Fleming's oscillation valves, c 1903.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm

Fleming's oscillation valves, c 1903.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


As well as being a pioneer in the application of electricity to lighting and heating on a large scale, John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945) invented the thermionic diode or valve. His invention was a major step forward in wireles technology as it was considerably more efficient as a radio wave detector than coherers or magnetic detectors. Valves became fundamental components in radios, as well as television sets and computers for 50 years, before being superseded by the transistor.

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