This is a short treatise by Richard B. Johnson, author of Abominable Firebug [5] 

Once the “world wide web” started use as a source of information, it became obvious to me that the information presented was often completely unlike anything that I had learned in a classroom. At first, I ignored the obvious, later it started to bother me. Then I realized that those who could profit from it were rewriting History, especially the History of Technology.

Credit where credit is due
That is when I decided to take credit for some of my many contributions to technology. Somebody else may claim that they invented this or that, but when they claim they invented something that I not only invented but also reduced to practice many years before they were born I am not going to idly sit by and let the history be rewritten. Call it arrogance if you will, but there is no way that some Japanese “inventors” should lay claim to some invention like RLE that was reduced to practice before they were born. [1] 

Early experimentation
As an early electronics experimenter, there were many things that I “invented.” However, I would later learn that many of these discoveries were not inventions at all because they were previously discovered, and sometimes in actual use. I had simply been unaware of their existence. For instance, I invented the cathode-coupled multi-vibrator circuit [2]  when I broke the lead off the only coupling capacitor I had left. The usual multi-vibrator circuit used two capacitors to connect opposite grids and plates of two triode vacuum tubes. With only one good capacitor, I found another way to couple the two sections of the vacuum tube triodes together. This information was not present in any of my reference literature. Therefore, I felt that I had made a great invention. My invention could remove ½ of the capacitors in all the multi-vibrator circuits worldwide, perhaps saving millions of dollars in the production of television sets alone. Nevertheless, one of my childhood mentors, an amateur radio operator, showed me the error of my ways by finding the schematic of my “invention” in a common reference manual.

True invention or arrogance
However, some of my inventions were real inventions, not yet invented. Those, which were truly useful such as the Acoustic Gyroscope, [3]  the Rubber Ducky Antenna [4]  and RLE encoding, [1]  really do not belong to anybody else because, at the time of their conception and reduction to practice, they were truly new and useful.

Because I truly created this intellectual property, which by the way I gave to the entire world, I detest somebody who was not even born yet claiming that they invented it. You may think that my claims of invention and technological accomplishment represent demonstrated arrogance. However, if I do not lay claim to my works somebody else will. If that is being arrogant, then I am arrogant, but you get a chance to decide for yourself.

   1. Johnson’s RLE implementation at Haystack
   2. Cathode coupled multi-vibrator
   3. Acoustic Gyroscope
   4. Rubber Ducky Antenna
   5. Johnson, Richard B. (2006). Abominable Firebug. iUniverse, ISBN 0-595-386667-9

External links
Author’s website

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