Nathan Stubblefield

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Nathan B. Stubblefield (1860 - March 28, 1928) was a American inventor and Kentucky melon farmer. It has been claimed that Stubblefield invented the radio before either Nikola Tesla or Guglielmo Marconi, but his device seems to have worked by induction transmission rather than radio transmission (and his general contributions were nearly one decade after Tesla's inital public demonstrations).


Stubblefield was the son of a lawyer. Stubblefield lived in Murray, Kentucky. He was orphaned in 1874. Stubblefield was unschooled. He married 1881. In 1898, Stubblefield receives approval of the patent "Electric battery" (US600457; this patent for electrolytic coil is referred to as an earth battery). In 1902, Stubblefield, reportedly, demonstrates a wireless telephone. This was not publicly demonstrated (as the experiment was, supposedly, observed only by one associate) nor did he release his findings widely.

Stubblefield's business partners ultimately irreparably damaged his developments and left him bankrupt. Stubblefield later lived in a self-imposed isolation in a crude shelter and, eventually, starved himself to death. Stubblefield destroyed every prototype he made. He was buried in the Stubblefield Cemetery in Murray, Kentucky (Calloway County). The cemetery is located in the back yard of the house where he lived.

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