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Riggs, Alger S. Revolutionary radio circuit

Ernst Erb Jürgen Stichling Bernhard Nagel 
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Forum » Radio- and technical History » Technical history: 1920 and later » Riggs, Alger S. Revolutionary radio circuit
Fin Stewart
Fin Stewart
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29.Sep.20 06:18
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Alger S Riggs is documented as being from South Carolina in the U. S. (some references show North Carolina)  and being born in 1900. The 1940 U. S. Census shows him living in Chicago. At the age of 29 he designed a revolutionary radio circuit and tubes to go with it. In previous years (pre 1929) he had studied and obtained a degree in Physics in Holland. Also for some years he was research director for a large radio and phonograph manufacturer. He died in Santa Monica, California in 1976. 

The invention is well documented and was widely reported in various magazines in 1927-30, including the November 29 issue of Australian magazine "Wireless Weekly", of 1929. Photographs of the set and tubes are in most articles but these are all of an unreproductive condition.

The Wireless Weekly article states that forty two radio engineers, patent attorneys and other interested parties viewed a demonstration of the set in the apartment of Harris Hammond in New York City. Some doubt was expressed that the circuit would work and if it did, it might be many years before it might be accepted. Statements were read by two senior patent experts, one a patent attorney and the other a former Commissioner of Patents,  

The circuit was claimed by Riggs to have no no negative grid bias, grid leaks or condensers, no TRF, regeneration or reflex and no neutralization. The circuit details were a guarded secret. Tubes were of a new design  and Riggs is shown holding three of them in one of the photographs. One of these tubes appears to be the same size as the UY247 tube and is assumed to be the power amplifier tube. No type numbers or manufacturer is known. It was also claimed that these tubes would not work in conventional circuits, nor that  conventional tubes would work in a Riggs set.

It was evident, from the demonstration, that the set could work successfully but there was still some skeptisism that as no details of its design were made available, its future was doubtful.

Riggs was claimed to have had some forty patents attributed to him. Three of these are:

1,901,121 for a "Radio Receiving System" applied for March 27, 1927 and granted March 14th, 1933

2,096,861 for a "Rectifying System" applied for amarch 2nd, 1927 and granted October 26th, 1937

1,893,563 for a "Selective Amplifier" applied for June 8th, 1929 and granted January 10th, 1933.

The first patent above showa a full diagram of a seven tube set.   

Radio News, April 1927 has an article written by Riggs entitled "The Electric Hi-Q Receiver" "A Set which operates directly from the lamp socket". Made by Hammarlund Manufacturing Company,this is a seven tube set (no tube type numbers given) and the review is very comprehensive. Riggs authored several more articles in the following years.



1) Wireless Weekly (Australia) pages 7 & 8, November 29th, 1929

2) Radio News ecember 1929

3) Popular Science, page 52, January 1930

4) Popular Mechanics, page 310, February 1930

5) Patents as above

6) Radio News pages 1230 - 1233, April 1927 

Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
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30.Oct.20 10:36
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If it would have been useful, it would have made its way or would at least be known better.

Also in technical development one knows hoax, fraud and / or false facts or conclusions. Such "hoax stories" can also be followed shortly before and after successful semiconductor technology. Today it seems to be part of politics ...


Mark Hippenstiel
Mark Hippenstiel
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31.Oct.20 00:27
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Here are some images:

(Popular Mechanics, Febr. 1930)



(Popular Science, Jan. 1930)

There are no higher resolution images available of those sources.