W. Rice The
accomplishments and life of C. W. Rice, 1888-1951
Chester Williams Rice
Chester W. Rice was
born into a family of engineers. His father E.W.
Rice was the second president of GE and worked with Elihu Thomson
during the birth of electric power. Chester worked as a consultant
for General Electric. He contributed significantly to the world through
his work. His hornless loudspeaker is the basis for today's most popular
audio speaker. He developed the Hydrogen Cooled Condenser, early submarine
detection systems, and shortwave radio technologies.
General Electric Plant Schenectady in the
heyday of C.W.'s work. 1921
Chester Rice went to school at Albany Academy.
Later on he joined General Electric and had a lab both at the GE plant,
and in his home on Lowell Road. He experimented with speed detection
using what we call "radar" today. In his home lab he had
a galvanometer mounted on a cement pillar in order to make precise
measurements. He developed the sonic altimeter building upon Ernst
Alexanderson's work. Airplanes at the time had no way to tell height
in cloudy conditions. He worked studying acoustics on Honnedaga Lake
at his camp in the Adirondacks. The lake at night was completely silent,
allowing him to do his work. His work with Edward Kellogg resulted
in the world's first powerful dynamic loud speaker.
C. W.'s house in the GE Plot. The GE Plot
was a suburb of Schenectady which contained luxury housing for GE's
managers and scientists. This land is next to Union College.
The Edison Tech Center saved the home lab from
destruction in 2008. The lab may someday be reconstructed as an exhibit.
The first moving coil loud
speaker in the world. This is the first prototype made in 1921. By
1927 the first movie with sound came out "The Jazz Singer".
This loudspeaker was installed at theaters across the country to make
the showing possible. Before this theaters could not amplify sound
to satisfy the requirements of large spaces.
Loudspeaker Model 104
The first commercially sold amplifier (world's
first "home-stereo") using Rice's design in 1926, it sold
for $250 which is equivalent to $3000 in today's US dollars. It offered
one watt of audio power.
Tubes, capacitors, and the dynamic
loudspeaker coil in the back.
The First Hornless Loudspeaker developed
by C.W. Rice and Edward W. Kellogg
There is a video currently being made on Chester,
Edwin, and Martin Rice. The documentary is currently in production
at the Edison Tech Center and is part of the "Wizards
of Schenectady" series.
See the Rice Family Legacy Promo
on YouTube (Video)