Second, read the story – –
It all started with a skin flick …
In 1933, a beautiful, young Austrian woman took
off her clothes for a movie director. She ran
through the woods, naked. She swam in a lake,
naked, pushing well beyond the social norms
of the period.
The most popular movie in 1933 was
King Kong. But everyone in Hollywood
was talking about that scandalous movie
with the gorgeous, young Austrian woman.
Louis B. Mayer, of the giant studio MGM,
said she was the most beautiful woman in
the world. The film was banned practically
everywhere, which of course made it even
more popular and valuable. Mussolini
reportedly refused to sell his copy at any price.
The star of the film, called Ecstasy, was
Hedwig Kiesler. She said the secret of her
beauty was “to stand there and look stupid.”
In reality, Kiesler was anything but stupid.
She was a genius. She’d grown up as the
only child of a prominent Jewish banker.
She was a math prodigy. She excelled at
science. As she grew older, she became
ruthless, using all the power her body and
mind gave her.
Between the sexual roles she played, her
tremendous beauty, and the power of her
intellect, Kiesler would confound the men in
her life, including her six husbands, two of
the most ruthless dictators of the 20th century,
and one of the greatest movie producers
Her beauty made her rich for a time.
She is said to have made – and spent –
$30 million in her life.
But her greatest accomplishment resulted
from her intellect, and her invention
continues to shape the world we live in today.
You see, this young Austrian starlet would
take one of the most valuable technologies
ever developed right from under Hitler’s nose.
After fleeing to America , she not only became
a major Hollywood star, her name sits on
one of the most important patents ever
granted by the U.S. Patent Office.
Today, when you use your cell phone or,
over the next few years, as you experience
super-fast wireless Internet access
(via something called “long-term evolution”
or “LTE” technology), you’ll be using an extension
of the technology a 20- year-old actress first
conceived while sitting at dinner with Hitler.
At the time she made Ecstasy, Kiesler was
married to one of the richest men in Austria,
Friedrich Mandl was Austria’s leading arms
maker. His firm would become a key supplier
to the Nazis.
Mandl used his beautiful young wife as a
showpiece at important business dinners
with representatives of the Austrian, Italian,
and German fascist forces. One of Mandl’s
favorite topics at these gatherings, which
included meals with Hitler and Mussolini,
was the technology surrounding
radio-controlled missiles and torpedoes.
Wireless weapons offered far greater ranges
than the wire-controlled alternatives that
prevailed at the time.
Kiesler sat through these dinners
“looking stupid,” while absorbing everything
As a Jew, Kiesler hated the Nazis.
She abhorred her husband’s business ambitions.
Mandl responded to his willful wife by
imprisoning her in his castle,
Schloss Schwarzenau. In 1937, she managed
to escape. She drugged her maid, Snuck out
of the castle wearing the maid’s clothes, and
sold her jewelry to finance a trip to London ..
(She got out just in time, for in 1938,
Germany annexed Austria. The Nazis
seized Mandl’s factory (He was half Jewish).
Mandl fled to Brazil. Later, he became an
adviser to Argentina’s iconic populist
president, Juan Peron.)
In London, Kiesler arranged a meeting
with Louis B. Mayer. She signed a long-term
contract with him, becoming one of MGM’s
biggest stars. She appeared in more than
20 films. She was a co-star to Clark Gable,
Judy Garland, and even Bob Hope.
Each of her first seven MGM movies was
But Kiesler cared far more about fighting
the Nazis than about making movies.
At the height of her fame, 1942, she developed
a new kind of communications system,
optimized for sending coded messages
that couldn’t be “jammed.” She was building
a system that would allow torpedoes and
guided bombs to always reach their targets.
She was building a system to kill Nazis.
By the 1940s, both the Nazis and the
Allied forces were using the kind of
single-frequency radio-controlled technology
Kiesler’s ex-husband had been peddling.
The drawback of this technology was that
the enemy could find the appropriate
frequency and “jam” or intercept the signal,
thereby interfering with the missile’s intended
Kiesler’s key innovation was to
“change the channel.” It was a way of encoding
a message across a broad area of the
wireless spectrum. If one part of the
spectrum was jammed, the message would
still get through on one of the other
frequencies being used. The problem was,
she could not figure out how to synchronize
the frequency changes on both the receiver
and the transmitter. To solve the problem,
she turned to perhaps the world’s first
techno-musician, George Anthiel.
Anthiel was an acquaintance of Kiesler who
achieved some notoriety for creating
intricate musical compositions. He
synchronized his melodies across twelve
player pianos, producing stereophonic
sounds no one had ever heard before.
Kiesler incorporated Anthiel’s technology
for synchronizing his player pianos.
Then, she was able to synchronize the
frequency changes between a weapon’s
receiver and its transmitter.
On August 11, 1942, U.S.
Patent No. 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil
and “Hedy Kiesler Markey”, which was
Kiesler’s married name at the time.
Most of you won’t recognize the name Kiesler.
And no one would remember the name
Hedy Markey. But it’s a fair bet than anyone
reading this newsletter of a certain age
will remember one of the great beauties
of Hollywood’s golden age ~Hedy Lamarr !
That’s the name Louis B. Mayer gave to
his prize actress. That’s the name his
movie company made famous.
Meanwhile, almost no one knows
Hedwig Kiesler – aka Hedy Lamarr –
was one of the great pioneers of wireless
communications. Her technology was
developed by the U.S. Navy, which has
used it ever since.
You’re probably using Lamarr’s technology,
too. Her patent sits at the foundation of
“spread spectrum technology,” which you
use every day when you log on to a wi-fi
network or make calls with your
Bluetooth-enabled phone. It lies at the heart
of the massive investments being made
right now in so-called fourth-generation
“LTE” wireless technology. This next
generation of cell phones and cell towers
will provide tremendous increases to
wireless network speed and quality, by
spreading wireless signals across the
entire available spectrum. This kind of
encoding is only possible using the kind
of frequency switching that Hedwig Kiesler
And now you know, “the rest of the story”
and here is a web site if you would like to learn more ….