John Jays Hammond JR.

John Jays Hammond JR.

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John Hays Hammond, JR.


John Hammond was one of the greatest electrical and mechanical inventors of his time. The things he invented during his lifetime impacted history a great deal.
According to John Pettibone, John Hays Hammond, Jr. was born in 1888 in San Francisco, California (Pettibone 1). Most of his life Hammond was known as Jack. He was the second son and namesake of a world-famous mining engineer, who was the friend, confidant, and almost running mate of William Howard Taft. Jack’s father grossed a supposed one million dollars a year as well as bonuses at the South African gold and diamond fields where his father relocated his family in 1893. While in South Africa, Jack’s father got imprisoned by accident and in prison got really sick. Mark Twain was on tour of Africa and visited the prison and soon afterwards the Hammond family moved to recuperate in England (Dandola1-2). Young Hammond became devoted to studying life in the past and castles after his family relocated to England in 1898. At the beginning of the century his family moved back to the United States. Years later, as a marriage gift for his wife Irene, Hammond started building a medieval castle home in Gloucester, MA. In 1929 the couple took up residence in the castle and in 1930 revealed it as a museum (Pettibone 1).
To invent, John Hays Hammond would at no time have to look far for ideas. He was born into an educated family in 1888 and some of the family’s associates included Nikola Tesla, the Wright brothers, and Thomas Edison. Hammond was both a realistic and fanciful inventor; his attractions varied from culinary and music to torpedoes and electronics (John 1).
In New Jersey where John Hammond enlisted at the Lawrenceville School in 1903, his first invention came along. To elude the school’s 8:00 PM rule for lights out, Hammond was delighted to install into a lot of his friend’s dorms a sensor and an over current protection device that automatically turned off the rooms lighting as the door was opened. Hammond was disappointed years afterwards, that he had not listened to Edison’s advice, when a device similar to his became commonplace in vehicles and refrigerators. Edison had told him: Patent all your ideas, and get yourself a good lawyer (John 1).
Jack never lost interest in medieval history, which became one of his passions after he was exposed to castles while enrolled in an English prep school.

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The Hammonds had come back to the United States in late December 1899, precisely on the eve of the new century. Jack did not do to well when he enrolled in school in the U.S., so his father took him in a business appointment to try to remedy things. They went to the latter’ West Orange, New Jersey, laboratory with Thomas Edison, and there Edison took a liking to Jack and gave him a personal tour of the lab. Jack became captivated with inventing and started inventing on his own. He then attended the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University to continue his education. There he met Alexander Graham Bell who would later become his tutor (Dandola 2). At the Sheffield Scientific School he applied himself in radiodynamics and telephony and received a Bachelors in Science (1910). Jack acquired a humble job as a clerk at the U.S. Patent Office in Washington even though he had a privileged education. By doing this he desired to get a good idea of his favorite fields and the current work being completed in them. Hammond talked his father into lending him $250,000 to start a company of his own in Gloucester, MA (John 2).
Hammond started testing with radio-operated remote control in ardor. He laid the groundwork for all following radio control by 1914. He guided a ghost ship around Gloucester Bay by constructing a gyroscope into its receiving system. This Gyrad system of his permitted an unmanned boat to be sent on a successful 120-mile journey from Gloucester to Boston and back. An anti-interference innovation was added, since World War I had just begun, and that would stop others from interfering with his systems signals. Another thing that he invented, that permitted a remote controlled boat to seek out an enemy ship’s searchlights, was a target seeking system, and he also started work on the first radio-guided torpedo (John 2).
Some of the more whimsy inventions of Hammond’s career were a magnetic bottlecap remover, a hypodermic meat baster, a panless stove on whose disposable aluminum surface food was cooked directly, and a failed cure for baldness (John 2). By 1916 he acquired the high regards of the U.S. War Department (John 2). More than 437 patents and 800 inventions are attributed to Hammond (Pettibone 1).
Hammond concentrated on radio transmission after World War I. One of the first people to work in frequency modulation (FM) broadcasting, he also licensed a patent in telephone amplification to Bell Telephone and invented the single-dial radio tuner. Hammond’s most notable invention at the time of the Second World War was a variable-pitch propeller. By adjusting to the conditions of the water that it was going through, the propeller maximized productivity. In the Gothic castle he constructed as his residence in Gloucester, his most impressive work was installed, a 10,000-pipe organ (John 2).
Jack’s inventions obtained him a seat on the Board of Directors of R.C.A. and made him financially self-sufficient. The Franklin Institute dubbed him Father of Radio Control and his museum would declare him to be The World’s Second Greatest Inventor, whereas in real life he ranked sixth behind Edison, who was first (Dandola 3-5). In 1959 the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia presented Hammond with the Elliot Cresson Medal for his input to American inventions. Following that, the Institute of Radio Engineers gave a Medal of Honor to him in 1962 and 1963 (Pettibone 1).
In his latest castle laboratory at the time, Hammond labored with aides on a lot of his inventions. These inventions included, the synchronization of motion pictures, radio dynamic controls, television communications, the dynamic amplifier (today’s stereo), and a cosmic ray detector. John Hays Hammond died in New York on February 12, 1965 at a Board Meeting of R.C.A. and lies at his castle house in Gloucester (Pettibone 1).
John Hammond’s inventions are still impacting history to this day. Many of his inventions are still used in modern times, only in a modified form. If Hammond had not lived, FM radio or radio-operated remote control may not have been invented.
Works Cited

Dandola, John. John Hays Hammond, JR. and His Castle Museum. John Hays Hammond and His Castle Museum. Online. Available http://community-2.webtv.net/JohnDandola/HammondCastle/. 18 Mar. 2004.

John Hays Hammond, JR. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. September 1998. Online. Available http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/hammond.html. 18 Mar. 2004.

Pettibone, John. John Hays Hammond JR. Hammond Castle Museum. Online. Available http://www.hammondcastle.org/Bio.htm 18 Mar. 2004.
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