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Patents, inventions, and crazy priests…

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Thank’s to this comment I read this article, and was amazed, wow this Priest was a pioneer in radio!

 Not sure if the comment was meant as sarcasm, but I really do love learning new things.  And I do think that countries tend to skew their history.  It was the one thing I remember most from high school, my World Geography/History teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She made us copy notes off of these giant sheets of paper, and we didn’t have a text book. She insisted that text books are rewritten by the views of the writers themselves, and didn’t want us to just have the “Anglo-Euro world view”. World history wasn’t just the European world. I wrote papers on great Chinese and Japanese “heroes”  and studied the tribal history of African tribes.  It’s probably the one class I remember from high school, years later.  It has also helped immensely with Jeopardy 😉

To the meat of this blog though. I thought there was real hope with this. I really had fun researching this, and learning all about the radio. I love Wikipedia like everyone, but let’s be fair, anyone can comment on it. This is why I usually try to double check the facts elsewhere.  Was this priest an inventor of radio?! Why have I not heard of him!

So the facts. I know Tesla was one of those radio guys (from various sci-fi shows I have watched, sad I know…sigh). And Marconi is a familiar name. I figured I should read up on these guys first.  Just that alone was fascinating.  The US Patent office, based on money and self interest, gave Marconi and then took away a patent for radio.  Because in the end Tesla had patented it first, just didn’t have as many connections.  You can read about that on  It was pretty interesting (and short reading).

But the main thing I got from this, is that there were slews of people before them, messing around with various ways of transmitting sound.  These two (namely Marconi) made money and isn’t that the way life is sometimes. It’s not what you invent, but what you invent that is marketable.

So what did this priest invent?

Well this is what:

So let’s be fair. Graham Bell in 1880 patetented a device called the photophone- a phone that didn’t require wires just “light beams”.. pretty cool, and this is the tech that’s used for fiberoptics today.

Robert Landell de Moura it seems used the same theories, but it was different enough that the US Patent office granted him a patent for his wireless phone. He also used light waves. I’m not geeky enough to see the difference between Bell’s and his.

What I do know is he was a priest, and sadly like most priests ahead of their time… and into science he was viewed and labeled a crazy heretic.  But at least he can proudly know that he now sits with the others religion labeled crazy, like Leonardo da Vinci right? 🙂  Moura really truly believed this was ground breaking science, that people would use it to talk to each other during interplanetary travel.  I’ve gotta say, he definitely got it right.  Had he been well connected like Marconi, or just a known scientist like Tesla he really may have gotten somewhere.  Unfortunately, he didn’t, and now he’s just another name in the books of people dabbling in transmitting sound.. like the Kentucky farmer Nathan Stubblefield.  It seems he was also the first person, by about 6 months to transmit the human voice.  So way to go Padre Moura… sorry you haven’t gotten more recognition.

I guess it just goes to show you, knowledge is only as good as what you do with it.


About scrubgrub

I'm just another soul on the internet, posting random thoughts into the ether, because well I love stumbling on other peoples random thoughts, so I figured why not add mine to the mix too. I'm also the mom to two very funny little boys, and how can you not share that with everyone?

4 responses »

  1. Thank you for acknowledging Mrs. Johnson. That was one of the most memorable classes for me also in high school. Her avant garde appoarch to history resonated far greater than just reading the chapter and answering questions. In life it is all about perception and you are going to believe and precieve what you know around you. I feel that is a human nature to feel that something you have a direct experience with is the best. It is like asking someone about a vacation spot/resturant if they have a fantastic time you are going to be intrigued because you want to emulate it.

  2. Great post! Here is more information on this recent post I wrote about the life of Roberto Landell :

  3. Thanks for the post! My comment was not meant as sarcasm. I was really curious to know what you could find out about Landell de Moura. I wanted to know more about him, but I´m to lazy to do a lot of research 🙂

    • Thanks, wasn’t sure, it was fun reading/studying. Appreciated your passion.. I’m passionate. I would say that fewer Brazilians would believe it than American’s.. but yes deep seeded beliefs are hard to change.


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