidestep Armstrong. He wants to punish Armstrong and the company begins to encourage other companies to not license Armstrong's patents. And other words, cutting off our Strong's source of revenue because Armstrong's not making radios himself. He's licensing his designs to other companies. And now RCA saying, oh, don't do that. He we've come up with our own FM transmission stuff, don't bother paying him for this stuff. So Armstrong goes in sues RCA NBC and he's pretty confident. He's going to win right off the bat. But. The legal proceedings lasted much longer than he anticipated and the expense drained is personal finances by nineteen fifty some of his patents had actually expired. So he couldn't even really leverage those anymore and the lawsuits were continuing. Meanwhile, his mental health was deteriorating. They felt strongly that he was being cheated out of his money and the credit for his work. And what's worse? This mirrored something that had happened to Armstrong earlier in his life. He had worked on an invention that he felt he was responsible for that. Ultimately, the credit went to a different engineer. So he felt like this was happening all over again in the winter of nineteen fifty four after having driven away his own wife. He he actually hit her during an argument, and she had left him to leave an live with her sister Armstrong decided to end his own life. He jumped out of the window of his thirteenth floor apartment and landed on a on a bow. Johny ten stories below and died. He had a suicide note in his pocket. The expressed his deep regret for hitting his wife and for his actions and Sarnoff would shrug off any responsibility. He might have played Armstrong deterioration. He said, I didn't kill Armstrong. Now. Armstrong's wife Marian took over the case on behalf of her deceased husband and she pursued it with determination and the end of nineteen fifty four RCA and Marian Armstrong reached a settlement. The amount was said to be around million dollars, which was the fee RCA had proposed Armstrong and return for the royalty free. Use of the patents. Pretty tragic story now before I sign off. I should also mention that at the same time RCA was working on technology. That was not meant for your average consumer. I've been focusing on the consumer tech because that's the stuff..