Alton C. Dickieson

Alton C. Dickieson
Alton C. Dickieson
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
IEEE Mervin J. Kelly Award


Alton Dickieson was born on August 16, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduation from Boys High School, he studied electrical engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute at night while working at various jobs during the day to support himself in school. In 1923 he joined what later became Bell Telephone Laboratories. He left Brooklyn Poly. before graduation because he felt then that he could make more effective use of his time by taking advantage of the educational opportunities ever present at Bell Labs.

During his career, Mr. Dickieson concentrated on the design of transmission systems for communication. He progressed through various positions, retiring in 1970 as Vice President-Transmission Development. In this position he had charge of systems on all kinds of media-paired cables, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay, submarine cables, satellite, millimeter waveguide.

In particular, starting in 1955, he initiated and led the development of the very large and growing digital communication network of the Bell System, beginning with Tl, a 24-Channel PCM System. He also led the Telstar project which in 1962 demonstrated the first active communication satellite system with television transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.

He took an active interest in IRE and AIEE affairs as a member and chairman of various committees. He was a Fellow of both IRE and AIEE. Mr. Dickies on is a Fellow of IEEE, an Associate Fellow of AIAA, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has been granted 28 U.S. patents.

After retirement from Bell Telephone Laboratories, Mr. Dickieson became chairman of an advisory committee studying the communication needs of the US Navy. For this work, in 1973 he was given the Distinguished Public Service Award.

In 1935, he married Hazel Bassett. They had two sons, one a CPA and financial manager in New York, and the other a lawyer in Washington. After the death of his first wife, he married Georgine Fredericks in 1951. They shared a common interest in camping and hiking all over the Western United States. They also traveled to many odd corners of the world, where Mrs. Dickieson exercised her considerable talents in photography of birds, animals and scenery.

Mr. Dickieson continued his long term interest in educational institutions first as a member and president of a school board in New Jersey, later as a trustee of Monmouth College, and as trustee and treasurer of a private boarding school.