Roman R. Gonsett: Communications
Most of you have answering machines for your telephones, but do you know when the very first answering machine was invented? Believe it or not, it was in the year 1912.
A man by the name of Roman R. Gonsett, living in Edmonton, Alberta, invented the first telephone answering machine. Roman was an electronic inventor who was ahead of his time. That does not mean he was able to see into the future, but rather that he was able to anticipate the future by looking at the present.
Roman moved (immigrated) to Eastern Canada from the Ukraine in 1907. Roman made his way West to Alberta, and married Irene Stefanyna of Chipman, Alberta before moving to Edmonton. It was in Edmonton that Roman set up his laboratory and began experimenting with electronic devices.
Because Canada was still quite isolated at this time, Roman realized that his inventions would not experience much success. In 1916, he decided that he needed to move to California, so he packed up his laboratory and family and headed south.
In California, Roman became quite successful and earned the nickname the “Ukrainian Edison.” Roman was able to secure patents for nearly one hundred of his inventions! These included: two-way radios, electric scissors, and an aircraft computer that could measure the weight and balance of an aircraft while it was flying.
Even though Roman R. Gonsett never held any Canadian patents, his inventions were important enough that the United States Navy gave him a commendation for assisting with equipment design during the Second World War.
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