Pratt, Haraden

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1891-07-18
Death 1969-08-01

Biographical notes:

Biographical Information

Haraden Pratt

Haraden Pratt was born in San Francisco, California on July 18, 1891. His mother and father, who had both been telegraph operators, taught him telegraphy at age six. By 1905 he had constructed his first amateur wireless receiving station, in the attic of his parents' house.

In 1910 he began attending the University of California, Berkeley where he set up a radio communication laboratory. During vacations he worked as a wireless telegraph operator and installer and had extensive experience with wireless installations on ships. After receiving his bachelors degree in electrical engineering in 1914, he became a design and operating engineer for American Marconi Company, with his first job being their Asst Engineer at their high power trans-Pacific Bolinas transmitting station.

After resigning from American Marconi in February 1915, Pratt was appointed to the position of Expert Radio Aid for the Navy at Mare Island Navy Yard. In July 1918, he was transferred to Washington, where he had authority over the construction and maintenance of all high power radio stations. From 1920 to 1922 he was the acting chief engineer at Federal Telegraph Company. The next few years were spent at jobs in and out of the radio field, including development of radio aids for air navigation at the Bureau of Standards. In 1928 he was made chief engineer and later vice president of Mackay Radio and Telegraph Company.

Actively interested in radio societies--he had joined both the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1914--he was made director in 1935 and president in 1938 of the Institute of Radio Engineers. In 1953 he became chairman of the History Committee of the IRE and its successor, the IEEE.

During World War II he was the chief of the NDRC's Division 13, on Communications. From 1945 to 1951 he was vice president and chief engineer of the Commercial Cable Co., All American Cables and Radio, Inc., the American Cable and Radio Corporation, and held, as well, other offices in other companies of the International Telephone and Telegraph Company.

In 1951 he was chosen to be telecommunication advisor to the President, a post which he held until 1953. From 1953 to 1958 he was an associate with the aviation radio Dualex Corporation.

In 1958 he retired from business life and was able to devote full-time to his interest in wireless and early radio history until his death in 1969.

From the guide to the Haraden Pratt Papers, 1908-1969, (The Bancroft Library)

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