John Hays Hammond, Jr. bigraphy, stories - Inventors

John Hays Hammond, Jr. : biography

April 13, 1888 - February 12, 1965

John Hays Hammond, Jr. & Sr., 1922 John Hays Hammond, Jr. (April 13, 1888 – February 12, 1965) was an American inventor known as "The Father of Radio Control" and son of mining engineer John Hays Hammond, Sr..


Examples of Hammond's 400+ U.S. patents:

10/21/1919 - System of Teledynamic Control (1,275,741) 5/20/1922 - System for Radio Control of Moving Bodies (1,420,258) 11/6/1928 - Submarine sound transmission (1,500,243) 3/18/1929 - Multi-channel radio system (1,717,662) 12/29/1931 - Secret Radio Communication (1,838,762) 5/19/1931 - Paravane Torpedo (1,806,346) 12/14/1936 - Gaseous Detector of Radiant Energy (1,610,371) 7/11/1944 - Radio Alarm System (2,343,499)

In popular culture

His castle was investigated by TAPS in 2012 for paranormal activity and this was shown on the TV show Ghost Hunters.


Born in San Francisco, California, his family moved to South Africa and the Transvaal in 1893. His father was active as a mining engineer in the fabulous mines of South Africa. In 1898, the family moved to England, where young Hammond fell in love with castles and life in earlier times. The family returned to the United States at the turn of the 20th century.

At the age of twelve, Hammond accompanied his father on a business trip to Thomas Edison’s laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. Upon being introduced to Edison, the boy asked so many questions that the inventor gave him a personal tour of the complex and assumed the role of mentor. The two would remain in contact for the rest of Edison’s life. While studying at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, Hammond became interested in the new study of radio waves and he was taken under the wing of Alexander Graham Bell. Bell also became his mentor and the two would remain close friends until Bell’s death.

After graduation from Yale in 1910, Hammond took a job in the U.S. Patent Office. His strategy was simple: having learned from Edison that "inventing had to be a money-making proposition, where better to learn what fields were up-and-coming than in the Patent Office?" After he became an authority on the patent process, he founded the Hammond Radio Research Laboratory on his father’s estate in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In total, he is credited with more than 800 foreign and domestic patents on more than 400 inventions (the exact number of inventions is vague due to how credit was listed on the forms) mostly in the fields of radio control and naval weaponry.

He served on the Board of Directors of RCA and a listing of his professional colleagues and society friends reads like a Who’s Who of the rich and famous. Aside from his inherited wealth, his inventions brought Hammond an additional fortune. Between the years 1926 and 1929, he built an actual castle replete with drawbridge to serve as his home, laboratory, and showplace for his collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance art. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Hammond Castle is now a museum. His biography, Living in the Past, Looking to the Future by John Dandola, was published in 2004. Hammond is also prominently featured as a character in Dandola’s mystery novel, Dead by All Appearances, set during World War II.

He was awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal from The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1959.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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