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James L. Fergason

Born: 1934
Birthplace: Wakenda, Missouri

Liquid crystal display (LCD)—Liquid crystal displays were originally based on a concept that used a large amount of powder, provided a limited life, and poor visual contrast. Fergason overcame these obstacles in 1969 with his discovery of the twisted nematic field effect, which forms the basis of modern LCDs. In 1970, he founded the International Crystal Company (ILIXCO), which pioneered the way for digital watch displays by selling field effect LCDs to the Gruen Watch Company. He also founded the American Liquid Crystal Company, and then, in 1981, Optical Shields Ltd., of which he is now president. His company produced LCD products to protect the eyes against inner sources of radiation like laser weapons and welding arcs. (1998)

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