Skip to main content
A B C D(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) E F G H I(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) J(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) K L M N O P Q(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) R S T U(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) V W X(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) Y(/People and pioneers/Pioneers/) Z

Pupin, Michael Idvorsky Pupin, Michael Idvorsky (1858-1935)

Michael Pupin developed the technique of 'loading' telephone cables, which madelong-distance telephone calls possible.

He was born in Serbia, which at the time was a turbulent nation sandwiched between the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. He decided to find a new life in the USA, where he arrived aged 16 as a penniless immigrant. Despite this he managed to graduate from New York's Columbia University 9 years later.

He developed a keen interest in science, which led him to study further in Cambridge and Berlin. He returned to the USA in 1901 and was made Professor of Electro-Mechanics at Columbia, where he stayed until 1931.

Pupin's introduction of 'loading' allowed the phone network to expand across far greater distances before amplifiers were invented.

His work also included developing electrical resonators, designing early radio transmitters and expanding theories to make electrical networks perform better. As a sideline, he developed the fluoroscope - a screen that allows x-rays to be looked at directly.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...