Episode 20 – Simon Blumlein on Alan Blumlein

Alan Dower Blumlein
Alan’s son, Simon Blumlein

In a bonus episode to round off Series 2, Dave and James talk to Simon Blumlein about his father Alan Dower Blumlein, the extraordinary man who among others things invented stereo sound.

Alan Dower Blumlein was an electronic engineer and one of the most significant inventors in the first half of the twentieth century, being responsible for 128 patents in his short life. He was invloved in the early days of telephony before joining the Columbia Graphophone Company which in 1931 merged with The Gramophone Company to create EMI.

Whilst at EMI, Alan invented a whole series of technological advances to improve the recording process but perhaps his most well known invention was stereo sound.

Never limited to one area of electronics, Alan was also instrumental in the successful development of television by EMI/Marconi and Simon tells of his father’s exploits helping get BBC television off the ground at Alexandra Palance – stories that would make a modern day health and safety representative queasy with apprehension.

He also played a significant though ultimately tragic part in the development of radar during the Second World War. Sadly the plane in which he was condusting trials with the new radar equipment crashed in June 1942 killing all who were on board, including Alan. He left behind a devastated wife and two young sons, Simon and David.

Simon shares some very poignant memories of his father, who he lost when he was six years old, as well as proudly explaining some of the many significant contributions his father made to twentieth century science and electronic technology.

This episode was edited by Andy Hetherington.

The Sound Of The Hound is powered by EMI Archives Trust.

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