Inductee Profile

Clarence Weston Hansell

From the age of thirteen he served during summer vacations as a farm hand on various Indiana farms. In 1917 he spent the summer as a lathe operator for Ross Gear and Tool Company in Lafayette, Indiana. In the summer of 1918 he took an operations training course with the Commonwealth Edison Company in Chicago. In the fall of the same year he was enrolled in the Student Army Training Corps of the U.S. Army, stationed at Purdue University, until after the end of the First World War.

After graduation, from June 1919 to May 1920, he was employed in the test training course of the General Electric Company at Schenectady, N.Y., during a portion of which time he was in charge of factory tests of Alexanderson high frequency generators. Urged by the U.S. Navy, the General Electric Company organized and incorporated the Radio Corporation of America for the U.S. application of Alexanderson's generators. From May to September 1920 he was in the Radio Engineering Department of General Electric Company, engaged in testing and placing in service trans-oceanic radio transmitting stations for the Radio Corporation of America. Some of this work was done at the former Marconi Station, located on the Raritan River between New Brunswick and Bound Brook, New Jersey.

From September 1920 until 1929 he was employed by the Radio Corporation of America, during which time he was engaged in developing and placing in service the transmitting facilities with which RCA established its world-wide public service radio communications business. His activity was taken over by RCA Communications, Inc. in 1929 and then by RCA Laboratories in 1942.

In 1925 Hansell founded the RCA Radio Transmission Laboratory at Rocky Point, Long Island, N.Y. This laboratory developed the world's largest radio transmitting station, which was located adjacent to its facilities.

The Rocky Point Laboratory had an active part in RCA developments of radio and television broadcasting and radio relaying systems, which have grown to services of great magnitude. During the Second World War the laboratory was engaged in development of radio communications equipment, radio navigational equipment, and radar and low drag antenna systems for high speed military aircraft.

In 1932 Hansell became interested in ionized air and its biological effects after having observed powerful effects produced by strongly ionized air upon one of his associates in the Rocky Point Laboratory. In 1945, while serving as a scientific investigator with the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee in Germany for the U.S. Government, he obtained and reported information concerning air ionization investigations there. This led to an association with Mr. W. Wesley Hicks of San Francisco. President of Wesix Electric Heater Company, Mr. Hicks soon became one of the most active promoters and the most effective supporter of air ionization research in the United States. This association continued until the death of Mr. Hicks on December 8, 1960. Many others were brought into the field and have made important contributions. The present result is that the utilization of artificially ionized air seems to be ready to assume great importance in air conditioning and in therapeutics.

A nonprofit membership organization called The American Institute of Medical Climatology has been organized in Philadelphia. One of its purposes is to promote air ionization medical research and to spread knowledge of its results. Hansell was General Chairman for an International Conference on Ionization of the Air sponsored by the Institute in 1961, at the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia.

Hansell was a Fellow of RCA Laboratories, The American Institute of Electrical Engineers and The Institute of Radio Engineers. He was a member of the Franklin Institute, Electrochemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, and American Institute of Medical Climatology. He was the author and co-author of technical papers and was issued more than 300 United States patents and many more in other countries.

Before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, in 1958, he was President of the Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 6, Port Jefferson, Long Island, N.Y. He also was President of the Port Jefferson area Planning Commission and was a member of the Port Jefferson Rotary Club. Mr. Hansell retired from RCA in 1963 and moved to Florida. Until his death in 1967 he spent a great deal of time in Port Jefferson, N.Y., with his married daughter and her family. During his retirement he worked on several manuscripts on ionization and the nature of energy and matter.

Recent Addition:

According to the book "City of Light" by Jeff Hecht, The Story of Fiber Optics (Oxford, 1999, updated edition 2004), in late 1926 Hansell sketched out an idea for transmitting images through a bundle of flexible glass fibers, for which he in 1930 received US Patent 1,751,584. This is the basic concept of fiber-optic bundles used in medical imaging today, and Hansell was the first to invent such a device, although there is no evidence found that he ever made such a bundle of fibers. He is mentioned on Jeff Hecht's fiber-optic timeline at

Hansell also seems to have invented the concept of the inkjet printer. A student thesis at credits Hansell with that invention in 1929, although it does not give a clear reference pointing to that date.Jeff Hecht mentions other references on his later work on inkjet printing.

Clearly Hansell was quite an inventor.