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Inventor of FM Radio Recognized in Yonkers:

When the inventor of FM radio stepped out a New York City window to his death 60 years ago this winter, he was despondent about the fate of his invention amidst a pitched legal battle with the giant Radio Corporation of America.

We can’t get inside the Major’s mind on that frosty Upper East Side night, but it’s easy to imagine that he believed his work developing FM would fade into technological obscurity.

What would Maj. Edwin Howard Armstrong have made, then, of the crowd that gathered last summer to dedicate a plaque in his honor at one of the spots where he was happiest, his native Yonkers, N.Y.?

Armstrong was born in 1890 in a huge Victorian home just across Warburton Avenue from the site of the bronze plaque in Hudson-Fulton Park. Much of his early work in radio, including the development of the superheterodyne system in the early years of the 20th century, took place in the attic of the Warburton Avenue home.

And after Armstrong’s feud with RCA chairman David Sarnoff pushed his early FM experiments out of RCA’s space in the Empire State Building, the Major looked just across the Hudson River from Yonkers to build his unique three-armed tower in Alpine, N.J., in 1937–38, easily visible then and now from Warburton Avenue (shown above). [read more]

Photo: Steve Klose, who conceived of the plaque and oversaw fundraising and installation, celebrates at completion of the project with Armstrong’s tower just over his right shoulder.

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