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Radar, who invented it?


Hülsmeyer and the early days of radar inventions, sense and nonsense,
 a survey

originally titled:

Christian Hülsmeyer and about the early days of radar inventions,

a survey

Part I (pdf, 1.6 MB)

Please consider my, recent, query on "Günther Mannheim" who was Heinrich Mannheim's son, down at this page. Notice also: Düsseldorf-Aachen talk 2006 (PDF-ppt)!

We have had much luck, that we have approached the Cologne (Köln) Municipal Archives (Stadtarchiv) in 2004 and 2006, as this is now impossible since. Owing to the recent total collapse of their office in Spring 2009. It is rather likely, that many of their invaluable treasures will be lost, or at least much being severely damaged. Or, for decades not accesseble! For us most significant are the findings related to the Dom Hotel and Hülsmeyer's advertisements (Kölner Stadtanzeiger), calling for participants in his projects in 1901 and 1903. To some extent, also the finding of an unknown newspaper report. As well as the finding of Heinrich Mannheim's death announcement of 15 January 1923, on microfilm (Kölner Stadtanzeiger). Regard also my Düsseldorf-Aachen talk of 2006

On 10 September 2014 I received an e-mail from Markus Kempf, in which he put forward that the Greek meaning differs a bit from what is mentioned in the text. As to prevent for 'changes in the text layout' his comment is:


As we have seen before, TELE stands for: - far off or covering a distance and MOBILO stands for: - capable of moving or being moved; SKOP is equal to SCOPE which refers to the area covered by an activity.

This is not the right explanation. SKOP has nothing to do with "scope"

but is derived from the greek words of skopein or skopeo, with the meaning of to look at or watching at something. An area covered by an activity is propably looked at, explaining the etymology of the english word.




The objective of this publication is to recall some aspects of the course of history with respect to early radar developments.

It was on the 9 June 1904, just a hundred years ago, that the twenty-two-year-old Christian Hülsmeyer demonstrated his radar-like apparatus on board the ships-tender Columbus in the harbour of Rotterdam. His audience was, in the first place, the technical representatives of the main Atlantic shipping companies which at that time were from Holland, Britain, France and Germany. The demonstration was arranged to take place during a Nautical Conference, which was hosted by the Holland-Amerika-Lijn (HAL) shipping company. The conference chairman was Mr Wierdsma, the CEO of that shipping company, whom, by his personal involvement, made it possible for Hülsmeyer to demonstrate his Anti-ship-colliding system to an international gathering of shipping experts. We will also look briefly at Hülsmeyer's inventions and the commercial implications. Heinrich Mannheim. Notice also my: Düsseldorf-Aachen talk 2006 (PDF-ppt), with additional findings in 2006.

It was believed until recently, that Hülsmeyer's revolutionary Telemobiloskop apparatus came too early, as technology could not yet cope with the very technical difficulties. This may well be true though, recent discoveries in a Dutch archive, allow us to get an unprecedented inside view as to what the circumstances were in those days.

To understand the course of this brief story, we have to start in 1864 with Maxwell's famous theoretical equations and consider its scientific proof, between 1884 and 1888, by Heinrich Hertz.

Then we will follow Hülsmeyer's struggle to establish a commercial market for his radar-like inventions. (Radar I)

Additionally, we continue with some significant inventions in the 1920s and, finally, we enter the 1930s when the time became right for innovating radar technologies. We will omit, on this occasion, the many well-known radar stories as these have been dealt with by so many others. (Radar II, introduction)

Please consider the acknowledgement and copyright information on the pages 15 and 16 of chapter II ! (Radar II)

Arthur O. Bauer


Diemen, 22 December 2004

The Netherlands

Those whose commitment made this publication possible, met in Düsseldorf on 29 January 2005 in  Hülsmeyer's house (both photographs taken in front of it). From left to right: Bernd Hülsmeyer, Adri de Keijzer, Reinhold Liebich, Arthur O. Bauer, Karin Hecker and Reinhard Dellenbusch. (numbers 1, 4 and 5, are Hülsmeyer's family members).

Memorial tablet (Gedenktafel) at the façade of Hülsmeyer's house in Düsseldorf

Hülsmeyer's voice; radio interview, recorded in Düsseldorf in April 1954,
commemorating the anniversary of
50 Years of Radar


Click on the link and it should start


Query on the whereabouts of relatives of "Günther Mannheim", whose father was Christian Hülsmeyer's business partner Heinrich Mannheim of Cologne, during late 1903 up to late 1905.


Since November 2010 I have started with keeping an Agenda; which is dealing with what we are doing - what plans we for the future have - as well as going back into the past years. I have recalled in the 2004 chapter my memories of this intriguing Hülsmeyer project. It is giving a brief account of what was undertaken that year. It passes on some background information.


Consider also: Düsseldorf-Aachen talk 2006 (PDF-ppt)

Consider also the replica of Hülsmeyer's coherer receiver: Archive displays

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