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Born in the Midwest and educated on the East Coast, Lee de Forest had spent most of his early inventive years in Chicago and New York City. In 1911, he moved west to California, living for a time in what would be later known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, and Stanford University. Less than 25 miles south of San Francisco, he will find in this tiny town a research and development environment where he can improve upon his basic Audion. Working with other progressive engineers and Stanford professors, he is allowed some freedom and the support to discover new uses for his three-element vacuum tube. And there will be the usual de Forest drama. He’ll write poetry about his love for the natural beauty of California, and for a brief time he will live an idyllic inventor’s life, but that will soon be interrupted by a warrant for his arrest, a return to a life of poverty, and embarrassment at the San Francisco World’s Fair. On the bright side he will travel to New York and meet and marry his third temporary wife.
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