Joseph Lazarevich Poliakoff was born in Russia in 1873, and witnessed the Communist Revolution from his apartment in 1917. He then was able to gain employment as a district telephone inspector, and played a part in constructing Moscow’s first automatic telephone exchange. He took with him the knowledge he had gained working with telephones when he fled Russia with a diamond in his shoe as Stalin rose to power in 1924.
He moved his family to the UK, where he founded the Multitone Electronic Company in 1931. A great inventor, he patented the paging beeper and the magnetic induction loop to help hearing impaired people hear better in theatres and auditoriums, among other inventions. His greatest passion was in improving hearing technology for the deaf and hearing impaired.
His friend W. G. Scott-Brown recalls that the first time he met Poliakoff at his factory, there were three or four girls there eating their lunch and smiling as he demonstrated and tested new hearing technologies with them. He was a man who insisted that his work be the best it could be for those who used his devices to hear, and he was fondly remembered for his integrity, enthusiasm, kindness, and friendliness. Poliakoff passed away in 1959 at the age of eighty-six, and his son Alexander continued to run Multitone Electronics, which still exists today as a subsidiary of Champion Technology.
To learn about these artifacts and more, visit our online collection catalogue by clicking the button below.