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In 1912, inventor Lee De Forest was arrested and charged with mail fraud for promoting an early vacuum tube using “absurd and deliberately misleading statements.”
“De Forest has said in many newspapers and over his own signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years,” the district attorney charged. “Based on these absurd and deliberate misleading statements, the misguided public … has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company.”
Two years later, De Forest transmitted his voice from Arlington, Va., to the Eiffel Tower.