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The Inventor of Stereo: The life and works of Alan Dower Blumlein

The Inventor of Stereo: The life and works of Alan Dower Blumlein [Kindle Edition]

Robert Alexander
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Fascinating man, fascinating inventions, fascinating story behind the 30 year wait for a biography. We recommend you read it - our congratulations to the author.'
Everyday Practical Electronics, November 1999

'Thanks for the quick delivery of the Blumlein book, for which we have been waiting at least 25 years! ... In the audio community, every enthusiast will wish to own this book.'
Audio Amateur Incorporated, September 1999

'One of the most complete accounts of the development of Blumlein's invention. ...A fine tribute which must be considered a standard reference.'
Grampophone, 1999 Awards Issue

'Through extraordinary hard work, Alexander has now ...raised this man [Blumlein] from the dead.'
New Scientist, October 1999

'This is a 'must read' book ... I found it quite impossible to put down.'
Line Up, October/November 1999

'I recommend this book for all aspiring - and those of us in need of inspiring - engineers'
Studio Sound, December 1999

Product Description

This book is the definitive study of the life and works of one of Britain's most important inventors who, due to a cruel set of circumstances, has all but been overlooked by history.

Alan Dower Blumlein led an extraordinary life in which his inventive output rate easily surpassed that of Edison, but whose early death during the darkest days of World War Two led to a shroud of secrecy which has covered his life and achievements ever since.

His 1931 Patent for a Binaural Recording system was so revolutionary that most of his contemporaries regarded it at as more than 20 years ahead of its time. Even years after his death, the full magnitude of its detail had not been fully utilized. Among his 128 Patents are the principle electronic circuits critical to the development of the world's first electronic television system. During his short working life, Blumlein produced patent after patent breaking entirely new ground in electronic and audio engineering.

During the Second World War, Alan Blumlein was deeply engaged in the very secret work of radar development and contributed enormously to the system eventually to become 'H2S'- blind bombing radar. Tragically, during an experimental H2S flight in June 1942, the Halifax bomber in which Blumlein and several colleagues were flying, crashed and all aboard were killed. He was just days short of his 39th birthday.

For many years there have been rumours about a biography of Alan Blumlein, yet none has been forthcoming. This is the world's first study of a man whose achievements should rank among those of the greatest Britain has produced. This book provides detailed knowledge of every one of his patents and the process behind them, while giving an in depth study of the life and times of this quite extraordinary man.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 38824 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Focal Press (20 Mar 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IC87KW8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #563,705 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Forgotten 'VIS' 19 Aug 2003
Alan Dower Blumlein - another almost-long-forgotten engineer who may be categorised as a 'Very Important Scientist' - first came to my attention as a 13 year old reading a Heathkit construction manual.
Since then, I have been waiting for a biography as accessible as this one. It describes the science of Blumlein's work in an understandable way so we are better able to grasp his contribution to his fields of endeavour - particularly binaural (or 'stereo') sound reproduction.
The level of detail in the cause of Blumlein's untimely death may seem a little too much but it is a good indicator of the level of thoroughness and enthusiasm that Alexander brings to bear on his subject.
An excellent and enjoyable read! Well worth it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
There is little doubt after reading this book that Alan Blumlein was THE engineer of the 20th Century. That he is almost unknown is a tragedy of almost incalculable proportions. Luckily with this biography people will at last have the chance to read about this amazing man who I first heard about purely by accident.
Apparently, a biography was years in coming and then in 1999 Robert Alexander published his followed by another by Russell Burns in 2000. I bought both books and devoured them as they have positive and negative aspects to both. The Burns book concentrates on electrical engineering and has a rather long-winded slow way of getting the points across. The Alexander book is a much easier read and I liked the way that it stuck to a chronological format.
Alexander concentrates on audio engineering and radar and his technical coverage of these two subjects is quite faultless. I found that this book was very hard to put down, which is always the best compliment I think a reader can pay an author.
I would have liked more detail with regard to the television period, especially the pre-war coverage of the 1937 Coronation.
On the whole I think that this book is readable enough to appeal to anybody who is looking for information of a technical or non-technical on Blumlein. You can read it on two levels, follow the storyline which in the Alexander book is fascinating and pervasive throughout - and totally lacking in the Burns book. Also, for the more advanced or scholar of Blumlein and his achievements there is everything you could possibly want with exhaustive coverage of all 128 of Blumlein's patents.
A truly great book and I congratulate the author for his work. Long overdue, but then sometimes in life the best things are worth waiting for.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
For far too long a biography of Alan Blumlein had remained elusive. Now, at last, Robert Charles Alexander has done justice to this incredible man. This book is quite gripping, and at times reads just like a spy novel - I simply could not put it down.
I've now read it twice and have lent it to a friend who, like myself, is not an engineer or technical in any way, yet simply gets drawn in by one of the most fascinating British lives that it seems history has all but passed by.
This is not a book that takes you on a long drawn out journey through chronological events, but a seamless passage through a life cut tragically short at the age of just 38. Blumlein was a genius, of that I have little doubt, but quite how one mind can conceive of stereo, television, radar and a host of other inventions, and in such a short period of time, is quite beyond me.
I would recommend this book to anybody, whether they are technically minded or not. If you are able to come to grips with the elements of mathematics and acoustics then you will not be let down here, as Alexander explains all in manner which the layman can come to understand, and the expert enjoy.
However, if you just want an absolutely fascinating read, and discover a life which has remained hidden from society through a series of catastrophic and unfortunate events - not to mention government secrecy and cover-up - then this is the book for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and rate it among the better biographies that I have read.
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