George Antheil: Ballet Mechanique, music to an experimental short film from 1924 (film included). Dir. Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy.


Happy Birthday Hedy Lamarr  (9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000)

“I don’t fear death because I don’t fear anything I don’t understand. When I start to think about it, I order a massage and it does away.” -Hedy Lamarr

“Dark, had high cheekbones, but otherwise was delicately, rather sensitively beautiful.” - George Antheil

While married to Austrian ammunitions merchant Fritz Mandl, Hedy Lamarr often attended her husband’s business meetings and acquired extensive knowledge of  military technology. That education contributed to the 1941 “Secret Communications System” she co-invented with composer George Antheil. Initially developed to assist Allied powers during WWII, the discovery now plays an essential role in modern wireless devices.


Today in history, 1942: Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive their patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system. This would become the basis for future tech like cell phones, bluetooth and Wi-Fi. So, essentially, Hedy Lamarr helps invent how to take business meetings while stuck in Los Angeles traffic. All hail Hedy.

  Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian actress who became known for her roles in films during the 1940s but, more than that, she was an inventor that enabled all wireless communication technologies we know. The Wi-Fi only exists thanks to her.
   In 1941, when she was already a star in Hollywood, Lamarr allied to the composer George Antheil and patented the idea of ​​a system of multiple random frequencies - together, they developed the concept to help create codes with an unbreakable encryption for communication Navy US during World War II.
  This allowed various forms of wireless communication, such as cellular phones - the concept of random multiple frequencies is what makes the cell phone conversations do not get crossed.And not only that, the development of wireless networks owes much to Lamarr and Antheil. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi would not exist without the system created by the duo. Lamarr died in 2000, but the legacy of her invention is increasingly present in our lives.

Hedy Lamarr starred in dozens of films throughout her impressive acting career, some of which are considered classics. But what many people may not know is that the Austrian actress made significant contributions toward wireless communication technology that are still used today.

While married to Friedrich Mandl, a fascist armaments manufacturer, Lamarr attended official meetings where military technologies were discussed with business partners. After ending her tumultuous marriage, she met her neighbor George Antheil, a composer and inventor. Using her knowledge of radio-controlled torpedoes acquired from the meetings she witnessed, Lamarr developed a frequency-hopping system with Antheil for Allied war efforts. Named the Secret Communications System, it rapidly switched random synchronized frequencies using a piano keyboard—88 frequencies, like 88 piano keys—and guided torpedoes away from their desired targets.

The system was never adopted by the military during World War II, but the technology was granted US Patent No. 2,292,387 and Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. The “Secret Communications System” is still used as the basis of modern spread-spectrum communication technology, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.

Happy birthday, Hedy Lamarr!

“The Hedy whom we know is not the Hedy you know. You know something which the MGM publicity department has, in all its cunning, dreamed up. There is no such Hedy. They have long ago decided that, in order to give her sufficient sex appeal, they will make her faintly stupid. But Hedy is very very bright. Compared to most Hollywood actresses we know, Hedy is an intellectual giant. I know I’m crabbing the MGM publicity department’s act, but it’s true. Hedy is not much interested in acting, in an actress career. She is a good actress, but she is just not intersted. She is, like ourselves, a dreamer. She is also a sensitive, wonderful human person, one whom we love very much, as you would too if you really knew her!” — George Antheil on his friend Hedy Lamarr.

“Here, then, and at long last must suddenly come the true solution as to why Hedy does not go out upon joyous evening relaxations to which all Hollywood would only too willingly invite her, why her "drawing room,” sure enough, is filled both with unreadable books and very useable drawing boards that look as if they are in constant use. Why apparently she has no time for anybody except something ultra mysterious about which no inside Hollywood columnist has dared to even venture a guess. Believe it or not, Hedy Lamarr stays home nights and invents! I believe it because I know.“

George Antheil on why Hedy Lamarr loved to stay home.


Fernand Léger, Ballet Mécanique,1924


Yes. A thousand times. 


George Antheil - Ballet Mécanique

Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Spalding