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Hugo Gernsback Obituary

From the New York Times Sunday, August 20, 1967

Hugo Gernsback Is Dead at 83:
Author, Publisher and Inventor

'Father of Modern Science Fiction' Predicted Radar - Beamed TV in '28

Hugo Gernsback, an inventor, author, editor, and publisher who has been called the father of modern science fiction, died yesterday at Roosevelt Hospital. He was 83 years old and lived at 263 West End Avenue.

Mr. Gernsback described radar 35 years before communications experts bounced a radar signal off the moon in 1946 and sponsored New York's first television broadcasts in 1928. Although described by some as a sensation-seeker - Life magazine once called him the "Barnum of the space age" - the debonair Mr. Gernsback was honored by the radio industry in 1953 in recognition of his "first 50 years of inspiring leadership in radio-electronic art."

At his death Mr. Gernsback held 80 scientific patents. He was editor in chief of the monthly magazine Radio-Electronics and editor in chief and publisher of the magazine Sexology and its Spanish edition, Luz; chairman of the board of Gernsback Publications, Inc.; and president of the Sexology Corporation and of Sexologia Magazine, Inc. Since 1908, he had initiated the publication of more than 50 periodicals, ranging through humor, economics, photography, aviation, and crime detection.

'One To Foresee For All'

In Ralph 124C 41+, a novel he wrote and serialized in 1911, Mr. Gernsback described what he and colleagues subsequently classified as radar, the direction finder, space travel, germicidal rays, micro-film, two-way television, night baseball, tape records, artificial silk and wool, stainless steel, magnesium as a structural material, and flourescent lighting. He also described the wireless transmission of power and electronic weather control, which are yet to be realized.

Mr. Gernsback was born in Luxembourg, the son of a vintner. He studied science at the Ecole Industrielle there and at the Technikum in Bingen, Germany. In 1904 he came here to exploit his invention of an improved dry battery and founded the Electric Importing Company, which he described as the world's first radio supply house. Mr. Gernsback established his first magazine, Modern Electrics, in 1908. Since then he had published The Electrical Experimenter, Radio Amateur News, Science and Invention (a successor to Electrical Experimenter), and Practical Electrics (later called the Experimenter).

In 1925 he founded radio station WRNY here and three years later, with the help of Pilot Radio Corporation engineers, started television broadcasts. The images - barely larger than postage stamps - were picked up on crude scanners owned by 2,000 amateurs in the New York area. Among Mr. Gernsback's inventions were the Hypnobioscope, for "sleep-learning," and the Osophone, an early bone conductor hearing aid.

In 1927 he began publishing Amazing Stories, one of the first magazines devoted entirely to science fiction. In that year he also established the first of a number of biological-sexological magazines, Your Body.

Surviving are his widow, the former Mary Hancher; three children of two earlier marriages, Harvey Gernsback of North Plainfield, N. J., Mrs. Bertina Baer of New York, and Mrs. Jocelyn Neichin of Monsey, N. Y.; seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Mr. Gernsback's family said yesterday that his body would be given to the Cornell University Medical School for scientific purposes.

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