PRIEST ROBERTO LANDELL DE MOURA

(Ronaldo Reis, amateur radio, callsign PS7AB)
HISTORICAL BRIEF

The Brazilian scientist Roberto Landell de Moura, is one of the world's pioneers by radio, that is, one of the
precursors of radio broadcasting.

Landell de Moura started making his researches and experiments  in 1893, and there is documentary evidence 
that he gave a public demonstration of their inventions in São Paulo City, on June 3, 1900. 
He held patents registered in Brazil (1901), and in USA: patent no. 771.917 (Oct. 11, 1904), and patents 
no. 775.337 and no. 775.846 (Nov. 22, 1904).

His successful experiment was so reported in the 10/june/1900 edition of the newspaper Jornal do Comércio, 
in São Paulo City: "Last Sunday, on Alto de Santana, São Paulo City, Priest Landell de Moura accomplished some 
private experiments, using various sets of his own invention, in order to demonstrate some laws he discovered 
while studying the propagation of sound, light and electricity through space (...), (the experiments) proved 
to be a brilliant success (...). The trial was attended by Mr. P. C. P. Lupton, a representative of the British 
government, and his family, among others.

Landell de Moura's biographers focussed their attention on newspapers edited from 1900 on. However, researching 
the ones edited between 1894 and 1900, in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Mogi das Cruzes and Porto Alegre 
can turn out to be amazingly revealing about the works of Landell de Moura.

Accounts given by his contemporaries show that Landell de Moura had already been carrying out such public e
xperiments since 1894. It must be stressed that, due to the fact that he was a catholic priest, his scientific 
activities were not always acknowledged by the people and the government.

According to Marconi's patents and official biography, it was the great Italian scientist that first managed to 
transmit wireless signals (Morse code or CW) by radio.

Due to an intermingling of the works done by the two scientists towards the end of the last century, Brazilian 
authorities and scientific community have not yetacknowledged the work of the ingenious Brazilian scientist, 
and consequently have not made his work known.

For the propagation of sound and voice signals through electromagnetic and light waves, Landell de Moura made 
use of original circuits, having patented part of them in Brazil and in USA (photonic - electronic system). 
In the last analysis, such circuits can be regarded as the beginning of radio broadcasting, which only 
came to be acclaimed after the triode valve was invented by De Forest(1906). This valve superseded the Ruhmkorff 
coil which had been used by Landell de Moura in the equipment patented between 1901/4.

As early as 1903, reference is made to Landell de Moura in Arthur Dias's book Brazil Actual, accounting for 
his achievements, as in the following excerpt: 
"... no sooner did he arrive in São Paulo, in 1893, than he started to make preliminary experiments, with a view 
to transmitting voice signals over a distance of 8, 10 or 12 kilometers without any wires. After some months 
of hard work, he finally achieved excellent results with one of the sets he had built...."

Note that the book was written only ten years after Landell de Moura started hisexperiments and while the scientist 
was in the USA having his inventions patented.

Besides having neither financial resources himself nor any support from the government, Landell de Moura had to 
divide his time between his duties as a priest and his scientific experiments, which were carried out in improvised 
laboratories at the backyard of the parish churches where he worked. Dilettante, Landell de Moura developed his work 
supported by friends' financial contributions and with no more than his own view of science.

During his life the Catholic Church deservedly promoted him up to the prominent degree of Monsignor and granted him 
a special permit from Rome, which was difficult to get at the time, so that he could travel to USA and have his 
invents patented. He stayed in USA for four years. It goes without saying that the Church acknowledged and supported 
his work as a scientist.

Strangely enough an inventor and a scientist such as Landell de Moura, who made his experiments in Brazil, with scarce 
technical and financial resources, remains unknown to most of Brazilian people, government and scientific community.

On Sep. 7, 1984, in Porto Alegre, after a brilliant reconstruction work, which was coordinated by scientists from the 
State of Rio Grande do Sul, a public demonstration of Landell de Moura's equipment was successfully held, using a 
replica built with the same materials used by the inventor.

This replica as well as Landell de Moura's original notes can be found in the city of Porto Alegre/RS.

Various Brazilian scholars and scientists, as for instance Professor Otto Albuquerque, Ruy de Paula Couto, Engineer 
Iwan Thomas and the late journalist and ham Gilberto Afonso Penna, have had the opportunity to explain technically 
and unquestionably how Landell de Moura's inventions worked, according to articles published in magazines and 
newspapers, as well as in books.

Landell de Moura's experiments and research have been recorded in his  notebooks, which indicate that since 1983 he had 
been working on his thesis and doing experiments necessary to produce his equipment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Landell de Moura was born in Porto Alegre, in Jan., 1861, and made his studies for the priesthood in Rome. Ordained 
priest, in 1886, he returned to Brazil and fulfilled his religious duties until he died, in the same city he was born, 
having already been granted the title of Monsignor.

In Rome he began studying Physics and Electricity and back in Brazil he came to be a self-taught specialist in these 
matters. It should be borne in mind that, living in Brazil, Landell de Moura was almost isolated from the big research 
centers of that time, especially France, England and USA and that he only got to know about the technological advances 
in those countries months later through the scarce publications that reached our country.

The success of Landell de Moura's achievements was not acclaimed as deserved by the Brazilian Press and authorities of 
his time, what disillusionmentcaused him great disappointment according to a report in the newspaper La Voz de España 
( edited in São Paulo), on Dec. 16, 1900:

"...Priest Landell de Moura was deeply and bitterly disappointed to know that instead of applauding him and 
encouraging him to proceed with a triumphant career, his own country's government and Press paid little or no 
attention to his remarkable inventions...."

Such facts however did not discourage Landell de Moura and on Mar 9, 1901, he obtained the Brazilian patent no. 3.279 
for his invention.

Months later he travelled to USA and on Oct. 4, 1904 he filed for a patent to his inventions at The Patent Office of 
Washington and, after much personal effort, on Oct. 11, 1904, he was granted patent no. 771.917 for a wave transmitter; 
and on Nov. 22, 1904, patents no. 775.337 for a wireless telephone and no. 775.846 for a wireless telegraph.

While he lived in USA, Landell de Moura had to overcome serious financial problems in order to build his equipment 
and be able to prove their feasibility (as required by The Patent Office).

His work was in the news on Oct. 12, 1902. It was cited in a New York Herald reportabout experiments aimed at 
transmitting sound signals without wire circuits which were being carried out by scientists from different countries, 
especially from Germany and England.

The newspaper stresses that: "Among scientists hardly anyone knows the Brazilian priest Landell de Moura. Few of 
them have noticed his titles to be the pioneer in this branch of electrical research...But before Brighton and 
Ruhmer, Priest Landell de Moura, after years of experimentation, obtained a Brazilian patent for his invention, 
which he called Gouradphone.

The newspaper adds a long report about Landell de Moura, his life and works, as well as a photograph of the priest 
with the following caption:"Priest Landell de Moura - inventor of the wireless telephone".

In 1903, the magazine Brazil Actual published a biography of Landell de Moura, saying that: "...The wireless phone 
is reputed as the most important of Priest Landell's inventions, ...and the various experiments carried out by him 
in presence of the English consul in São Paulo, Mr. Lupton, among other people of high social rank, were so 
brilliant that Dr. Rogrigues Botet, when reporting such trials, announced that before long priest Landell would be 
acclaimed as the author of wonderful discoveries...

It must be stressed that the reports mentioned above were written at the time when the facts reported occurred, 
that is, by people who lived at the same time as Landell de Moura and who were in a position to attest his 
accomplishments, what makes their declarations more trustworthy. 

Dozens of articles extolling Landell de Moura's accomplishments have been published in Brazil's main newspapers 
(as for example: A Folha de São Paulo, O Estado de São Paulo, Jornal do Brasil, Gazeta Mercantil, Zero Hora) as 
well as in magazines edited in Portugal, USA, Germany and Austria, 

So far six books have already been published telling the life and works of Priest Landell de Moura. 


Ronaldo Bastos Reis 

e-mail: PS7AB