Robert Weitbrecht's Life and Accomplishments
By: Steven Goering
Doctor Robert Haig Weitbrecht's sixty-three years of life included triumphs of immense importance. His beginnings in California and interest in radio paved the way for his inventiveness and success. Taking a look at his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood will help shed light on what has occurred over the last hundred years in deaf technology and culture. As a co-inventor of the telephone typewriter, or TTY, he changed the way the deaf and hard of hearing use the phone and live throughout their daily lives.
Weitbrecht was born in Orange, California on April 11, 1920. He was deaf at birth, yet his family did not know until a short time later. While growing up he attended a school for the deaf but that did not last long as he began home schooling with a private tutor. Some sources say he did not have a lot of close contact with the deaf community in his younger years; there is speculation that his mother was a bit overprotective but that is completely subjective. The first college he attended was Santa Ana Junior College. Robert later attended the University of California Berkley for astronomy as he was fond of the stars and graduated with high honors. To conclude his college career he earned his masters degree from the University of Chicago also in astronomy. He earned the title of doctor from Gallaudet University. This education helped him with many of his noteworthy achievements.
Robert was very interested in ham radio and the communication opportunities it brought him. His interest in the radio technology prompted most of his technological contributions. He is accredited with further refinement of the Geiger Counter, a device used to measure radiation. During World War II he participated in the Manhattan Project which involved building the first atomic bomb. More noteworthy and important for the deaf community, at forty-three years old the doctor developed an acoustic...