|When people think of Bob Moog, they undoubtedly recall the fact that he was the inventor of the Moog synthesizer…
a groundbreaking synthesis of electronics, engineering, control voltage, modularity, and musicianship.What they may not know is the depth and breadth of Bob Moog’s career over the course of his life. Examination of the incredible technological and musical contributions of this innovator reveals the impact his work had on the history of music and popular culture.This timeline focuses on his career (as opposed to his personal life, Moog Music, or other aspects) and is by no means exhaustive. The scope of Bob’s contributions is vast, and as relevant points emerge, they will be added to here.If you have information or materials that you would like to share with us to enrich the timeline, please email us
at email@example.com.To get the most out of our timeline, please explore the “Read More” tabs, which will take you to additional assets, including full articles, pages from Bob’s desktop notebooks, schematics, and other archival materials. All of the images are expandable.
The timeline is based on the vast historical materials in the Bob Moog Foundation Archives.
1934 - ROBERT MOOG IS BORNMay 23, 1934 Robert Arthur Moog is born in Flushing, New York to George and Shirley Moog. He is their only child. Read more
1939 - BOB BEGINS ATTENDING P.S. 24 ELEMENTARYBob begins attending P.S. 24 elementary school in Flushing, New York, where he excelled as a student throughout his nine years there. Read more
1944 - GEORGE TEACHES BOB ELECTRONICSTen-year-old Bob Moog begins building simple radios, three-note organs, and other electronic hobbyist projects with his father, who is an electrical engineer with Con Edison, New York City's electric company. Read more
1948 - BOB GRADUATES FROM P.S. 24Bob graduates from P.S. 24. His mother recounts a story that Bob won so many academic awards at the year-end ceremony of his 8th grade year, that the parent behind her said jokingly, "If that kid gets up one more time, I'm going to smack him." Read more
1949 - BOB ATTENDS BRONX HIGH SCHOOL OF SCIENCEBob Moog begins attending the Bronx High School of Science and builds his first hobby theremin as part of a science fair project. He is 15 years old. Read more
1949 - BOB IS AWARDED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN ELECTRIC ORGAN AND A GEIGER COUNTERBob wins an award for the construction of an electric organ and a Geiger counter. In December of that year, both are displayed at the convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Read more
1952 - BRONX HIGH SCHOOL OF SCIENCE GRADUATIONBob Moog graduates from the Bronx High School of Science. His time there is marked by building electronic musical instruments as part of the school's Science Congress Shows, including theremins, and "Moogatrons", electronic organs with different pitch levels, which he performed on with the school orchestra. Read more
1952 - BOB IS ACCEPTED INTO FIVE YEAR DUAL DEGREEBob is accepted into a five year dual electrical engineering and physics degree at Queens College and Columbia University. Read more
1953 - BOB AND GEORGE OPERATE AS RAMCO FROM THEIR BASEMENT WORKSHOPAfter spending a summer working in an electronics factory (Kepco Power Supplies) 19-year-old Bob Moog creates the Model 201 theremin in his father's basement workshop in Flushing, New York. It is his first commercial product. Bob focused on the wiring of the theremins and George, an amateur woodworker, created the cabinetry. This collaboration would continue until Bob left the household to obtain his PhD four years later. Read more
1954 - BOB WRITES A MAGAZINE ARTICLE ABOUT THEREMINS"The Theremin", an article in which Bob describes how to construct a theremin, is featured in the January issue of the nationally-distributed popular hobbyist magazine, Radio and Television News. Bob is 19 years old at the time. Read more
1954 - RAMCO IS RENAMED R.A. MOOG CO.Bob and George continue to build theremins and do-it-yourself kits in the basement of their family home in Flushing in order to meet the demands created by the publication of Bob's "The Theremin" article published in January of that year. Read more
1954 - BOB CREATES MODELS 301 AND 351Under his newly named company R.A. Moog Co., Bob creates the Model 301 and Model 351 theremins. The Model 351 features tone-shaping functionality that hints at Bob?s future in synthesis.
1955 - BOB MEETS RAYMOND SCOTTBob meets musician, composer, bandleader, and inventor Raymond Scott for the first time and is commissioned to build a theremin for him?which was incorporated into Scott's device, the "Clavivox." Read more
1956 - BOB JOINS SPERRYBob works in the Marine Department for Sperry, an electronics and equipment manufacturer in New York, as student engineer for the summer. This is the first time he works with the burgeoning technology of transistors.
1956 - BOB WRITES ARTICLE FOR AUDIOCRAFT MAGAZINEBob writes an article entitled "Music From Electrons", which was featured in the June edition of Audiocraft Magazine. Read more
1957 - BOB GRADUATES WITH DUAL DEGREE IN PHYSICS AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEERINGBob receives a Bachelor's Degree in physics from Queens College and a Bachelor's Degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University. He lives at home with his parents during his five years of study, and runs his business, R.A. Moog Co., on the side. Read more
1957 - BOB IS ACCEPTED AT CORNELL UNIVERSITYBob begins his engineering physics PhD. at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Bob brings his R.A. Moog Co. business with him and continues to build theremins on the side throughout his doctoral studies. Read more
1957 - BOB RECEIVES RCA FELLOWSHIPBob receives the prestigious RCA Fellowship, which covers his tuition, room, and board at Cornell. Read more
1957 - THE VANGUARD THEREMINIn Ithaca, New York, Bob creates the Vanguard theremin. While the name might suggest a device on the forefront of technological advance, the Vanguard was the last theremin Bob designed using the older technology of vacuum tubes. Its wedge-shaped mahogany case was reminiscent of the RCA theremin. The Vanguard featured an "all-in-one" approach that placed the loudspeaker within the theremin itself.
1957 - THE PROFESSIONAL THEREMINBob implements the new transistor technology for the first time to create the Professional theremin. Bob's use of transistor technology would prove foundational in his future synthesizer designs. Read more
1961 - THE MELODIA THEREMINBob creates the Melodia theremin. This theremin, as a result of the 1961 Electronics World article, ended up being a best seller. Read more
1961 - THE MELODIA IS A GREAT SUCCESSThe revenue from the simple, transistorized, and battery-powered Melodia set in motion the chain of events that led to Bob's creation of the Moog modular synthesizer. If you ordered a Melodia kit, there was a good chance that it was assembled by Shirleigh Moog on the Moogs' kitchen table. Read more
1962 - THE TROUBADOR THEREMINBob's Troubador theremin was a "professional version of the Melodia." It could be placed on a tabletop (without the table interfering with its operation), had AC power, and allowed control over the timbre of the sound. Read more
1963 - WALTER SEAR JOINS R.A. MOOG CO.Walter Sear is hired as the company's first New York representative. Based in New York City, Sear was an established studio owner and engineer/producer, as well as a representative for high-end tubas imported from Europe. Read more
1963 - R.A. MOOG CO. OPENS IN TRUMANSBURGR.A. Moog Co. moves out of Bob?s house and into its Trumansburg storefront. Read more
1963 - BOB MEETS HERB DEUTSCHIn November, while demonstrating his theremins at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) convention, Bob Moog meets Hofstra music professor and experimental jazz composer Herbert Deutsch. This meeting leads to talk of Deutsch's desire for electronic music components. Read more
1964 - BOB WORKS WITH HERB TO CREATE VOLTAGE-CONTROLLED MODULESIn cooperation with Herbert Deutsch, Bob develops his first voltage-controlled modular electronic music equipment. Read more
1964 - R.A. MOOG CO.'S 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARYTo commemorate R.A. Moog Co.'s 10-year anniversary, Bob implemented a new logo design. Read more
1964 - BOB PRESENTS MODULES AT AES CONVENTIONBob's voltage-controlled modules are presented for the first time at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York City. Choreographer Alwin Nikolais is Bob's first customer. During the convention Bob meets composer Wendy Carlos, at his booth. Read more
1964 - BOB'S ARTICLE ON VOLTAGE-CONTROLLED MODULES IS PUBLISHED IN 1964 AES PUBLICATIONBob writes an article entitled "Voltage-Controlled Electronic Music Modules", which was presented at the annual meeting of the Audio Engineering Society in October of 1964. Read more
1965 - BOB COLLABORATES WITH JOHN CAGEBob builds movement-sensing rhythmic devices for John Cage's performance "Variations V," which were activated by dancers performing Merce Cunningham's choreography.
1965 - BOB RECEIVES PHD. IN ENGINEERING PHYSICSBob receives his PhD. in engineering physics from Cornell University. Read more
1965 - R.A. MOOG CO. HOSTS ELECTRONIC MUSIC WORKSHOPStarting August 9, R.A. Moog Co. held a three week Electronic Music Workshop administered by Bob Moog and Herb Deutsch. The seminar focused on the history, technology, and application of Electronic Music, and was announced nationally. There were 12 participants and the seminar ended in a performance of the resultant compositions of the participants. Read more
1965 - HERB PERFORMS WITH THE MOOG PROTOTYPEHerb Deutsch performs with the Moog prototype at the Town Hall in New York City on September 25th. Read more
1966 - BOB WORKS WITH HARALD BODEBob works with seminal German electronic keyboard designer Harald Bode to incorporate Bode's ring modulator and frequency shifter designs into R.A. Moog's product line. Harald Bode had been designing synthesizer-like devices since 1937, and his Vladimir Ussachevsky-inspired modulation designs were a perfect compliment to Moog's synthesizer designs. Read more
1966 - BOB WRITES AN ARTICLE ABOUT ELECTRONIC MUSIC FOR ELECTRONICS WORLDRead more
1966 - BOB COMMISSIONED BY THE BEACH BOYSThe Beach Boys commission what was a prototype ribbon controller (called a "Melsinar") from Bob Moog for performing their hit song "Good Vibrations" live. This device was to take the place of the Electro-Theremin, invented by Paul Tanner and Bob Whitsell, which was used in the original recording of the song. The Melsinar was more portable and easier to use on the road. Read more
1967 - THE SYNTHESIZER I, II & IIIThe R.A. Moog Co. introduces standardized systems as models (The Synthesizer I, The Synthesizer II, and The Synthesizer III), and first uses the term "synthesizer" to describe them. Read more
1967 - WENDY CARLOS DEMONSTRATES THE 900 SERIESR.A. Moog Co. releases the demo record "Moog 900 Series Electronic Music Systems". Conceived by Bob Moog and produced/performed by Wendy Carlos, the recording demonstrates the functionality of the Moog modular system. Read more
1967 - THE WEST COAST MEETS THE MOOG SYNTHESIZERIn June, R.A. Moog Co. representatives Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause introduce the West Coast to the Moog synthesizer at the Monterey Pop Festival. In so doing, they introduce the instrument to a number of popular music artists including The Monkees, The Byrds, The Doors, and Simon and Garfunkel. Read more
1967 - THE MOOG MODULAR APPEARS ON A MAJOR ROCK ALBUMThe Doors employ the help of Paul Beaver to use a synthesizer to process vocals on their album "Strange Days", released in September. It is the first appearance of the Moog modular on a major rock album. Read more
1967 - MOOG MODEL IIIP IS USED IN PRODUCTION OF MONKEES ALBUMIn September, Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees purchases a Moog Model IIIP. This Moog, often programmed and played by Paul Beaver, makes an appearance on the Monkees' "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd." album, released in November. Read more
1968 - SWITCHED-ON BACH IS RELEASEDWendy Carlos releases the album "Switched-On Bach" in November. Her deft application of the principles of synthesis to the work of Bach was groundbreaking. The quality and subsequent popularity of this album introduced the voltage-controlled modular synthesizer to the world. Read more
1968 - BOB BUILDS CUSTOM SYNTHESIZER FOR PETER NEROBob creates a synthesizer from a commission by famous pianist Peter Nero. The synthesizer was a limited set of modules in a case that fit beneath the piano bench. It was activated by a 44-note keyboard.