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Biographical entry Allsop, Raymond Cottam (1898 - 1972)


11 March 1898
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
19 March 1972
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Inventor, Naval officer and Radio engineer


Raymond Cottam Allsop was an inventor and pioneer radio engineer. He was involved with radio in Australia from its earliest incarnation and later in life was a vocal advocate for the introduction of television.


In the early 1920s he conducted experimental transmission work for 2BL in the lead up to their launch as Australia's first live radio station.

On his private station 2YL Allsop conducted bold experiments, such as the broadcast of the Big Ben live from London in 1927 and the charting of (Sir) Charles Kingsford Smith's historic flight in the Southern Cross in 1928.

In 1929, Allsop demonstrated his 'Raycophone' sound synchronisation system for movie theatres which, at a tenth of the price, beat the American competition out of the market and was installed in 375 cinemas across Australia.

During both World Wars Allsop served as a naval radio engineer, first as senior wireless telegraph operator in transports (1916-18) and then as engineer lieutenant (1940-43).


Career event - Received experimental licence from the Wireless Institute of Australia
1913 - 1916
Education - Apprentice at Shaw's Maritime Wireless Co.
1916 - 1918
Career position - Senior wireless telegraph operator in transports, Naval Wireless Works
1923 - 1925
Career position - Radio engineer at New Systems Telephones Pty Ltd
1925 - 1929
Career position - Engineer-in-charge at New Systems Telephones Pty Ltd
Career event - Broadcast Big Ben live from London to Australian audiences for the first time on his private station 2YG
Career event - Charted the progress of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's journey in the Southern Cross live to air on 2YG.
Career event - Demonstrated his invention, the sound synchronisation system Raycophone
Career event - Raycophone Ltd. was acquired by Harringtons Ltd.
1930 - 1945
Career position - Director and Chief Engineer, Raycophone Ltd.
Career event - Foundation member of the Institution of Radio Engineers, Australia
Career event - Harringtons Ltd. was acquired by Kodak Pty. Ltd.
Award - Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, United States of America
Award - Fellow, Institution of Radio Engineers, Australia
1940 - 1943
Career position - Engineer lieutenant Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, at the Anti-Submarine School, H.M.A.S. Rushcutter
Career position - Acting Lieutenant Commander, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, at the Anti-Submarine School, H.M.A.S. Rushcutter
Life event - Retirement from Raycophone
1945 - 1957
Career position - Private consultant in radio engineering
Award - Member of the American Institution of Radio Engineers
Award - Member of the British Institution of Radio Engineers
1953 - 1954
Career position - Member of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), in recognition of service to the development of radio.

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Rebecca Rigby