Lloyd Espenschied

Lloyd Espenschied

From left to right are: Lloyd Espenschied and Herman Affel circa 1950-1960
Born (1889-04-02)April 2, 1889
St. Louis, Missouri
Died June 1, 1986(1986-06-01) (aged 97)
Flushing, New York
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Electrical engineering
Notable awards IEEE Medal of Honor (1940)

Lloyd Espenschied (27 April 1889 June 1, 1986) was an American electrical engineer who invented the modern coaxial cable with Herman Andrew Affel.[1]


Lloyd Espenschied (born in Baden, North St. Louis, Missouri on April 27, 1889) was the son of Frederick F. (Fred) Espenschied (January 3, 1856 - July 22, 1908) and Clara M. Espenschied.[1][2][3] He had two siblings, Frederic F. and Clare.

In 1875, Lloyd's father Frederick (Fred) graduated from the St. Louis Law School (which is today part of Washington University). Fred served as private secretary to his brother-in-law Mayor Henry von Overstolz.[3] Under Mayor David R. Francis, Fred later became City Treasurer before becoming State Senator from 1891-93. Fred married Clara M. Espenschied of Brooklyn, New York on July 19, 1880.[4] They had three children, including Frederic F., Clare, and Lloyd.[3]

Lloyd's grandfather was a successful Western wagon-maker. Louis Espenschied, who was Fred's father, was the owner of Louis Espenschied Wagon Co.

Early life and education

At the age of twelve, Lloyd's father died. He accompanied his mother back to her parents' home in Brooklyn, New York in 1901.[3] By 1904, he was already exploring wireless and became an amateur radio operator. He later worked for the United Wireless Telegraph Company. He graduated from the Pratt Institute in electrical engineering in 1909.


Espenschied worked as an engineer for Telefunken Wireless Telegraph Company from 1909-1910.[5][6] He later worked for American Telephone and Telegraph Company, before directing high-frequency transmission development for Bell Telephone Laboratories.[6]

In 1916 while at Bell Telephone Laboratories, he co-created with Herman Affel, the first modern coaxial cable, which paved the way for television.[5][7] The cable advanced long distance telephone service, making it possible to carry thousands of simultaneous phone calls on long distance circuits. In 1924, he invented the radio altimeter.[8][9] Espenschied was the holder of more than 100 patents in both wire and radio communication systems.[1]

Personal life

In April, 1912, Espenschied married another Pratt student Ethel Fairfield Lovejoy, known as "Lovey". Lloyd was an avid genealogist of the Espenschied/Esbenshade/Espenshade family, visiting Germany for the purpose of extensive research.

While abroad, Espenschied was able to ascertain the German background of his family. Returning to St. Louis in 1937-38 to trace the American family pattern, he discovered that the original Louis Espenschied wagon plant and home were gone and that the Luedinghaus-Espenschied Wagon Company had been deserted.[3][10]

Lloyd Espenschied died on June 1, 1986 at a nursing home in Holmdel, New Jersey.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Lloyd Espnschied, One Of The Inventors Of The Coaxial Cable". New York Times. July 4, 1986. Retrieved 2011-11-18. Lloyd Espenschied, co-inventor of the coaxial cable, which paved the way for television transmission, died June 21 at a nursing home in Holmdel, N.J. He was 97 years old and lived in Kew Gardens, Queens. Mr. Espenschied, an electrical engineer, was a member of the technical staff at the American Telephone and Telegraph Company Bell Laboratories and holder of more than 100 patents in both wire and radio communications systems. He retired as staff research consultant in 1954, after 43 years with the company.
  2. Froehlich, Fritz E.; Kent, Allen (1994). The Froehlich/Kent Encyclopedia of Telecommunications. 7. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. p. 361. ISBN 0-8247-2905-6.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Espenschied, Lloyd (January 5, 1962). "Louis Espenschied and His Family". Missouri Historical Society Bulletin (St. Louis, Missouri). XVIII (2): 87–103.
  4. "Family Group Sheet for Louis Espenschied/ (F2812)". iwhipple.org. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  5. 1 2 "Lloyd Espenschied". IEEE. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  6. 1 2 Espenschied, Lloyd. Lloyd Espenschied Papers.
  7. "Lloyd Espenschied Papers". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2011-11-18. Espenschied was born in St. Louis and graduated from Pratt Institute in electrical engineering, 1909; on staff of the Telefunken Wireless Telegraph Company, 1909-10; worked for American Telephone and Telegraph Company in various capacities, 1910-34; directed high-frequency transmission development for Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1934-37. ...
  8. "Radio Altitude: The instrument of choice". Cygnus Interactive.
  9. "Towers Flash Radio Beams To Detect Warplanes" Popular Mechanics, September 1941
  10. Bennitt, Mark; Stockbridge, Frank Parker (1905-01-01). History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition: Comprising the History of the Louisiana Territory, the Story of the Louisiana Purchase and a Full Account of the Great Exposition, Embracing the Participation of the States and Nations of the World, and Other Events of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904; Comp. from Official Sources. Universal exposition publishing Company.
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