Hugo Gernsback

1925 - Science and invention - Vol. 13, No 3
Year of birth, place
1884, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Year of death, place
1967, New York City, United States
Role at the ZKM
in the collection

Born in Luxembourg, Hugo Gernsback (1884–1967), whose family originated from Baden, emigrated to the USA in 1904, where he founded The Electro Importing Company a few years later. As early as 1908, he published numerous magazines on technical topics and inventions such as »Modern Electrics«, »Electrical Experimenter« and »Science and Invention«. Not only did the best minds and engineers of the time, from Nikola Tesla to Lee de Forest and Edwin Howard Armstrong, publish in these magazines, but they already contained many instructions on how to build technical devices yourself, which intensively promoted radio amateurism. In this way, Gernsback had a significant influence on the population in the USA who were interested in new technical inventions and experiments and gave valuable suggestions for experimental work in the technical field, whereby the field of wireless telegraphy (radio and radio technology) was always given special attention. Many of his visionary "prophecies" have become reality today, including solar power plants, flat-screen TVs and radars. Particularly famous are the »Teleyeglasses« from 1963, which Gernsback designed as early as 1936 and which obviously anticipated the head-mounted displays of Ivan Sutherland and others.
With his novel »Ralph 124C41+«, published in 1911–1912, and the publication of the magazines »Amazing Stories« (1926–1929) and »Wonder Stories« (1929–1936), Gernsback founded the modern genre of science fiction literature.


The ZKM | Karlsruhe owns a collection of about 120 magazines by Hugo Gernsback from the years 1916 to 1948.