by Cayce McCarthy. Arts and Entertainment blogger.
Hey there Femm readers. Today I would like to share with you the story of Hedy Lamarr, the inventor of Wi-Fi. Lamarr was a 1940s Hollywood actress who secretly loved to invent things. When she was a little girl she was curious as to how her toys worked and even took them apart to see how they worked. Her father encouraged her curiosity and explained how cars and traffic lights operated.
Sadly, Lamarr’s father passed away and left her family in extreme debt. Lamarr tried to invest in stocks but failed. Instead, she married an Austrian millionaire, only to find out that he was an arms dealer for Hitler. To make matters worse, Lamarr was herself, Jewish. She never told him her religion and managed to escape him one night.
She later met a film producer in London who signed her to a contract to work for MGM in the United States where she starred in films such as, Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman, and The Story of Man Kind. Despite her acting career, she never gave up her passion for inventing things. Being a beautiful, female intellectual back then was no easy task; especially since a woman could easily be shunned, mocked, called fake, or have a man easily claim her work. Because of this, she invented in secret and rarely told anyone. She did share her work with one man, aviation inventor, and the very man that inspired Stan Lee’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, Howard Hughes.
One of the designs she shared with Hughes was a wing’s blueprint, which lead him to call her a genius. She improved traffic lights and created a tablet that dissolved into soda. Her biggest invention, however, was frequency hopping: a device that could secure a signal to guide torpedoes to their targets. She tried donating her device to the military to aid in the war effort but was turned down. In fact, her work wasn’t used until 20 years later, so she was never compensated for her device. We can thank her for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. That’s all for this post ‘til next time.