Robert H. Weitbrecht

Physicist and inventor

A native of Orange, California, Robert Weitbrecht showed an early bent for science, especially astronomy. An accomplished physicist and inventor, he received his Bachelor’s in Astronomy from University of California at Berkeley in 1942, and his Master’s in Astronomy at University of Chicago in 1952. In 1964, Dr, James C. Marsters, a deaf orthodontist in Pasadena, sent him a TTY and asked him to set up a system so they could communicate with each other. They formed a partnership with Andrew Saks, a deaf mechanical engineer-businessman. Weitbrecht developed an acoustic coupler, which enabled typewritten communication over telephone lines, using TTYs. He acquired a patent and formed a company to manufacture couplers. Although none of the partners profited financially from their venture, their invention has had profound repercussions for the Deaf community.

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