1865 : Major General Owen Squier Born, Inventor of Muzak

March 21, 2023 all-day

Major General George Owen Squier. The name may not be familiar, but his work in the fields of aeronautics and radio communications rivaled that of better-known contemporaries like Alexander Bell and the Wright Brothers.

Squier, a native of Dryden, Michigan, was the first military officer to fly, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright. Today, his hometown hopes to build a statue in his honor.

But among Squier’s many accomplishments there is one that stands out for its impact, not on our nation’s military history or technological capabilities, but on our ears. In short, Squier is responsible for the invention of Muzak!

During the 1920s and ’30s, Major General George Owen Squier was one of the most famous men in America and abroad, as a scientist, soldier, military strategist, electrical communications expert and inventor, aeronautical pioneer, diplomat, and philanthropist. He rose from humble beginnings in Michigan to the position of Chief Signal Officer of the United States Army. He led the effort in World War I to equip the United States and its allies with American-made airplanes and engines, an effort which started slowly but at the time of the Armistice was rapidly coming to fruition. He also equipped American forces with modern communications, the first belligerent in the war to do so. As an inventor he is not well known today compared to his contemporaries Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers, who respected his intellect and originality. Yet his inventions in communications technology are fundamental to today’s telephone system and were the technical basis for the company he founded, Muzak.


George Owen Squier, Major General, United States Army,  Arlington National Cemetery Website.

General Owen Quier : First United States Soldier to Serve on the Front Lines of WWI

George Owen Squier : U.S. Army major general, inventor, aviation pioneer, founder of Muzak / Paul W. Clark and Laurence A. Lyons.  Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, [2014]

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