Captain Henry Joseph Round (2 June 1881,
Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England–17 August 1966, Bognor Regis)
was one of the early pioneers of radio and received 117 patents. He
was a personal assistant to Guglielmo Marconi.
Henry Joseph Round was the eldest child of Joseph and
Gertrude Round and was born on 2 June 1881. He spent his early years
in the small town of Kingswinford which is in Staffordshire,
School And Work
Henry Round undertook much of his early education at
Cheltenham Grammar School. He later attended the Royal College of
Science where he gained first class honors degree.
joined the Marconi Company in 1902 not long after Marconi had made
his transatlantic wireless transmission. He was sent to the USA
where he experimented with a variety of different aspects of radio
technology focusing on technologies such as dust cored tuning
inductors. He also performed some experiments with transmission
paths over land and sea at different times of the day and
investigated direction finding for which he used a frame antenna.
Where LED's Began
In some later experiments with cat's whisker
detectors using a variety of substances, he passed current through
them and noticed that some actually gave off light - the first time
a light-emitting diode had been seen. Round reported this in the
February 9, 1907 edition of Electrical World. This is the first
known report of the effect of the light-emitting diode.
" To the Editors of Electrical World:
SIRS: During an investigation of the unsymmetrical
passage of current through a contact of carborundum and other
substances a curious phenomenon was noted. On applying a potential
of 10 volts between two points on a crystal of carborundum, the
crystal gave out a yellowish light.
Only one of two specimens
could be found which gave a bright glow on such a low voltage, but
with 110 volts a large number could be found to glow. In some
crystals only edges gave the light and others gave instead of a
yellow light green, orange or blue.
In all cases tested the glow
appears to come from the negative pole, a bright blue-green spark
appearing at the positive pole.
In a single crystal, if contact
is made near the center with the negative pole, and the positive
pole is put in contact at any other place, only one section of the
crystal will glow and that same section wherever the positive pole
There seems to be some connection between the
above effect and the e.m.f. produced by a junction of carborundum
and another conductor when heated by a direct or alternating
current; but the connection may be only secondary as an obvious
explanation of the e.m.f. effect is the thermoelectric one.
writer would be glad of references to any published account of an
investigation of this or any allied phenomena.
New York, N. Y.
His Part In War
The First World War broke out in 1914 and Round was seconded to
Military Intelligence with the rank of Captain. Using his experience
in direction finding he set up a chain of direction finding stations
along the Western Front. These stations proved so successful that
another set was installed in England. Then in May 1916 they were
monitoring transmissions from the German Navy at anchor at
Wilhelmshaven. However on 30 May they reported a 1.5 degree change
in the direction of the signals being perceived. When they heard of
this the British Admiralty, the body controlling the Navy ordered
the British fleet to set sail and engae them in Battle. The
following day the Battle of Jutland was fought. It was the largest
sea battle of all time.
For all his services
during the war, Round was awarded the Military Cross. After the war
Round returned to civilian life and became involved in radio
transmitters and was heavily involved in the first broadcasts made
in the United Kingdom.
For all his
successes, Round was made Chief Engineer at Marconi in 1921, but
some years later he decided to set up his own consultancy.
With war breaking out again in 1939, the British
Government again called on his services. This time he was involved
in ASDIC (Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee) which is
known today as Sonar.
Round died in
August 1966 in a nursing home in Bognor Regis after a short illness.