Il Chicago Tribune ha annunciato la morte di Carl Eilers (foto), il papà dell’FM stereo. La sua geniale innovazione basata su una sottoportante pilota usata per attivare un sistema di addizione/sottrazione dei canali stereofonici incapsulati in una stessa portante modulata in frequenza ha rivoluzionato il mondo della radiofonia hi-fi. L’industria musicale deve a questo misconosciuto inventore oltre mezzo secolo di successi nella trasmissione di una seria offerta musicale attraverso la radio. Il sistema escogitato da Eilers, ingegnere della Zenith Electronics, che in seguito lavorò anche sulla tv stereo multicanale, fu adottato ufficialmente dalla FCC nel 1961 dopo una “gara” tra Zenith, GE, Crosley e Halstead. Carl Eilers abitava vicino a Chicago e aveva 83 anni.
Carl G. Eilers 1925 ~ 2008
‘Father’ of FM stereo sound
By Patricia Trebe Special to the Tribune June 25, 2008
When he was a boy, Carl G. Eilers got a glass wireless set from a relative. It captured his imagination and drew him into the world of electronics, where he is often referred to as the father of stereo FM radio and stereo television sound.
A 50-year employee of Zenith Electronics LLC, Mr. Eilers co-developed production of high-fidelity stereo sound over the airwaves, or FM stereo broadcasting. Before 1961 only phonographs could produce the high-quality sound.
That year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Stereo FM Broadcast Standard, which is still in use. “He led the team, but it is fair to say that he is the father of FM stereo,” said John Taylor, vice president of public affairs for Zenith. Mr. Eilers, 83, of River Forest, died Friday, June 20, in his home, apparently of a heart attack.
Mr. Eilers was also co-developer of another key industry standard known as multichannel television sound or stereo TV. “This was based on the same principle Carl had proven earlier with stereo FM, and the Zenith system was adopted by the industry in 1984,” Taylor said.
When Mr. Eilers joined Zenith in 1948 as an engineer in the research department, he started work on subscription television and Zenith Phonevision. “Even then he developed the core concepts that are used today, such as scrambling a signal and you only get an unscrambled signal if you pay for it,” Taylor said.
Born in Fairbury in central Illinois, Mr. Eilers entered the Navy after graduating from high school in 1943. After his discharge, he entered Purdue University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1948.
While at Zenith, he attended night school at Northwestern University, where he received his master’s degree in electrical engineering. By 1961 Mr. Eilers was division chief of circuits and communications research. In 1977 he became manager of research and development.
During Mr. Eilers’ career, he also worked on development of remote controls, laserdisc recording and supplemental audio programming. He also contributed significantly to high-definition television. “He was leader of a group that saw change in the industry three to four years ahead of its time,” said Richard Citta, a former engineer with Zenith. “He was very smart and very knowledgeable.”
Mr. Eilers was granted 21 U.S. patents. “He had an enormous contribution to the industry,” said Wayne Luplow, who was hired by Mr. Eilers and is now a Zenith vice president. Shortly after Mr. Eilers retired in 1997, he returned to Zenith as a consultant and worked with Luplow.
While at Zenith, he attended night school at Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering. By 1961, Eilers was division chief of circuits and communications research. In 1977, he became manager of research and development. Eilers also worked on development of remote controls, laserdisc recording and supplemental audio programming. He also contributed significantly to high-definition television and was granted 21 U.S. patents, according to Zenith.
Eilers retired in 1997 but returned as a consultant for the company, which is based in Lincolnshire, Ill. Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Sandra; a son, John; and a daughter, Janet Ames.