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Guide to the Cyril Frank Elwell Papers M0049
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These papers contain several versions of Elwell's autobiography, including one written under a pseudonym and correspondence with possible ghost writers, especially R. B. Stone. Also included are engineering papers, clippings, biographical materials, and correspondence.
Cyril Frank Elwell (1884 – 1963) was an American inventor and pioneer in the development of radio-telegraphy and long-distance communication. Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1884 to an American father and a German mother, Elwell arrived in the United States in 1902. He studied electrical engineering at Stanford University, graduating with an engineering degree in 1907. While he first was involved with electric metallurgy, in 1908 he began research in wireless communication after investigating a system for voice transmission invented by Francis Joseph McCarty (1888-1906) six years earlier. Elwell founded the Poulsen Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, later renamed Federal Telegraph Company in 1909. By 1910 Elwell had sucessfully demonstrated voice communication between Stockton and Sacramento, California. Equipment and technique rapidly improved and by 1911 Federal Telegraph was prepared to bid on contracts to provide Navy communication to Hawaii. After a dispute with the Federal Telegraph board of directors, Elwell resigned in 1913 but continued his research, joining the short-lived Universal Wireless Syndicate. During World War I he was a consulting radio engineer for the French and Italian governments. Subsequently he moved to England where in the early 1920s he established and managed the company C. F. Elwell, Ltd., originally to mainly supply wireless apparatus for maritime communication but later manufacturing home radio receivers for the emerging radio broadcasting service. While in England he also became involved in other electronics enterprises, including collaborating with Lee de Forest on talking pictures with the British de Forest Phonofilms Company. He also briefly worked on motion picture sound in France. Elwell was a founding investor in the Mullard Radio Valve Company, manufacturers of vacuum tubes. After his term as director at Mullard, he returned to the United States in 1947 and was a consulting engineer for Hewlett Packard. He died in 1963.
3 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
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