Leon Theremin is known for the creation of the Theremin, the electrical instrument made famous in the 50’s for it’s eerie usage in the soundtracks of low budget sci-fi movies.
However, what is not as well known is that he also functioned as a spy for Russia. Theramin became a bit of a celebrity in the US following the introduction of his instrument and traveled the US extensively throughout the 30’s and making reports on the state of US manufacturing.
His biggest contribution was the creation of the first wireless bug, known as “The Thing.” It was hidden in a wooden seal given to the US Ambassdor to Russia and hung in his office for 7 years(!?!) until it was finally discovered. The amount of intelligence this must have revealed is astounding to think about.
More on Theremin here. More on “The Thing” here. There was a interesting History Detectives episode on Theremin. Check it out.
One thought on “Leon Theremin – Spy image of the week”
Very interesting. I’d never heard of a musical device called a Theremin, and now, according to wiki, thousands are being sold? And what a simple spying device he developed. Fascinating man and thanks for bringing him to our attention.