Communication Systems and Technology

A Chronology of Communication Events

Part 2: 1900 to present

(A Work in Progress)

To Part 1:  4004 BC - 1899 AD

References and Sources


Reginald Arbrey Fessenden is hired by Weather Bureau to work out means to obtain weather reports from and to provide forecasts to offshore light vessels and isolated locations.  He became interested in voice transmission and, as a result, developed the concepts of amplitude modulation (AM).  Fessenden theorizes that an alternator, as developed by Tesla, could generate an electromagnetic wave able to carry voice and music.  He uses a spark generator to send the human voice the distance of about one mile.

Marconi filed for the now-famous (or infamous) patent No. 7777 for an "oscillating sintonic circuit…" -- the basis for frequency multiplexing.

The crew of the battleship General-Admiral Apraksin is saved in the Gulf of Finland as a result of distress call relayed by Popov's radio system (variously reported as 1899 or 1901).

A "car radio" is invented by Guglielmo Marconi.  The radio is installed inside a fully equipped Thornycroft steam wagon, and used for wireless telegraphy experiments.

First mass-marketed camera, 'The Kodak Brownie'

The Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Co. Ltd changes its name to the 'Marconi Telegraph Co.' Marconi gets his English patent for his tuning equipment.

On December 12 the first transatlantic communication, which involved sending the Morse-code signal for the letter "S" from Poldhu, Cornwall in southwest England, 2170 miles across theAtlantic to an aerial device suspended from a kite in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, England, to Saint John's, Newfoundland.  John A. Fleming was at the transmitter in England.

Karl Ferdinand Braun introduces the use of a crystal detector as part of a wireless receiver.

The magnetic detector is invented by Marconi.

The DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company is formed.

Valdemar Poulsen invents the arc converter as a generator of continuous-wave radio signals.

Fessenden developed and demonstrated the heterodyne principle.  Fessenden forms the National Electric Signaling Company.

Arthur E. Kennelly and Oliver Heaviside independently discover a reflective layer (i.e. the ionosphere or Kennelly-Heaviside layer) in the upper atmosphere (at about 100 miles).

Marconi station on Nantucket Shoals Lightship refused to accept message to President Roosevelt from Prince Henry of Prussia on the SS Deutschland.

Arthur Korn transmited pictures over wire before devising a system for broadcasting them by radio

 Otto von Bronk applies for German patent on color television

 Trans-Pacific telephone cable connects Canada and Australia

 Marconi builds a radio station at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia It is during the trip that he discovers the harmful influence of solar radiation on tramissions. Thus the creation of the Magnetic Detector.

 The station at Glace Bay was set up as the transmitting station, while the station in Europe at Poldhu was the receiving station. They would use the cable line as a means to verify communications between the two stations. On December 15th the first offical messages came through from Table Head to Poldhu saying 'we have received some signals'.

 The layer of the earth's atmosphere known as the ionosphere is perceived simultaneously by Arthur Edwin Kennelly, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and physicist Oliver Heaviside at the Great Northern Telegraphy Company in England. The discovery explains Marconi's success in making radio contact over the curved surface of the earth; it is the upper ionized layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves. Signals are clearer at night because during the day the sun's heat expands the air and pushes the layer upward, making the signal weaker.

Marconi establishes the first press agency between Europe and America. Jaunary 18th the first two-way transatlantic transmission between Poldhu, England and Cape Code Mass. USA.

The First International Radio Telegraphic Conference, Berlin.

Fessenden generated continuous electromagnetic waves with an alternator and patented the electrolytic barretter which was the first practical continuous-wave detector.

Marconi's South Wellfleet (Cape Cod), Massachusetts station linked to his Poldhu (Cornwall), England station on January 19, 1903 (some specs: wavelength 1500 to 1800 meters; 30,000 watts; 2200 volt alternator stepped up 25,000 volts by transformer).

Fessenden invents 'Heterodyne reception'.

John Ambrose Fleming (University College, London) serves as a scientific consultant to the Marconi company, and designs many pieces of early wireless apparatus. In particular, he is charged to develop a  new detector for wireless signals and devises the two-element "Fleming Valve" (or as he calls Oscillation Valve) thermionic rectifier based on the "Edison effect" which had been known since 1883.  His valve is a two element rectifier, made by inserting a metal plate in one of Edison's electric light bulbs.The diode, a two-terminal electron tube, is patented by Marconi's British colleague John Ambrose Fleming. Working from Edison's discovery that heated metal (cathode) will give off electrons which, in a vacuum tube, will move in one direction only toward an unheated plate (anode), Fleming constructs a tube in which he places a cathode, an anode and two electrodes. His discovery, the first radio wave detector, ( capable of 'rectification' ) opens the door to advanced radio communication.

Fessenden commissions General Electric to develop a frequency alternator as a source of high-power, continuous-wave radio-frequency radiation for transoceanic radiotelegraphy.  Ernst F. W. Alexanderson (an engineer for General Electric and, later, Radio Corporation of America) was assigned to the project .

Christian Hulsmeyer (Germany) developed and patented a primative form of radar.

First colour television system is proposed based on the principle of scanning three primary colours.

Guglielmo Marconi buids the 'Rotating Oscillator' and discovered the directive properties of horizontal antennas. Starts to use the Fleming thermionic valve.

The answerphone, an automatic telephone answering machine, makes its debut. Based on Valdimir Poulsen's Telegraphone, the first practical tape recorder, it answers phone calls and records messages.

Guglielmo Marconi patented his directive horizontal antenna.

Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi develops the concept of the bent ( or directive horizontal ) antenna; that is, that the best reception is achieved when the free end of an antenna wire laid on the ground points away from the transmitting station. The "aerial" antenna is first tested at Marconi's Glace Bay Station in Canada, markedly broadening its reception range. Marconi's findings will prove particularly valuable in World War I, as they lead to the development of techniques in radio direction finding.

 The Pathe Company devises a stencil system for film coloring that makes it possible to color a black and white film at high speed. This efficient system replaces the painstaking method of handcoloring each frame which, at the rate of 1,000 frames per minute of film, is extremely tedious and time consuming. Pathe's automated film coloring system will be used with great success for the next 25 years.

First wireless communication of human speech (and music) on December 24, 1906.  Fessenden spoke and broadcasted music by radio from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, to ships in the Atlantic Ocean using a two kilowatt (100 kHz) alternator developed by Alexanderson.  Fessenden modulates continuous wave.

Lee DeForest develops the 'Audion', a three element ( three electrode or triode ) vacuum tube. This made amplification of video signals created by photoconductivity and photoemission possible.


 The triode vacuum valve, a three-electrode vacuum tube, is invented by Lee De Forest in New York. Adding a third valve to Sir Ambrose Fleming's diode, produced two years earlier, de Forest's "Audion" can generate, detect and amplify radio waves. The triode revolutionizes radio communications, providing the first technology for loud and clear radio transmission of the human voice. The earliest receivers or crystal sets pick up single wavelength transmissions, which are listened to through headphones.

 Boris Rosing of Russia develops the world's first working television system combining the cathode ray with a Nipkow disc.

 The 'Alexanderson Alternator' is delivered to Fessendon's station.
On Christmas Eve, 1906 he broadcasts speech and music to surprised
shipboard operators. He broadcasts on 42 Kilohertz at 1 kilowatt. The
programming includes a female voice singing a Christmas carol, a violin
solo by Fessenden, and an invitation to report on reception.The first radio program of speech and music ever broadcast is the work of Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, a Canadian-born American physicist and electrical engineer. The transmission originates on Christmas Eve from the National Electrical Signaling Company's radio station in Bryant Rock, Massachusetts. Featured on the program are a violin rendition of Gounod's "O Holy Night," and verses from St. Luke's Gospel along with a Christmas greeting read by Fessenden himself. The wireless broadcast reaches ships over a radius of more than 100 miles.

Greenleaf Whittier Pickard uses a fused silicon detector

Max Wien uses cooled gaps and quenched gaps in his spark transmitters.

American Henry H.C. Dunwoody patents the carborundum crystal radio detector, an integral element in the new wireless industry. The earliest method for detecting radio waves, the carborundum crystal allows current to flow in one direction, so that only the upper half of the modulated wave is allowed to pass. Dunwoody's work will lead to the advent of the crystal set in 1910, making it possible for amateurs to build their own wireless receivers and hear early radio transmissions. Carborundum is the trademark for silicon carbide and other abrasives.

 The Bell Telephone Laboratories install a dial telephone switching system in telephone exchanges across the US. The automatic system was originally devised by American undertaker Almon Brown Strowger in 1889, and will remain in wide use through the 1980s.

Financial panic delays many developments in radio technology.
Edouard Belin (France) invented a procedure for the transmission of photographs by telegraph and radio.

The first 'Broadcasts' of records are done to aid in testing, so the
operator didn't have to talk.

Boris Rosing transmits black and white silhouettes of simple shapes, using a mechanical mirror-drum apparatus as a camera and a cathode-ray tube as a receiver.

The cathode ray tube ( CRT ), first produced in 1897 by Ferdinand Braun, is the subject of significant experiments by Russian physicist Boris Rosing. Professor Rosing is the first to suggest that the electrical signals from a mechanical transmitter might be transformed into visual images when sent to a cathode ray tube receiver. Working in his St. Petersburg laboratory over the next five years, Rosing uses a rotating mirror drum to scan geometric shapes, which he is able to crudely reproduce on the CRT. His studies will have a strong influence on the work of John Logie Baird, who is to give the first public demonstration of television in 1926.

 Lumière Brother's market the 'Autochrome' color process

 Alfred Korn announces Fac-Simile telegraphy

 G.W. Pickard perfects the crystal detector and takes out a patent for the use of silicon in detectors.

 A photograph of King Edward VII becomes the first newspaper wire photo, transmitted by radio telegraph. London's Daily Mirror publishes the picture, which is flashed from Paris over a 12 minute period.

A year after the first radio broadcast by Fessenden, engineer Ernst Alexander designs a high frequency radio alternator able to generate frequencies up to 100 kHz. This device, built for the General Electric Company, significantly broadens the range of radio transmission. Alexander will go on to invent both a magnetic and an electronic amplifier, as well as a mutiple-tuned antenna. At the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson will refuse the U.K.'s request to buy one of the powerful Alexander alternators.

U.S. patent granted to Lee de Forest for a "Device for Amplifying Feeble Electric Currents." on January 15, 1907.  He called it the "audion."  More sensitive version granted U.S. patent on February 18, 1908.

The Marconi Wireless, Telegraph and Signal Company produces transmitters and receivers for the military for use with telegraph decoding apparatus. Marconi establishes a commercial radio telegraph service across the Atlantic.

The worlds first Trans-Atlantic commercial wireless service is established by Marconi with stations at Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Marconi begins to use rotary synchronous gaps in his spark transmitter.

1908 :
Radio played a key role in limiting the loss of life in collision of the White Star liner Republic and the Italian SS Florida on January 22, 1908.  A radio distress signal brings help in time to rescue all but five passengers when the U.S. Republic collides with the Florida, an Italian ocean liner. In all, 1700 lives are saved.
English inventor A.A. Campbell-Swinton and Russian Boris Rosing independently suggested using a cathode ray to reproduce the television picture on a phosphorous coated screen. This suggested that the electronic scanning system used in the CRT could replace the mechanical Nipkow disk.


 Outlining what will become the fundamental theory behind the television tube, Scottish scientist A.A. Campbell-Swinton proposes a method of electronic scanning where the cathode ray tube is used at the camera as well as the receiver end of the system. Swinton explains how the image is focused on a mosaic screen of photoelectric elements located in the camera, storing it there as an electric charge. The image is then reproduced on a picture tube by a scanning cathode ray beam that creates the TV signal. The scan is traced out line by line in the receiver to form the picture. Campbell-Swinton's theory forms the essential features of today's television system, although the primitive technology of the time does not allow it to be borne out in a practical demonstration. Not until 1923 will a stored-charge camera tube be patented. Gabriel Lippmann wins a Nobel Prize for his method of reproducing color by photography

 Motion picture color is pioneered by G.A. Smith with a system called Kinemacolor. In this two-color process, film is both taken and projected through red and green segments on a rotating wheel. An unfortunate drawback is that fast-moving objects are severely flawed by color fringing; kinemacolor therefore works best when focused on static objects, making it a less than perfect solution for color in movies.

 The De Forest 4th Avenue Radio Telephone Company in New York begins a program of regular radio broadcasts, consisting entirely of gramophone music.


 Lee De Forest makes the first radio broadcast from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

 At a rate of fifteen cents per word, the public can send messages across the Atlantic. This is made possible by the first transatlantic radio-telegraph stations, based in Glace Bay, Canada and Clifden, Ireland.

Steel radio transmitter masts are tested in rural Chelmsford, England. The 200 ft structures will extend telecommunications across the Amazon rainforest as well as the cities of Europe.

 The mother-in-law of one of America's leading radio experts gives the first radio "talk" in broadcast history. Harriet Stanton Black bases her remarks on the controversial subject of women's suffrage.

 Recognizing the need for uniformity to avoid conflict between films and equipment, an international conference of motion picture producers selects the 35 mm film format as the standard for the motion picture industry. This important decision will open the door to the development of still cameras that use perforated film.

Charles 'Doc' Herrold begins a regular schedule of broadcasts from his "Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering" at San Jose, CA.

Marconi shares the Nobel Prize in Physics, with Karl Ferdinand Braun for their work in the development of wireless telegraphy.

In Sweden, Elkstrom invents 'flying spot' camera light beam

The Italian tenor Enrico Caruso broadcasts a concert from the Metropolitan Opera House over the radio. The few receivers able to pick up this first-ever outside broadcast are those on board ships in New York Harbor, in large hotels on Times Square, and at the De Forest Radio Laboratory.

The first commercial radios are sold by Lee De Forest's Radio Telephone Company in the demonstration room at the Metropolitan Life Building in New York City. De Forest's company both manufactures and retails these radios.

 In the US, John McCurdy, a pilot working for seaplane pioneer Glen Curtiss, transmits radio messages from his plane to the ground, pioneering air-to-ground communications.

 The French Pathe Brothers, Charles and Emil, begin production of the "Pathe Gazette," their pioneer newsreel. The Gazette is shown regularly in theaters in ther United States and Britain. The Pathe Brothers have film crews at work in Italy, Germany, Russia and Japan as well.

Boris Rosing (Russia) exhibited a television system which used mechanical scanner in the transmitter and cathode ray tube of Braun in the receiver.

On July 1, 1911 the Radio Ship Act of 1910 became effective.
Young radio amateurs are building receivers with whatever parts are
available. Although headphones can be purchased...many public telephone
booths become inoperative.

G. W. Pickard files 'catwhisker' detector patent

Scottish scientist A.A. Campbell-Swinton proposed a method of electronic scanning where the cathode ray tube is used at the camera as well as the receiver end of the system. Swinton explains how the image is focused on a mosaic screen of photoelectric elements located in the camera, storing it there as an electric charge. The image is then reproduced on a picture tube by a scanning cathode ray beam that creates the TV signal. The scan is traced out line by line in the receiver to form the picture. Campbell-Swinton's theory forms the essential features of today's television system, although the primitive technology of the time does not allow it to be borne out in a practical demonstration. Not until 1923 will a stored-charge camera tube be patented.

 Filmmakers experiment with electrically synchronizing motion pictures with sound recordings. Hepworth's "Vivaphone" and Walturdaw's "Singing Pictures" both feature actors lip-synching to current records.

 The Cavalry Brigade of the British Army forms a wireless company to handle communications in the field. The unit's equipment comprises an engine, a generator and a 50 ft collapsible antenna that weighs two tons and can be set up in 20 minutes. When all the gear is in place, it allows the company to communicate over distances of 50 miles.

 Direct telephone links from New York to Denver, Colorado are established.


 Professor R.A. Fessenden of Canada invents the heterodyne radio receiver. When it receives a signal, it generates another identical signal of its own. The two signals beat in synchrony and the resulting combined signal, called intermediate or modulated, is then amplified by circuits which suppress other frequencies, reducing noise. This system becomes standard by 1918 and is the basis for all modern radio reception.

 American electrical engineer Edwin Armstrong, while still a college student, invents the regenerative or "feedback" radio receiver. The feedback circuit compresses radio signals, amplifying the weaker and suppressing the stronger ones to achieve balanced reception. This receiver is much more effective over long distances than the crystal sets in domestic use. Armstrong's claim to the invention is contested by Lee De Forest as well as by a German scientist named Meissner. The dispute is eventually resolved in favor of De Forest and company.

The American chemist Irving Langmuir develops an improved vacuum tubes that will be employed in the new radio receivers.

 1912 - 1916. Max Wertheimer and Hugo Muensterberg show that illusion of continuous action is due, not to the optical properties of the retina, but to brain's inability to distinguish the difference between separate images at speeds 24 frames per second or more.

 Guglielmo Marconi invents a new way to generate a continuous wave, known as the 'Multiple Spark System'

 The Morse code sequence SOS (. . .---. . .) has been used by some fleets since 1909, when the shipwrecked ocean liner Slavonia first used it to summon two steamers to its aid. Now it is adopted as a universal distress signal by the navies of the world. It will be used frequently in World War I as military and civilian shipping alike fall prey to naval warfare.

 As a publicity stunt, Wanamaker's Department Store has 20 year-old Russian-American wireless operator David Sarnoff sit in the front window, demonstrating the telegraph. Sarnoff is at his post when he receives the SOS from the sinking Titanic. He contacts a steamer in the North Atlantic which wires back that it is picking up survivors.

Motion picture pioneer Leon Gaumont experiments with improved sound and color in motion picture film. "Chronochrome" is the first full three color process to be commercially developed. "Chronophone," a sound system, uses discs to play synchronized sound. The Chronophone demonstrations are highly popular and Gaumont is encouraged to combine the two innovations in the first public showing of color "talkies."

 London installs its first automatic telephone exchange. The 480 lines make it possible for Londoners to communicate by telephone without the delays and interruptions that have heretofore plagued the system. The British telephone industry is nationalized by an Act of Parliament. The other European powers have already nationalized their telephone services. Meanwhile in the US, there is demand to nationalize AT&T.

1913 :

 British scientist John Gott invents a system that uses current reversals for telegraph transmission. This solves the persistent problem of breaks in transmission where cables meet land lines, a problem that had made wire communication unreliable.

 1914 :

 Guglielmo Marconi experiments successfully using the triode thermionic valve, the birth of radiophony.


 Marconi produces the type 16 balanced-crystal receiver. Two crystals are connected so that one picks up Morse Code signals while the other screens out atmospheric interference. This enables ships at sea to transmit messages clearly, even during thunderstorms. This innovation proves to be of great importance in wartime emergencies.

US physicist R.A. Heising demonstrates the modulation of high frequency radio waves. The modulated wave can be separated by filters into a carrier wave and two sidebands, making it possible to transmit a more complex signal, improving the fidelity of broadcast sound.

 In the US, Langmuir invents a vacuum pump 1000 times more efficient than existing models. With this pump he is able to perfect the triode valve originally invented by Lee de Forest. The improved triode valve is to play an important role in the future development of radio. A telephone line between New York and Denver is "loaded", meaning that power is modulated on the line so that conversations can be heard very clearly. This line, which covers a distance of 2000 miles (3200 km) is the largest such line in use. Designer John Ambrose Fleming predicts the technology can be applied to distances as great as that between California and London.

 German-American inventor Edward Kleinschmidt introduces the teletype machine. It is no longer necessary for a telegraph operator to transcribe the messages as they come over the wire. The teletype uses the telegraph signal to power a typewriter which types the message automatically. By 1928 Kleinschmidt will have merged his company with that of his only competitor. In 1930, AT&T will buy th business for $30 million.

 1915 :

 Ray Kellog invents the The electric ( moving coil ) loudspeaker.

 American physicist Manson Benedicks discovers that the germanium crystal can be used to convert alternating current into direct current. This discovery will be the basis of the integrated circuit.

 Speech is transmitted across the Atlantic by radio-telephone. B. Webb of AT&T in Arlington, Virginia talks to Lt. Col. Ferries of the French Government using relay points in Canada and at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

 Direct wireless telegraph communication begins between Japan and the US.

 Direct telephone communication is established between New York and San Francisco.

 Arnold and Carson of AT&T prove that each sideband of a modulated wave can carry a separate channel. This demonstration of single sideband radio increases the potential of telecommunications by making multi-channel transmissions possible.

 1916 :

 David Sarnoff envisions radio as 'a household utility' and submits his famous 'Radio Music Box' memo to executives at Marconi.

 Guglielmo Marconi started to develope the first VHF radios.

 Dénes Mihály, captain of hussars, registered a Hungarian patent on a writing mirror with which he incsribed sound vibrations on a strip of photographic.

 The development of aerial communication is given a boost when Major C.E. Prince demonstrates his wireless telephone, the Mark I, for Lord Kitchener, Britain's Secretary of State for War, by conversing with the pilot of an overhead plane.

 1917 :

 The condenser microphone, introduced to America by E.C. Wente, produces a clearer, more uniform sound than ever before. After some improvements, this state-of-the-art equipment will make high quality recordings and broadcasts possible.

 Edward Howard Armstrong develops the superheterodyne circuit and applies for a patent. This new electronic circuit significantly improves the sensitivity and selectivity of radio receivers over a wide range of frequencies, making amplifier tuning unnecessary. Fundamental to all AM radio receivers, it allows them to be tuned to different stations in a simple and straightforward manner.

 1918 :

 The imbalance that plagues hi-frequency reception is corrected by Prof. L.A. Hazeltine's welcome invention of the neutrodyne circuit. Stablility is achieved when the current feeds back into the circuit at the right strength.

 1919 :

 The British Marconi radio company has put in a bid to General Electric for the high-frequency Alexanderson alternator, an indispensable aid to long-distance wireless communication. The government is convinced this technology must remain in American control. In response to a request by President Woodrow Wilson, Rear Admiral W.H.G. Bullard of the US Navy and Owen D. Young of General Electric (GE) form the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) . It is initially established to function as a rival to British Marconi, which dominates radio communications, and is formed by taking over the assets of Marconi's American subsidiary. General Electric replaces British Marconi as the parent company, eliminating foreign influence over US broadcasting. To retain some control over the technology used so effectively for military communications and intelligence during the war, the US Navy holds a place on RCA's Board of Directors. Young is designated RCA's first president and Chairman. In 1920 AT&T will become an RCA partner, along with Westinghouse and United Fruit. The alliance represents the pooling of some 2000 electronics patents. An anti-trust action will soon split GE and RCA apart, leaving RCA to grow into a radio industry giant.

 The superheterodyne radio receiver goes into mass production, and will dominate the luxury item market in America for the next decade. The device makes uniform reception over a wide range of station frequencies possible for the first time, counterbalancing the incoming frequency against a second one to determine a precise fine-tune. As a result, the "superhet" is particularly sensitive to weak signals, and can tune into stations more selectively.

 American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) in Norfolk, Virginia introduces dial telephones to the general public. AT&T had rejected the idea earlier, but a threatened strike by telephone operators forces them to reconsider. Theodore Gary, owner of the Almon Strowger patents for dial telephone technology, acquires the Automatic Electric Company. Gary becomes rich manufacturing telephones for the Bell System; he eventually licenses Western Electric Company to make the dial phones.

American manufacturer Nicholson introduces the crystal microphone to the US. Soon to be widely used in home tape recorders and public address systems, the mike works on the piezo-electric principle where small voltages are produced on the surface of the crystal. While the economically attractive mike produces good sound quality, it is sensitive to heat, humidity, and rough handling.

1912: H. D Arnold (Western Electric) developed mercury-vapor discharge amplifier.
In April of 1912, David Sarnoff broadcasts first news about SS Titanic.
On October 30/31 of 1912, John Stone and Lee de Forest demonstrate a complete audion based audio amplifier to Bell officials.
Edwin H. Armstrong explained the operating principles of de Forest's audion: with this better understanding of amplifier operation, Armstrong applied "feedback" to obtain "regeneration" on signals or continuous oscillations (patented in 1913 and licensed to the Marconi company in 1914).
1912: Fessenden's patents heterodynes
1913: Armstrong invented the superheterodyne circuit
1914: Vacuum tube amplifiers used on transcontinental telephone lines in July of 1914.
1915: On February 10th of 1915, R. V. L. Hartley disclosed his famous vacuum tube oscillator circuit.  The "Colpitts oscillator" demonstrated a month later.
1916: Marconi's 200 kilowatt timed-spark continuous-wave (21.5 kHz) transmitter at Caernarvon (Wales) was put into service.
Sarnoff proposes idea of a radio music box

Edwin Armstrong invents regeneration.
The ocean liner, "Titanic" hits an iceberg and sinks. The wireless distress
call was heard 58 miles away by the liner
"Carpathia". Those who made it into lifeboats were rescued 3 1/2 hours
later. There were 705 lives saved.
John H. Hammond, Jr. develops equipment to remotely control vessels by
radio up to three miles away. Later, many of his patents were sold to the
U.S. military for use in radio guidance in weapons delivery systems.

Armstrong applies for a patent to use a vacuum tube as an oscillator.
A station in Nauen, Germany begins broadcasting on 16,900 meters...or about
18 kilocycles (just above the range of hearing!) Station FL, broadcasting
from the Eiffel tower begins broadcasting on 10,000 meters.

Hiram Percy Maxim founds the A.R.R.L. American Radio Relay League.
War breaks out in Europe, and Amateur licenses are suspended in almost all
foreign countries.

Human voices are first broadcast across the Atlantic ocean, between
Arlington, Virginia and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

David Sarnoff, an employee of the Marconi Company proposes 'radio music boxes' for the home as a potential business opportunity. He was ignored.
Wireless is used by the New York city police department.
Wireless telegraphy is made compulsory on all British vessels over 3,000

America enters the First World War, and all patent protection is set aside
for the duration. Many advances are made in manufacturing and design due to
this measure.
Amateur radio experimenters pull down their antennas and pack away their
equipment by government order.

Radio technology is used in detection of submarines, and by the US Signal
Corps in France.
5700 ships are now equipped with wireless telegraphy worldwide.
Special 'Hard' high vacuum tubes are designed for the Navy.

The War is over!
Spark transmitters are being replaced by vacuum tube oscillators, and amateurs are beginning to switch to phone operation from CW (code)
Owen D. Young starts the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) - an offshoot
of General Electric. Within the year he has an agreement with GE, RCA, and
AT&T for sharing all radio patents between themselves.
Dr. Frank Conrad , a Westinghouse engineer, broadcasts a regular schedule
of records from his garage in Pittsburgh, and begins to take requests from
the avalanche of mail he receives. A local department store mentions those
broadcasts in one of their newspaper advertisements, and promptly sells out
of its radio equipment. Westinghouse takes notice, and begins to see the
possibilities for broadcasting.

1912: H. D Arnold (Western Electric) developed mercury-vapor discharge amplifier.
In April of 1912, David Sarnoff broadcasts first news about SS Titanic.
On October 30/31 of 1912, John Stone and Lee de Forest demonstrate a complete audion based audio amplifier to Bell officials.
Edwin H. Armstrong explained the operating principles of de Forest's audion: with this better understanding of amplifier operation, Armstrong applied "feedback" to obtain "regeneration" on signals or continuous oscillations (patented in 1913 and licensed to the Marconi company in 1914).
1912: Fessenden's patents heterodynes
1913: Armstrong invented the superheterodyne circuit
1914: Vacuum tube amplifiers used on transcontinental telephone lines in July of 1914.
1915: On February 10th of 1915, R. V. L. Hartley disclosed his famous vacuum tube oscillator circuit.  The "Colpitts oscillator" demonstrated a month later.
1916: Marconi's 200 kilowatt timed-spark continuous-wave (21.5 kHz) transmitter at Caernarvon (Wales) was put into service.
Sarnoff proposes idea of a radio music box

1920: Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company inaugurated commercial broadcasting service on KDKA in Pittsburgh on November 2, 1920 (some specs: transmission at a wavelength of 360 meters and a power of 100 watts).
1922: WBAY, a "toll broadcast" station of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, began "time shared" operation on the 830 kHz (360 meter) channel in the New York City area on July 25, 1922.  Because of poor performance operations were switched to station WEAF.
Marconi perfected a parabolic antenna for use in short wave communication systems
1923: Patent for iconoscope
1924: Hull creates the 4-electrode tube
Begining in 1924, Professor Hidetsugu Yagi and his assistant, Shintaro Uda, designed and developed a sensitive and highly-directional multi-element antenna.
Alexanderson transmitted the first facsimile message across the Atlantic on June 5, 1924.
1926: Philo Farnsworth produced the first all-electronic television image.
Tellegen adds suppressor (fifth) grid to create the pentode
1927: Establishment of first short wave, transatlantic telephone link.
1928: Alexanderson gave first public demonstration of television on January 13, 1924.
The Detroit Police Department commenced regular one-way radio communication with its patron cars (2 MHz) on April 7, 1928.
1929: Vladimir Zworykin demonstrated a television receiver including his "kinescope" -- a special cathode ray tube.
1920 :

 KDKA, a small radio station in Pittsburgh begins broadcasting on November 2. The world's first commercial radio station, it is built in one of the taller buildings owned by the Westinghouse Co., and equipped with a 100w transmitter built by engineer Frank Conrad. The antenna runs from a steel pole on the roof to one of the powerhouse smokestacks. Broadcasting begins at 8:00 pm and continues until midnight with reports of the Harding-Cox presidential election returns. The news that Warren Harding has won the race marks a dramatic end to an historic day in America's broadcasting as well as political history. Westinghouse will continue with regular daily broadcasts, at first only from 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening. Financed by advertisements and the sale of 'Music Box' receivers, the programming will include musical concerts staged on the roof of the KDKA building, where the acoustics are optimal. KDKA's success, and the success of the stations that follow, lead the way to the development of broadcasting as an advertising medium.


 Through the first commercial radio station KDKA, RCA establishes an international message service with France, Germany and Argentina. Experimental radio stations are on the uprise in the U.S. as wartime constraints are abolished, and by the end of 1922 there will be over 500 licensed commercial broadcasting stations in the US, compared to the eight in operation only a year earlier.

 A year after Marconi opens the first British public radio station at Chelmsford, Essex, the British Post Office places a ban on the two half-hour daily broadcasts eminating from the six kilowatt transmitter. The broadcasts, one of them a concert by opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, have been widely enjoyed; nevertheless, the fear of commercialization of the new medium, coupled with the military's claim on uncongested airwaves, leads to the P.O.'s ruling that experimental broadcasts must be individually licensed.

 Russian immigrant David Sarnoff, commercial manager of the restructured American Marconi company known as RCA, reiterates a four year-old idea for marketing "radio music boxes." This time, Owen D. Young of General Electric listens, but the members of the RCA alliance are distracted by international concerns and only placate the young idea-man with a $2000 grant to develop a prototype.

 Ernst Belin works on and introduces wireless transmission of photographs

 An automatic exchange in Leeds makes it possible to complete local calls in Britain without the intervention of an operator. This is accomplished through the innovation of the dial telephone, which triggers electrical pulses that alert the designated line.

 1921 :

 Within a year after the first commercial radio broadcast in the US, the first sports events are transmitted over the radio waves, including tennis, boxing and baseball. These contests, along with musical programs, accelerate the popularity of radio entertainment so that by the end of 1921, eight radio stations are established and operating in the United States.

 In the attempt to consolidate the rights to radio parts and receivers, Westinghouse buys patents from American experimenters Edwin H. Armstrong and Lee de Forest, rivals themselves in certain patent suits. De Forest, an admitted failure as a businessman, sells his patents at bargain prices. Armstrong will become a millionaire. Both inventors reserve the right to sell equipment to amateurs, though - a provision which will plague the RCA allies (GE Westinghouse, AT&T). All across the country, the radio boom will see 'amateurs' cutting into their business by assembling their own receivers and transmitters.

 Medium-wave radio broadcasts are transmitted for the first time in the US as amateurs begin to discover the possibilities of short wave. A trial short wave broadcast is transmitted across the Atlantic to Britain, proving that it has long-distance potential as well. Interference in short wave transmissions will be reduced with the introduction of Franklin's directional antenna.

 Quartz crystal oscillators are built to bring added stability to the radio signal. The mineral prevents frequencies from overlapping at the receiver.

 The Marconiphone Crystal Junior V1 and V2 models are the first ready-made home radio sets to appear in Britain. They are distributed by the Marconi Company in response to the burgeoning popularity of radio, though many consumers still prefer to build their own receivers from scratch.

 1922 :

 Alexander Graham Bell dies in Nova Scotia on August 22. On the day of his funeral, every U.S. and Canadian telephone is temporarily disconnected to honor the man who revolutionized human communication.

 On August 28, WEAF in New York (later WNBC) becomes the first "toll" radio station when it broadcasts a commercial message during the 5:00 p.m. program. The Queensboro Corporation's ad for apartments in Jackson Heights on Long Island seems to work; there are reports of increased sales as a result, and commercials are thereafter a regular feature. If the commercial trend pleases advertisers and station managers, it causes some radio purists considerable despair. "What have you done with my child?" cries Lee De Forest, the inventor of the triode and a staunch individualist who is often called the "father of radio." "You have sent him out on the street... to collect money from all and sundry... [and] made of him... a stench in the nostrils of the gods of the ionosphere." Once stabilized, commercial radio thrives in the US, while advertisements on public-owned radio are banned for some time to come in Great Britain and France.

 The Marconi company gets permission from the British Post Office to broadcast musical programs - about 15 minutes' worth per week. Transmitted from the Marconi research station at Chelmsford, Essex, the first of these authorized broadcasts takes place on Valentine's Day, 1922. Soon thereafter, another experimental station is set up in London. Others follow, and as the British observe the growth of radio in the US, they realize the potential of broadcasting in their own country, as well as the need for its regulation. On October 18, 1922, the BBC (British Broadcasting Company, Ltd.) is established to monitor the development of the industry.


 The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) transmits the first regularly scheduled radio broadcasts intended purely for entertainment and certified with the government's official stamp of approval. Radio licenses are distributed by the British Post Office. In the meantime, American radio flourishes as 99 new stations open in the US during a single month.

 Good quality motion picture sound is produced when an optical sound track is placed on the edge of the film strip. One of the first commercial demonstrations of this new process is given by the Tri-Ergon company in Berlin.

 As the BBC takes the responsibility of controlling the British airwaves away from the Marconi monopoly, it is awarded exclusive broadcasting rights by the Post Office in an attempt to keep the number of transmitters in operation to a minimum. It will be at least three years until outlying localities will be granted the right to broadcast. The magnetophone, a Marconi-Sykes invention, will also be passed on to the BBC. This cumbersome but effective device allows more than one performer to speak into the same microphone, because it picks up sound from a short distance.

 1923 :

 American Charles Francis Jenkins and John Logie Baird develop ( 1923 - 1926 ) a working television system based on the Nipkow disk. The systems both produced a small, crude, orange and black but recognizable image.

 Philo T. Farnsworth ( 13 years old ) developed an electronic camera tube, similar tube to Zworykin's 'Iconoscope' named the 'Image Dissector'.

 Vladimir Zworykin patents the 'Iconoscope', an electronic camera tube based on A.A. Campbell-Swinton's proposal of 1911. By the end of 1923 he has also produced a picture display tube, the 'Kinescope'.


 Electronic engineer Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, a Russian immigrant working at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, files for a patent on the iconoscope. This device, which is based on the use of an electronic analysis procedure, represents the first television transmission tube. The following year, Zworykin applies for a patent on the television receiver or kinescope. Together with the iconoscope, it forms the first truly all-electric television system, advancing beyond the electromechanical systems that operate with such devices as the Nipkow disc. An image is focussed onto a screen inside the iconoscope by an external lens, while a high-velocity electron beam scans it from the other side in a succession of horizontal lines. The picture signal is developed as the beam strikes the photoelectric cells of the screen, causing them to emit differing impulses based on the amount of light falling upon them. The information then is translated into a picture signal, and a similar process transmits the reconstructed image to the receiving screen. Westinghouse does not immediately grasp the importance of Zworykin's inventions, but he will impress RCA officials in 1929 with an improved system. His pioneering work in telecommunications earns Zworykin the well-deserved title "father of television". The kinescope will be used many years later, synchronized with a motion picture camera, to preserve television broadcasts. In 1933, an advanced version of Zworykin's system is used for a transmission from the Empire State Building in New York City. The resolution is 230 lines. Toward the end of his life Zworykin tells members of SMPTE that he is unhappy with the uses to which his discovery has been put.

 A portrait of King George V of England is successfully transmitted by French scientist Fournier d'Albe through wireless telephony. The image is first divided into 30 lines, and each line is further broken down into 20 squares. A grey scale letter code reflecting the individual degree of shading is then assigned to each square, and the codes are read off into a microphone. After 22 minutes, the face of King George is transmitted as a series of dots.

 The A.C. Nielsen Company is founded. Nielsen's market research is soon being used by companies deciding where to advertise on radio.

 Westinghouse, General Electric, RCA, and AT&T entered into television research.

 The cumbersome, stationary carbon granule mike is replaced by a model that allows the performer complete freedom of movement while recording. The 'ribbon' microphone, designed with a strip of aluminum suspended between two magnetic poles, becomes a standard studio item.

 Dundee, Michigan is the site of the first cable radio service. The cost to subscribers is $1.50 per month.

 The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is organized by Chicago automobile financier Eugene F. McDonald, Jr. The founder of Zenith Radio Corporation, the firm licensed by Edwin Armstrong to produce radio sets using his patents, McDonald sets himself up as the president of the new association.

 The Burndept Ethophone V Portable is introduced to the consumer. Britain's first portable radio, it is designed to resemble a suitcase.

 Guglielmo Marconi undertakes major experimentation in shortwave wireless technology aboard his yacht, the Elettra. His findings will be a critical step forward in the development of ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication.

 Phonofilm is a sound-on-film system introduced by Lee de Forest, opening the way for "talkies." By 1925, 30 cinemas in the eastern US will be equipped for sound. However, silent films will dominate until Al Jolson inspires mass public acceptance with his 1927 musical "The Jazz Singer."

 1924 :

 Western Electric Corporation patents electrical sound recording. In the same year, Chester W. Rice and Edward W. Kellog of General Electric patent a dynamic loudspeaker that takes the place of headphones. They are also at work on an amplifier that can supply one watt's worth of power to the speakers. The Radiola Model 104 is commercially introduced the following year.

 John Logie Baird is the first to transmit a moving silhouette ( mask ) image, using a mechanical system based on Paul Nipkow's model.

 Two and a half million radio sets in the USA

 R. Ranger at RCA achieves the first transmission of a photograph from the US to Britain. His method involves placing a print on a cylinder that rotates while being scanned by a light beam.

 The moving coil loudspeaker is patented by Rice and Kellogg of GEC. Cutting down audio distortion significantly, these loudspeakers will provide high-quality audio for consumers in the following year.

 A short wave "beam" system transmits the first direct wireless link-up from Cornwall, England, to Cape Town, South Africa. "We speak across space and some day we shall see as we speak," is the famous message predicting the advent of television.

 Large towns in Britain may now tune into one of the eleven new radio transmitters that have been installed to supplement the broadcasting range of the main stations. 70% of the British public is now within range of good, clear radio transmission.

 1925 :

 Vladimir Zworykin takes out the first patent for colour television, although electronic colour systems are not fully developed until 25 years later.

 Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the USA

 Film producer Louis Blattner, designs the first recorder using magnetised tape instead of wire. Called the Blathnerphone, based on the German patents of Dr Kurt Stille. It is originally employed to synchronise sound to film at Elstree Studios in London

 Edwin Howard Armstrong, one of America's primary contributors to the technical development of radio, begins research on eliminating static that will result, eight years later, in the revolutionary technique of frequency modulation (FM). Armstrong will face unanticipated resistance from David Sarnoff and RCA, originally supporters of his work, when he introduces FM. The radio industry will be heavily invested in maintaining the status quo of equipment, and RCA's television interests will compete with FM for the upper frequencies.

 British physicist Edward Appleton of Cambridge University discovers that radio waves are reflected from the upper atmosphere as high as 310 miles from the ground. This fact will prove crucial to the development of radar.

 BBC initiates twin-wave radio broadcasting that allow the simultaneous transmission of two programs on different wavelengths. The approaching obsolescence of crystal sets becomes apparent because of their inability to pick up more than one wavelength, and their dependence on a transmitter located nearby.

 The Daventry wireless station in Britain is the most efficient and largest of its kind in the world. Having a transmission radius of 100 miles, it is the first to employ the new long wavelength technology. Using the power house and zinc earthing system, it supports the antenna with 50 ft twin triangular steel masts.

 The 3-25 megahertz wavelength that has been used solely by amateur broadcasters is now discovered by shortwave enthusiasts. Shortwaves prove to be perfectly suited to long distance communication, as they bounce repeatedly between the ionosphere and the surface of the earth.

 Edwin Howard Armstrong invents frequency modulation - FM - as a technique of eliminating radio static. Ultimately, he sues RCA over an infringement on his patent for FM. In 1954, in poor health, with most of his money gone, and a discouraging history of losses in patent suits, he commits suicide.

 1926 :

 Scottish television pioneer John Logie Baird uses a doll's head to demonstrate the mechanical scanning ability of a prototype television to 50 scientists in his Soho laboratory in London. They see flickering facial features as the light passes through spiral holes in a rotating disc in front of a photoelectric cell. The cell converts the light into an electrical signal which is then processed for degrees of intensity, and converted into a beam. Projected through holes in a second rotating disc, the beam is subsequently translated into a reconstruction of the image on a screen.

 NBC ( National Broadcasting Company ) is formed by Westinghouse, General Electric and RCA.

 Canadian experiments with mechanical television start in Montreal.

 Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the Atlantic Ocean

 The formation of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) marks a turning point in the development of commercial radio and television, lifting it forever out of unregulated chaos and into the national scene. Founded by David Sarnoff, general manager of RCA, the new company resolves the patent disputes between members of the radio group (RCA, GE, Westinghouse, United Fruit) and AT&T, as well as the monopoly charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission. Formally established on July 7 with the signing of twelve separate documents, NBC will be owned jointly by RCA, GE and Westinghouse. It will lease AT&T's network of wires, and acquire its stations and air time. These include WEAF in New York, the core of the new network, sold to RCA for $1 million ($8 million of which is a "good will fee"). AT&T's desire to discontinue active programming while maintaining a lucrative position in the field is realized and, with nine affiliated stations, the first broadcasting network is born.

Warner Brothers launches their Vitaphone synchronized audio disc and film system in the US. 'Don Juan' is the first feature film to utilize the system, although only the musical score is carried on the 16 inch , 33.5 rpm discs. The 'talkies' craze will be initiated by their next production, 'The Jazz Singer', which stars the improvisational Al Jolson and includes dialogue as well as music on its soundtrack.

 The triode radio wave amplifier is rendered obsolete by the tetrode, invented by H.J. Round of the Marconi Company. The tetrode or grid valve resolves the static interference problem and boasts a superior high frequency reception. Marconi Company and GEC begin distribution in Britain. It will be a year before the amplifier is sold in the US.

 As the BBC becomes a public corporation, the newspapers lift previously imposed restrictions on the live coverage of sports events.

 1927 :

 The BBC ( British Broadcasting Corporation ), CBC ( Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System ) later CBS, ( Columbia Broadacsting System ) are founded.

 Commercial transatlantic telephone service becomes available January 7, 1927. The first phone call takes place between the editor of the London Daily Mail on Fleet Street and his New York correspondent. Because technology has not yet resolved the problems involved in building functional underwater telephone cables, the service must rely on a powerful shortwave radio transmitter set up by the British Post Office. Rates are high: the journalists' conversation costs £15 ($75) for every three minutes.

 After five years of research, 21 year-old Utah engineer Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrates the first working electronic television system, equipped with the Farnsworth orthicon or 'image dissector tube'. This device electronically implements the mechanical Nipkow Disc principle, breaking an image down into light particles which are then transmitted and reconstructed at the receiving end.

 Congress passes the Radio Act of 1927. The law is concerned in great part with derailing the trend towards a broadcasting monopoly, but it also establishes the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to allocate and regulate the use of the airwaves. The language of the law defines 'radio' as any communication transferred by electrical energy without the use of wires, thereby including television in its scope.

 John Logie Baird creates the first videodisc system fifty years before its commercial inception. The discs, based on existing phonograph technology, rotate at 78 rpm and have the ability to capture and reproduce hazy images when played on a gramophone and connected to a Baird receiver. The bandwidth is 5 kh and the images, though barely recognizable, are reproduced at 12.5 fps at a resolution of 15 points per horizontal line, 30 lines altogether. During the thirties, several copies will be sold by Selfidge's department store in London. However, the mechanical TV system goes into obscurity when the BBC decides to discontinue the product in 1936.

 Pictures of Herbert Hoover, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, are transmitted 200 miles from Washington D.C. to New York, in the world's first televised speech and first long-distance television transmission.


 The Bell System employs Baird's television system to send the first long distance television transmission in the US. The demonstration takes place in the New York laboratories of Bell Telephone. The president of AT&T, Walter S. Gifford, gathers together a large group of people to view the televised image of Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce and a presidential hopeful, in his Washington, DC office. Hoover's voice is simultaneously transmitted over telephone wires. A serious problem delaying major development in television at this time is that of frequency resolution. A clear image will require a frequency band of four million cycles, compared to the 400 cycles required for a clear audio transmission in radio.

 The United Independent Broadcasters (UIB), a 16-station radio network, is formed by promoter George Coats and former RCA executive Maj. Andrew J. White to rival David Sarnoff's NBC. Unable to handle the financial problems that almost immediately threaten their company's existence, Coats and White sell out to the Columbia Phonograph Company.

 The network, now renamed Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System, debuts on September 18 with a key station, WOR, in New York. It will continue as a financially embattled concern until in 1928 Jerome Louchheim sells his controlling interest to William S. Paley, the man who will usher the company into its prime as CBS.

 Movietone offers newsreels in sound

 USA Radio Act declares public ownership of the airwaves

 Negative feedback makes hi-fi possible

 Boris Rtcheouloff applies for a patent for a video tape recorder (VTR).

 1928 :

 American inventor E. F. W. Alexanderson demonstrates the first home television receiver in Schenectady, New York. It consisted of a 3 inch screen and delivered a poor and unsteady picture.

 On May 28, 1928 the first television station WGY began broadcasting in Schenectady. Sets were built and distributed by General Electric in Schenectady.

 The world's first television drama, 'The Queen's Messenger' is broadcast, using mechanical scanning.

 Station W2XBS, RCA's first television station, is established in New York City, creating television's first star, Felix the Cat.

 Holst and Tellegen of Philips in Holland introduce the pentode to improve radio reception. This five electrode valve becomes popular in both high and low frequency amplification.

 John Logie Baird transmits television via shortwave radio from his London laboratories across the Atlantic to New York . A doll's head and Baird's own face are faintly displayed on a two by three inch screen.

 John L. Baird demonstrates a colour television system using a modified Nipkow disk.

 Ulysses Sanabria introduces interlaced television scanning, a technique that reduces flicker in the transmitted image. When the top line of an image is scanned, the line that forms directly below it remains empty. As the scanning process continues, the still picture is scanned in alternate lines, and the next picture that is transmitted scans into the previous picture's empty lines. The meshing of these interlaced fields forms a complete image frame, and the speed with which the screen phosphors decay works with the eye's inclination to meld disparate images together. The result is a sense of continuous motion from discontinuous information.

 William S. Paley invests in the Columbia Phonograph Company ( later CBS ), the fledgling NBC competitor founded one year ago. The network has weathered a very shaky start, avoiding bankruptcy several times before Paley, a cigar company advertising manager, provides his $500,000 transfusion. He has raised the money through a windfall family inheritance and by selling some of his stock in Congress Cigar. Paley first recognized the potential of commercial broadcasting in 1927 when cigar sales in his father's company soared after he advertised on Philadelphia's 225-watt station WCAU. Though criticized for spending $50 a week for the spots, Paley was undeterred in his vision. Within a year he is president of a 22-station network.

 Eight years after Nasavischwilly first proposed magnetic tape, Dr. Fritz Pfleumer of Austria receives German patent no. 500900 for his version - a paper strip covered with magnetizable iron powder - although it proves somewhat unsuccessful in experiments because of a low resistance level. Following laboratory experiments with steel-based wires and tapes, Pfleumer proposes plastic as an alternative, paving the way for a commercial magnetic tape. The "Magnetophones" marketed by the Germans will utilize plastic tapes. His original concept is eventually developed by chemists at BASF, who introduce a successful magnetic tape in 1932.

 The advent of talking pictures creates new friction between AT&T and RCA, the tensions from radio competition having only just recently eased. Much of the film industry adopts the AT&T/Western Electric sound-on-film process, leaving the RCA group (General Electric and Westinghouse) to catch up. Using an old GE recording process called Pallophotophone as a foundation, the group teams up with the Keith-Albee-Orpheum chain to establish RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum). In the ensuing scramble to garner power in the young motion picture industry, RCA takes over Pathe, and buys two music publishing companies.

 1929 :

 In London, John Logie Baird opens the world's first television studio, but is still able to produce only crude and jerky images. However, because Baird's television pictures carry so little visual information, it is possible to broadcast them from ordinary medium-wave radio transmitters.

 Bell Telephone Laboratories initiates the first color television transmission in a spectacular broadcast between Washington and New York, comprising a 50-line system that beams red, green and blue along three separate channels. Later transmissions this year will pave the way for modern color TV with three color signals transmitted over a single channel.

 Zworykin demonstrates the all electronic television camera and receiver.( Resolution 60 lines )

 The car radio is introduced in the USA

 In Germany, magnetic sound recording on plastic tape

 Bell Lab transmits stills in color by mechanical scanning

 General Squier invents the monophone in response to the congestion of US airwaves. This innovation makes it possible for telephone wires to carry radio signals, while consuming less power. As an added incentive, listeners can receive the signal on the same receiver they have used all along.

 The Blattnerphone, a magnetic tape recorder, is invented by Louis Blattner, a German film producer working in England. He uses his invention to for recording synchronized movie soundtracks.
1920: Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company inaugurated commercial broadcasting service on KDKA in Pittsburgh on November 2, 1920 (some specs: transmission at a wavelength of 360 meters and a power of 100 watts).
1922: WBAY, a "toll broadcast" station of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, began "time shared" operation on the 830 kHz (360 meter) channel in the New York City area on July 25, 1922.  Because of poor performance operations were switched to station WEAF.
Marconi perfected a parabolic antenna for use in short wave communication systems
1923: Patent for iconoscope
1924: Hull creates the 4-electrode tube
Begining in 1924, Professor Hidetsugu Yagi and his assistant, Shintaro Uda, designed and developed a sensitive and highly-directional multi-element antenna.
Alexanderson transmitted the first facsimile message across the Atlantic on June 5, 1924.
1926: Philo Farnsworth produced the first all-electronic television image.
Tellegen adds suppressor (fifth) grid to create the pentode
1927: Establishment of first short wave, transatlantic telephone link.
1928: Alexanderson gave first public demonstration of television on January 13, 1924.
The Detroit Police Department commenced regular one-way radio communication with its patron cars (2 MHz) on April 7, 1928.
1929: Vladimir Zworykin demonstrated a television receiver including his "kinescope" -- a special cathode ray tube.

Marconi establishes the first short-wave radio link between London and
Birmingham, England on 20 Megacycles.
Although most experimenters and pioneers used the longer waves, Marconi
never did fully abandon his efforts to use the short-wave bands.
Westinghouse builds a 100 watt radio station in a little shack atop its
nine story factory in Pittsburgh... KDKA.
November 2, 1920, Frank Conrad and Donald Little broadcast election returns
from 8:00PM till after Midnight- an event that is credited with starting a
rush to build stations, and purchase receivers.
By late in the year, radio is being acclaimed as the newest form of
entertainment for the home.
The first superheterodyne circuit is announced by Armstrong.
Westinghouse purchases the Superhet patent from Armstrong, along with
several patents from Reginald Fessenden and Michael Pupin.
The 'C' battery is introduced to provide bias voltage. This helps the 'B'
battery last longer by reducing the amount of plate current needed on
Radio experimenters spent over 2 Million dollars for radio parts in 1920.

Westinghouse sets up stations WJZ in Newark, N.J. KYW in Chicago, Ill., and
WBZ in Springfield, MA.
A religious service was broadcast from Calvary Episcopal Church at
Pittsburgh through KDKA. The engineers wore choir robes, as not to distract
from the service.
Station WJC (soon to become WABC) in Newark, NJ broadcasts regular bedtime
David Sarnoff is named General Manager of RCA.
The Dempsey-Carpentier fight is broadcast on WJY. This fight is broadcast
to an audience estimated at 300,000. At nearly the same time as the fight
ended, the transmitter overloaded - and was described later as a 'molten
mass'. (Dempsey knocked out Carpentier in the Fourth round)
Westinghouse joins in the agreement with RCA, GE and AT&T. They share a
pool of over 2000 radio patents.
Speakers began to replace headphones for listening.
Attachments for holding headphones against the tone arms of phonographs are
being sold.
Signal strength is measured in terms of ..."I can hear it with the
headphones laying on the table".
There are 5 broadcasting stations on the air in December of 1921.
WJZ broadcasts a Baseball World series game, pitch by pitch, getting the
information by telephone.

In September of 1922 there are 537 stations broadcasting.
Two frequencies are authorized for broadcasting...833 and 619 kc's.
A third frequency was added later in the year - 750 kc.
Approx. 100,000 radio sets are produced this year. Radio prices begin to
fall, as competition to market radio's grows.
WEAF in New York is the first to offer air time to advertisers. It was
August 28th, at 5:15 PM - an infomercial on the Hawthorne apartment complex
in Queens.
Edwin Armstrong invents the 'Super-Regenerative' receiver.

US President Harding has a radio installed at the White House.
The first Network broadcast was made, as WEAF, WJAR and WMAF are linked by
New radios became obsolete in 3 to 6 months time.
Approx. 500,000 radio sets are produced this year.

The present A.M. band is assigned. It spans 550 - 1550 kilocycles.
President Coolidge's cat is lost...and found with the help of Radio.
Over 1400 stations are now broadcasting.
It is estimated that over 3 million radio sets are in use in the United
Baseball games are broadcast almost daily.
New radio's - superhets, reflex sets, TRF's, and neutrodynes are much more
complex, so a new industry begins to take shape - the radio repairman.

The first 'light socket' powered sets are marketed.
RCA, Westinghouse and GE start a network...NBC, the National Broadcasting
A US court decides that the Secretary of Commerce has no power to regulate
broadcasting - only to issue licenses, and the chaos on the broadcast bands
grows as stations increase power to drown out the competition.
David Sarnoff is named vice president of RCA.
The BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation is granted a Royal Charter.

Televisions are being sold in kit form.
The FRC, Federal Radio Commission begins to regulate broadcasting. Their
first act was to revoke all licenses, and then assign frequencies and power
The Columbia Broadcasting System - CBS - is started.

Diode detectors receive consideration by radio designers.
Type 226 and 227 tubes with AC heaters are released by tube manufacturers.
AC Screen Grid tubes are announced towards the end of the year.

RCA gains control of several important radio patents, and begins to license
manufacturers to use those designs. Prior to this, radio design was
somewhat stifled because no one could legally use the designs of many
important circuits.
Amos 'n' Andy becomes a series on NBC
A typical AC TRF receiver employs type 226 tubes in the RF and AF amps, a
227 as a detector, type 71A for the output and a type 80 in the power

1933: Armstrong awarded circuit patents which are the basis of frequency modulation (FM) systems: he had been working intensely on FM since 1925.
1934: On June 9, 1934, Armstrong demonstrated the superior noise reduction characteristics of FM by broadcasting an organ recital in both AM and FM.
Marconi demonstrates equipment for a maritime navigational system.
1935: Armstrong broadcasted the first regular frequency modulation (FM) programming.
1940: The Connecticut State Police began operating a two-way frequency modulation system in Hartford.
1946: First Bell mobile (manually patched) service at 150 MHz.

The TRF, Tuned Radio Frequency receiver was still the leader, but many
superhet receivers were being made.

RCA, The Radio Corporation of America markets the "Radiola 80", one of the
most famous of all receivers.
The first 'midget' sets are sold.
The radio building boom has begun to most consumers are now
purchasing complete sets, rather than kits.

AVC, or Automatic Volume Control was introduced.
The first auto radios are sold. (you still had to stop and put up a
WFLA(AM)-WSUN(AM) in Clearwater, Fla., installs the country's first
directional antenna.

Several Phonograph companies start labeling records "not licensed for radio
broadcast" as move to protect their alleged property rights.

Armstrong develops his theory to use FM.
'All-Wave' receivers are a hit this year, bringing in radio from foreign
WLW increases to a half million Watts of power.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is created.

The first metal tubes are released.
Over a million auto radios are installed this year.
Armstrong demonstrates FM.

Most radios sold now employ an AFC circuit - Automatic Frequency Control.
'Automatic Tuning' (pushbuttons) are the years big hit.
Approx. 8 million sets are sold this year.
3 out of 4 families have a radio in the home.

Cathode Ray tuning eyes (the Magic Eye Tube), Slide Rule tuning, and sleek veneered cabinets are the big features this year.
The dirigible, Hindenburg crashes in flames at Lakehurst, N.J. May 6th, 1937 - and the tragedy was captured in an incredible live radio
The NBC Symphony Orchestra is formed.

Howard Hughes flies around the world and keeps in touch by radio.
Broadcasting standards for TV were announced, paving the way for commercial
television stations.
The power of radio is demonstrated by Orson Wells, and the "Mercury Theater
of the Air" - Panic is reported to be widespread as people believe the
earth has been invaded by "Martians... and we are in a "War of
the Worlds"

TV is demonstrated at the New York Worlds Fair.
Edwin Armstrong is operating W2XMN - a 50,000 watt FM station at Alpine,
The first Television sets are sold by several manufacturers.
Wind generators are sold to farms to keep their radio batteries charged.
The start of the European war renews interest in short-wave receivers.

Jacks are provided on the back of new radios to plug in your TV's sound.
FM gains public interest as 'Noise Free', high fidelity broadcasting grows.
Amateurs lose the right to communicate with foreign operators as the war in
Europe builds.

FCC authorizes FM broadcasting on 42-50 MHz.
13 million radio sets are made this year, and 130 million tubes.
Color TV was demonstrated for the first time.
30 commercial FM stations are now on the air.
The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
All amateur radio communication is halted by the war.

The manufacture of radio sets was stopped due to the war, and manufacturers
switch to defense activities.
British mathematician and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark suggests
using satellites to relay radio signals about 20 years before the first
satellite, Sputnik I was placed in orbit!

Great strides are made in technology and manufacturing as radio is used in
the war.
Meanwhile at home, many receivers are remodeled with whatever parts are on
hand - as wartime shortages and aging radio sets combine for some creative
electronics repair.

Over 30 million U.S. homes now had 57 million radio sets.
No receivers are being manufactured, although some spare parts are now
becoming available.
Germany makes use of short-wave radio for propaganda broadcasts.

The FCC changes the FM band from near 50 Megacycles to the present 88 to
108 megacycles. This rendered many sets obsolete, and set back Armstrong's
development of FM as an alternative to AM. This may (!) have been the plan
all along by those involved with AM broadcasting.

Lee Deforest grows increasingly unhappy with the state of broadcasting. To
him, radio had become 'a stench in the nostril of the gods of the
He addresses the National Association of Broadcasters at their annual
meeting in Chicago.
Table model radios are the big seller. Over 15 million sets are produced.
About half a million of those were FM receivers.
Selenium rectifiers begin to replace vacuum tube rectifiers.

Radios are shrinking in size, and over 800 thousand FM receivers are
Miniature tubes, rectifiers, transformers, and printed circuit boards are
John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shokley invent the Transistor.

The FCC announces a three month freeze on new TV station applications. It
lasts nearly four years! TV picks up steam. 10 inch screens are the most
The LP or Long Play phonograph was introduced.
The first Transistor is introduced to the public.

4 million TV sets are produced, far exceeding projections.
10 inch screen TV's have dropped in price by a third since 1947 - from $300
to $200.
The 45 RPM record is introduced.
By the end of the year, there are 98 television stations and 2021 radio
stations on the air.
$628 million dollars is spent on radio advertising this year.

People are talking about Transistors for the first time, saying they just
might replace the tube.
4 million TV sets are in use in the U.S. on January 1st.
10 Million TV sets are in use by December 31st.
Some 90 million radio sets are in use in the United States - an average of
2 radios for every home in the nation.
Regular color television transmission begins.
The Korean War begins. Shortages begin to develop for receiving equipment.

108 TV stations are broadcasting.
The United States averages two radio sets in every home.
Color TV and UHF TV are talked about everywhere.
Over 5 million auto radios are produced, and over 13 million other radio
Various conservation methods are used to get around shortages in
manufacturing of radios and TV's.

The FCC's '3 month' freeze on new TV station applications, imposed in 1948,
is finally lifted.
21 million US homes had TV sets.
Sony markets the miniature transistor radio.
10 thousand Transistors are manufactured, mostly for government and
Geoffrey W.A. Drummer proposes "electronic equipment in a solid block with
no connecting wires..." - The integrated circuit.

326 TV stations are on the air.
Electronics looks like a good field to get in to.
The Voice of America steps up broadcasts to behind the 'Iron Curtain".

Magnetic tape is demonstrated for recording television pictures by RCA.
Transistors begin to see widespread use

Over 7 million Radio sets are produced. That number, although less than the
peak of Radio production in 1947 climbs steadily through 1961 when over 11
million sets are made in the US.
IBM invents the computer 'Hard Drive'

Stereo Records reach the marketplace.
Hi-Fi Sound reproduction is a growing interest.

Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore develop a silicon integrated circuit using
planar technology and diffused junctions.

The manufacture of portable AM/FM or FM sets grows at 750 percent between
1960 and 1965.
The Tape Cart (Soon to become the 8-Track Tape) is introduced.
Echo I reflects radio signals back to Earth.

FM Stereo Broadcasting is authorized.
Commercial production of IC's is begun by several companies.

In an effort to produce color pictures on black and white sets, several
manufacturers reportedly tint the CRT blue on top, and green on the
Portable AM receivers lead in production - over 5 1/2 million were made in
The satellite Telstar transmits video images across the Atlantic.

The E.B.S. - Emergency Broadcasting System is developed. "This is a test of
the emergency broadcast system. The broadcasters in your area..etc.. etc.....this concludes this test of the emergency broadcast system."
Cassette tape is introduced.
The first communications satellite is placed in geo-synchronous orbit.

Table and Clock radios are produced at over 3 million per year, a figure
that holds steady from 1960 to 1965.

New Vacuum Tube receivers are almost non-existent as transistors have taken
over the market.
All told, between 1922 and 1965, over 300 million radio receivers were
manufactured in the United States.

Component Stereo equipment grows in popularity.

Dolby noise reduction is introduced.

Astronauts send the first live pictures and audio from the moon.

Intel builds the microprocessor, "a computer on a chip."

New FCC rules bring community access television.
"Open Skies" allows any U.S. firm to have communication satellites.
Landsat I, the "eye-in-the-sky" satellite, is launched.

September 19th, a 'Pirate Radio' station begins to broadcast from a ship
anchored some 3 miles offshore of Cape May, N.J. It was shut down the same
day by the FCC.
The microcomputer is born in France.

Ted Turner delivers his programming nationwide by satellite.

There are some 205 million FM receivers in use in the United States. 95% of
the nation's homes had an FM receiver.

PBS delivers programming by satellite.

The FCC reports there are 8,651 radio stations on the air. 4,549 AM, and
4,102 FM. Over 400 million receivers are in US homes and automobiles.
In Japan the worlds first cellular phone network starts.

Intelsat V relays 12,000 phone calls, 2 color TV channels.


A.M. Stereo is first authorized in the United States. 5 competing systems
struggle for dominance - as the FCC refuses to settle on a standard.

Cellular phone network starts in U.S.

Conus relays news feeds for stations on Ku-Band satellites.
A television set can be worn on the wrist.

Sony builds a radio the size of a credit card.
U.S. TV networks begin satellite distribution to affiliates.

The first 'dial-up' remote control system for a transmitter is introduced
by Gentner.
HBO scrambles its signals.

Half of all U.S. homes with TV are on cable.

FCC allows 'Short Spacing' of FM stations

FCC approves expansion of the AM broadcast band. The change adds from
1605-1705 kHz.

As of November 30th, 1992 the FCC reports 4961 AM stations, 4766 commercial
FM stations, and 1585 Educational FM stations, for a total of 11,312 radio
stations on the air in the United States. There are also 1509 television
stations broadcasting.
New station ownership rules go into effect - a single group may now own up
to 18 AM and 18 FM broadcast stations.
The Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) is introduced to the consumer market.
'USA Digital Radio' conducts its first 'on-air' tests of their in band on
channel A.M. digital audio broadcasting in Cincinnati, OH.

FCC selects the Motorola C-QUAM system of AM stereo transmission as the US
standard - Ten Years after AM stereo was first authorized. The lack of an
approved standard greatly hindered the development of this mode of

The top format for U.S. Commercial radio is Country - 2642 stations.
Adult Contemporary is number two with 1784, News/Talk has 1028, and
Religious stations are fourth with 926 stations.
Rock is programmed by 721, Oldies 714, Spanish/Ethnic has 470 and Adult
Standards is programmed by 435.
Rounding out the top ten are Top-40 with 358 and Urban with 328.
Denmark begins on air testing of the Eureka 147 method of Digital Audio
Broadcasting on 237 MHz.

The first broadcast station in the expanded band signs on. WJDM - Elizabeth
NJ at 1660 kHz.
The average U.S. home has 5.6 radio receivers.
There are an estimated 584,900,000 radio receivers in use.
The BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation - begins introductory DAB

Digital Audio Broadcasting begins in Sweden from four transmitters
utilizing Eureka 147.
The U.S. Congress mandates that the FCC collect over 152 million dollars in "regulatory Fee's" from broadcasters in 1997.

January 1st the E.A.S., Emergency Alert System goes 'on-line' in broadcast
stations - replacing the aging technology of the E.B.S. - the Emergency
Broadcasting System.
The FCC issues only two licenses for Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) - by Auction! Only the four original applicants from 1992 are allowed to bid. American Mobile Radio Corporation and Satellite CD Radio, Inc. are the winners.
In comments on the action, the FCC said it "could not entirely rule out the possibility of a major adverse impact" to traditional local broadcasters.

1933: Armstrong awarded circuit patents which are the basis of frequency modulation (FM) systems: he had been working intensely on FM since 1925.
1934: On June 9, 1934, Armstrong demonstrated the superior noise reduction characteristics of FM by broadcasting an organ recital in both AM and FM.
Marconi demonstrates equipment for a maritime navigational system.
1935: Armstrong broadcasted the first regular frequency modulation (FM) programming.
1940: The Connecticut State Police began operating a two-way frequency modulation system in Hartford.
1946: First Bell mobile (manually patched) service at 150 MHz.


 1930 :

 NBC is granted an experimental broadcast licence.

 The first commercial is televised by Charles Francis Jenkins, who is subsequently fined by the U.S. Federal Radio Commission.

 A theatrical show transmitted by BBC is the first synchronized sight and sound television talkie broadcast. Viewers at Hendon, North London, see and hear the transmission from Coliseum Theatre in London's West End.

 TVs based on British mechanical system roll off factory line - The Plessey Radiovisor

 The ABC ( Australian Broadcasting Company, later Commission, later Corporation ) is founded.

 An audience pays to watch television at the London Coliseum.

 American Philo Farnsworth patents electronic television.

 AT&T experiments with the picture telephone

 1931 :

 Rene Barthelmy demonstrates mechanical television at the Ecole Superieure d'Electricite in Paris.

 Henri de France achieves television transmission from Toulouse to Le Havre, France.

 Canada's first television station, VE9EC, starts broadcasting in Montreal.

 Ted Rogers, Sr. receives a licence to broadcast experimental television from his Toronto radio station.

 CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System, puts its first experimental television station on the air.

 RCA begins experimental electronic transmissions from the Empire State Building.

 Londoners gather at the Metropole Cinema and pay to view the first outside television broadcast: the classic Derby horserace.

 Television is introduced to the Russians, as Muscovites receive their first transmissions over homemade receivers.

 An early Christmas gift for the nation comes in the form of regular television broadcasts which are initiated on December 23.

 The one-hour programs, which originate from the West Coast at station W6XAO, provide a daily dose of movies on VHF.

 NBC experimentally doubles transmission to 120-line screen

 1932 :

 CRBC ( Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission ), is founded to be superseded by the CBC in 1936.

 Fully electronic television is demonstrated for the first time.

 RCA starts an NBC television station in the Empire State Building.

 The BBC takes over the Baird Company's role in developing television in Britain.

 Rouben Mamoulian's film 'Becky Sharp' is first 3-strip Technicolor feature

 Disney adopts a three-color Technicolor process for cartoons

 Stereophonic sound in a motion picture, 'Napoleon'.

 1933 :

 Western Television Limited's mechanical television system is toured and demonstrated at Eaton's stores in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg.

 Edwin Armstrong invents Frequency Modulation ( FM ), but its real future is 20 years off

 1934 :

 An evening news program, 'Spiegel des Tages' ( Mirror of the Days ), produced by Reichs Rundfunk, uses a mobile television unit to record portions of its daily broadcast.

 Half of the homes in the United States have radios

 The Communications Act of 1934 creates FCC in USA

 Associated Press starts wirephoto service

 1935 :

 William Hoyt Peck of Peck Television of Canada uses a transmitter in Montreal during five weeks of experimental mechanical broadcasts.

 RCA pledges millions of dollars towards the development of TV.

 Germany opens the world's first three-day-a-week filmed television service.

 PTT, the Post and Telecommunications Authority in France, begins regular television transmissions from atop the Eiffel Tower.

 Eastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film

 In Germany, audio tape recorders go on sale

 In USA, all-electronic VHF television comes out of the lab

 1936 :

 There are about 2,000 television sets in use around the world.

 The British Post Office issues the first broadcast television transmission standard.

 High-definition television broadcasts are initiated at the BBC with a sophisticated new system by EMI involving the Emitron, a camera tube that can emit 25 unflickering pictures per second on a 405-line screen. This marks a vast improvement over Baird's mechanical system, which uses only 240 lines.

 Radio manufacturers in the US adopt a 441 scanning line standard for television.

 PTT the Post and Telecommunications Authority in France, begins daily broadcasting of television at 455 scanning lines in September.

 An NBC mobile television transmission unit experiments with pictorial news broadcasting in New York. The unit consists of two large buses, one housing a field studio, the other a mobile transmitter that beams the signal back to the main transmitter in the Empire State Building.

 TV cameras record the coronation of King George VI, transmitting from various points along the procession, while the service in Westminster Abbey is broadcast by radio. It is the most intricate production in broadcast history to date.

 The Olympic Games in Berlin are the first to be broadcast on television. One of the technicians working on the broadcast is Klaus Landsberg, later to guide technical development for Paramount at KTLA in Los Angeles.

 1938 :

 Allen B. DuMont forms the DuMont television network to compete with RCA and manufactures the first all-electronic television set for sale to the North American public.

 The radio drama, 'War of the Worlds', by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Players causes national panic

 W. Fleichsig develops the shadow mask tube for color TV, soon to be a staple in color broadcasting.

 The Dominion Theater in London is the site for the first demonstration of high resolution color television by John Logie Baird. Using a large screen ( 9 x 12 ft. ), Baird is also able to transmit a live broadcast from the Crystal Palace. Commercial development of color television is frustrated though, by Baird's insistence on using mechanical, not electronic, scanning systems.

 Chester Carlson invents Xerography

 1939 :

 On April 30, Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurates commercial television with his appearance on the first public broadcast, viewed by thousands at the New York World's Fair. FDR is the first President to go on a television broadcast. His appearance is followed by that of RCA's David Sarnoff who announces the launch of the company's first commercial TV set, it has a 30cm (12in) screen and sells for $625.

 CBS ( Columbia Broadcasting System ) begins television broadcasting this year as well.

 The first major display of electronic television in Canada takes place at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

 Television sets range in price from $200 to $600.

 Baseball is televised for the first time.

 Mechanical scanning television system abandoned

 Convinced that television theater is the wave of the future, Professor Fischer of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology creates the Eidophor, a large-screen TV projector.

 TV transmitters are shut down in Britain when war is declared against Germany, to eliminate the danger of providing the enemy with navigational beacons. The BBC abruptly stops broadcasting in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon on September 1, resuming at that same point when peace returns in 1945.

 Australia Calling ( later Radio Australia ) begins transmission to offset overseas propaganda broadcasting.

 1940 :

 Dr. Peter Goldmark of CBS introduces a 343-line colour television system for daily transmission, using a disc of three filters ( red, green and blue ), rotated in front of the camera tube.

 The FCC decides US television will have FM sound as Edward Armstrong, the creator of frequency modulation, finally gets the support for which he has struggled so assiduously.

 CBS demonstrates its field sequential color television system to NTSC engineers. The system is based on a quickly spinning color wheel. The FCC will adopt this system in 1950, but three years later the decision will be revoked in favor of the RCA color system.

 Fantasia introduces stereo sound to American public

 1941 :

 CBS and NBC start commercial transmission; The US enters WW II following the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7

 1942 :

 Kodacolor process produces the color print

 1941 :

 North America's current 525-line / 30-pictures-a-second standard, known as the NTSC ( National Television Standards Committee ) standard, is adopted.

 NBC and CBS are granted commercial broadcast licences.

 All radio and televison enterprise is devoted to the war effort

 1946 :

 Television enjoys a resurgence as the US lifts its wartime ban on TV manufacture, and the BBC resumes broadcasting.

 6,500 television receivers are sold in the United States.

 NBC and CBS demonstrate rival colour systems.

 The world's first television broadcast via coaxial cable is transmitted from New York to Washington D.C.

 Automobile radio telephones connect to telephone network

 1947 :

 A permanent network linking four eastern U.S. stations is established by NBC. On June 3, Canadian General Electric engineers in Windsor receive the first official electronic television broadcast in Canada, transmitted from the new U.S. station WWDT in Detroit.

 Bob Hope participates in the first commercial broadcast in the Western US. The station, owned by Paramount, is W6XA0 in Los Angeles ( later to be called KTLA ). The broadcast is sponsored by Ford Motor Company's Lincoln division.

 KTLA in Los Angeles broadcasts the first home shopping television show.

 Hungarian, Dennis Gabor describes principles of holography

 1948 :

 The BBC begins the first regular British television broadcast, called 'The BBC Newsreel'.

 Television manufacturing begins in Canada. The television audience increases by 4,000 percent this year, due to a jump in the number of cities with television stations and to the fact that one million homes in the U.S. now have television sets.

 The U.S. Federal Communications Commission puts a freeze on new television channel allocations until the problem of station-to-station interference is resolved.

 The Gerber television broadcasting standard is adopted in Europe, featuring 625 scanning lines at 25 frames per second.

 Network television in the US begins, with separate networks on the East and West coasts.

 The first cable television systems appear in the US.

 1949 :

 The first Emmy Awards are presented, and the Canadian government establishes an interim policy for television, announcing loans for CBC television development.

 An RCA research team in the U.S. develops the Shadow Mask picture tube, permitting a fully electronic colour display.

 The presidential inauguration is broadcast for the first time; in 1957 it will be videotaped for the first time.

 First introduced 20 years earlier, color television is finally available commercially. Developed by engineers at Pye, it is demonstrated for the public at London's Olympia.

 In USA, Community Antenna Television is introduced, forerunner to cable

 1950 :

 Cable TV begins in the U.S., and warnings begin to be issued on the impact of violent programming on children. European broadcasters fix a common picture standard of 625 lines.

 By the 1970s, virtually all nations in the world used 625-line service, except for the U.S., Japan, and some others which adopted the 525-line U.S. standard.

 Sales of television receivers in the US exceed $1billion. There are more than 100 TV stations operating in 38 states. The census shows only 5 million American homes have television sets, but sales figures show that 8 million are in use. 45 million US homes have radio at this time.

 Transmitters are installed atop the Eiffel Tower and the Belfry in Lille. The first regular television transmissions begin in France on April 25, 1950.

 RCA's Vidicon TV camera is the first to use a photoconductive tube. The Vidicon is more adaptable and less expensive than previous TV cameras.

 CBS initiates regular commercial color TV broadcasting with a one-hour program featuring Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfrey.

 WOR in New York broadcasts the first pay TV program.

 1951 :

 The first colour television transmissions using the Peter Goldmark colour system begin in the U.S. For technical reasons, the several million existing black-and-white receivers in America cannot pick up the 'field sequential color television system' programmes, even in black-and-white. Colour sets go blank during television's many hours of black and white broadcasting. The experiment is a failure and colour transmissions are stopped.

 In the US, Armour Research demonstrates a crude VTR - Video Tape Recorder - to Alexander Poniatov and Ampex executives.

 Ampex immediately begins work on one of its own in Redwood City, California. The team of engineers includes Ray Dolby, destined to make his own impact on the sound industry. After several years of work and many dead ends, the resulting VR 1000 is marketed in 1955, with great success.

 A parallel effort to develop the required tape goes on at 3M Corporation. 3M's first Scotch 179 reel is 2 in. wide, nearly 800 m long, and weighs 10 kg.

 The U.S. sees its first coast-to-coast transmission in a broadcast of the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco.

 1952 :

 John Mulloin and Wayne Johnson of the Bing Crosby Enterprises laboratories make the first high-definition video recording on magnetic tape. The one-inch (2.5 cm) tape uses eleven tracks for pictures and one for sound and is three times cheaper than any comparable process.

 Cable TV systems begin in Canada. On September 6, CBC Television broadcasts from its Montreal station; on September 8, CBC broadcasts from the Toronto station.

 The first political ads appear on U.S. television networks, when Democrats buy a half-hour slot for Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson is bombarded with hate mail for interfering with a broadcast of 'I Love Lucy'.

 Eisenhower, Stevenson's political opponent, buys only 20-second commercial spots, and wins the election.

 Television sets in American homes pass the 22 million mark

 1953 :

 A microwave network connects CBC television stations in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The first private television stations begin operation in Sudbury and London.

 Britain has its first public showing of color TV when the BBC broadcasts the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. The CBC beats U.S. competitors to the punch by flying footage across the Atlantic.

 'TV Guide' is launched.

 The National Television Systems Committee ( NTSC ) of the US develops a set of compatible technical standards for black and white and color transmissions, making it possible to receive color broadcasts on black and white sets The system is adopted in America, Japan, and many other countries in the Americas. Engineers joke that the acronym stands for 'Never The Same Color'.

 Japanese television goes on the air for the first time.

 Eduard Schueller applies for a patent on a helical video tape recorder with two heads.

 Half the homes in the United States have television sets.

 1954 :

 Commercial colour broadcasting begins in United States using the NTSC standards.

 RCA produces the first color television sets in the US, but color reception is still erratic. RCA will have the color TV field to itself until 1959, when patent suits are settled and Zenith and others enter the market.

 Magazines now routinely offer the homemaker tips on arranging living-room furniture for optimal television-viewing pleasure.

 Frozen TV dinners are marketed for the first time.

 3D television broadcasts begin in Mexico. Glasses for viewing the telecasts in 3D cost 25 pesos.

 1955 :

 NBC's popular children's program 'Howdy Doody' becomes the first all-color television series.

 The predecessor to the Trinitron television is developed at Paramount Pictures.

 Paul Weimer of RCA describes a single tube color camera.

 Britiain gets its first commercial television channel. ITV ( Independent Television ) serves an audience of 12 million. The first commercial is for toothpaste.

 Dwight D. Eisenhower is the first president to broadcast his press conferences on television. These early TV press conferences are screened and reviewed before they are released for broadcast.

 1956 :

 Ampex markets the first quadruplex, transverse scan video tape recorder. It uses two-inch tape.

 CBS' 'Douglas Edwards and the News' is the first taped TV program to be broadcast. The program is taped so it can be rebroadcast to the west coast three hours after it is seen in the east.

 Henri de France develops the SECAM ( sequential colour with memory ) procedure. It is adopted in France, and the first SECAM colour transmission between Paris and London takes place in 1960. In 1967 it will be adopted in France and the USSR.

 American engineers joke that the acronym stands for 'System Essentially Contrary to American Methods'.

 Several Louisiana congressmen promote a bill to ban all television programmes that portray blacks and whites together in a sympathetic light.

 Television Comes to Australia for the 1956 Olympic Games.

 By the end of 1956, 13 video tape recorders have been installed at ( US ) TV stations.

 1957 :

 The first VTR equipped remote trucks appear.

 Tape is interchanged from one VTR to another for the first time.

 The first quadruplex color VTR is demonstrated by Ampex, and called the VR 1000B. In 1963 a transistor version will be marketed under the name VR 110.

 Mechanical Video Tape editing begins. The process involves pouring magnetically sensitive salts on the service side of the tape. Then the editor looks at the tape through a microscope. Once the signal characteristics have been gleaned and the edit point determined, a transverse slice is made with a demagnetized razor.

 Chromakey, an electronic process using one primary color to matte a second video signal, is used for the first time on CBS' broadcast of 'Cinderella'.

 Philips produces a new TV camera tube, the Plumbicon. An improved version of its predecessor, the Vidicon, it becomes universal in color TV camera design

 1958 :

 SMPTE forms the Videotape Recording Committee to establish standards.

 CBS broadcasts 'The Red Mill', the first full length program edited on videotape.

 US Television advertising revenues exceed $1 billion.

 Color is synthesized from a monochrome television set in the first 'flicker color' broadcast.

 John Silva and Roy White, under the direction of Klaus Landsberg, design the Telecopter, a helicopter equipped with a vidicon camera and microwave transmission equipment. The signal is relayed to a fixed wing aircraft, which in turn passes it to the transmitter on Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles. From there the signal is routed, by microwave, to master control at KTLA in Hollywood.

 'The Betty Freezor Show' is the first TV program to be taped in color. It is broadcast by WBTV of Charlotte, North Carolina only two hours after it is recorded on 1/2 in. (1.25 cm) videotape, with only a slight deterioration of the picture.

 The CBC's microwave network is extended from Victoria, B.C. to Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, to become the longest television network in the world.

 Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare of Assisi the patron saint of television. Her placement on the television set is said to guarantee good reception.

 1959 :

 Sony is the first company to market a transistorized television. This black and white portable set will be followed in one year by a color model. The color model will use a picture tube designed by Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron, a device essential to the design of the first atomic bombs.

 CBC Radio-Canada Montreal producers go on strike.

 1960 :

 The Nixon-Kennedy debates are televised, marking the first network use of the split screen. Kennedy performs better on television than Nixon, and it is believed that television helps Kennedy win the election.

 Sony develops the first portable battery operated, all-transistor television receiver, making televisions lighter and more portable.

 Ninety percent of American homes now own television sets, and America becomes the world's first 'television society'. There are now about 100 million television sets in operation worldwide.

 First ruby laser built by Theodore Maiman

 First successful hologram produced

 1961 :

 The Canadian Television Network (CTV), a privately owned network, begins operations.

 The Dodd hearings begin in the U.S., examining the television industry's 'rampant and opportunistic use of violence'.

 1962 :

 The Telstar television satellite is launched by the U.S., and starts relaying transatlantic television shortly after its launch. The first programme shows scenes of Paris.

 A survey indicates that 90 percent of American households have television sets; 13 percent have more than one.

 There are 951 VTRs in use worldwide.

 Toshiba demonstrates a helical VTR.

 JVC of Japan sells the first helical VTR.

 The first solid state VTRs come from RCA and Sony.

 Ampex demonstrates electronic video tape editing.

 Transatlantic television broadcasting is possible for the first time when the satellite Telstar is put in orbit. AT&T uses Telstar to transmit an image from Maine to Cornwall in Britain. The event captures the imagination of the American public, as soon evidenced by a popular Top-40 song named after the satellite.

 Professor Walter Bruch in Germany develops the PAL - Phase Alternate Line - system of color television transmission. The system's first use is in Germany in 1967. PAL will have several variants, and will be accepted in Italy, Britain and many other European and Asian countries.

 ABC Television ( US ) begins broadcasting in color for three and a half hours a week. NBC is now broadcasting 68% of its programming in color. CBS broadcasts only in black and white. By 1967, all three networks will be broadcasting entirely in color.

 1963 :

 On November 22, regular television programming is suspended following news of the Kennedy assassination. Two days later, live on television, Jack Ruby murders Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy's suspected assassin.

 Kennedy's funeral is televised the following day. 96 per cent of all American television sets are on for an average 31 hours out of 72 during this period watching, many say, simply to share in the crisis.

 Rectangular screen color TVs are introduced to the American consumer.

 Polaroid introduces instant color film

 1964 :

 BBC2 begins broadcast service, operating on UHF ( ultra high frequency ) with a 625 line picture. Britain's two other channels broadcast on VHF using a 405 line picture.

 The Beatles appear for the first time on 'Ed Sullivan Show'

 Procter and Gamble, the largest American advertiser, refuses to advertise on any show that gives

"offense, either directly or by inference, to any organized minority group, lodge or other organizations, institutions, residents of any State or section of the country or a commercial organization."
1965 :

 The Vietnam War becomes the first war to be televised, coinciding with CBS's first colour transmissions and the first Asia-America satellite link. Protesters against the war adopt the television-age slogan, 'The whole world is watching'.

 Sony introduces the CV-2000, a small home videorecorder.

 Westinghouse develops the Phonovid process in an attempt to produce a commercial videodisc. While this microgroove disc provides a good quality picture it can only store 200 fixed images on each disc.

 The Japanese produce the first miniature television. The transistorized set is 10 inches (25 cm) high with a 7 1/2in color screen and only requires 10% as much power as an average TV.

 The MVR videodisc recorder is demonstrated in California. 600 frames of action lasting 20 seconds can be recorded on the magnetic disc and replayed immediately. Single frames can also be replayed or erased.

 1966 :

 Colour television signals are transmitted by Canadian stations for the first time.

 The BBC begins color TV broadcasts.

 The first video slow motion appears on NBC during the World Series of Baseball.

 ...also see item at 1981 regarding Clive Sinclair

 1967 :

 Sony introduces the first lightweight, portable and cheap video recorder, known as the 'portapak'. The portapak is almost as easy to operate as a tape-recorder and leads to an explosion in 'do-it-yourself' television, revolutionizing the medium.

 The FCC orders that cigarette ads on television, on radio and in print carry warnings about the health dangers of smoking.

 The first television broadcast to incorporate the use of an electronic character generator. Until this time, cameras have scanned images of art cards with typography, and the image has been superimposed on another image.

 RCA develops a battery operated, tubeless TV camera that can transmit its own pictures and weighs only 2.2 lb (1kg).

 CBS pioneers home video with the EVR (electronic video recorder). The tape cartridge is played on an automatic player with rewind, fast forward and freezeframe capabilities. The picture quality is comparable to that of 35 mm films shown on TV.

 Ray Dolby develops his noise reduction system

 1968 :

 Sony develops the Trinitron tube, revolutionizing the picture quality of colour television.

 Intelsat completes global communications satellite loop

 The US is estimated to have 78 million of the world's 200 million TV sets, the USSR 25 million, Japan 20.5 million, the UK 19 million, W. Germany 13.5 million and France 10 million.

 The U.S. television industry now has annual revenues of about $2 billion and derives heavy support from tobacco advertisers.

 Television brings war into the home for the first time as US TV news broadcasts show the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam. In the face of controversial pictures such as these, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, along with many in his TV audience, begins to question the conduct of the war.

 1969 :

 On July 20, 1969, the first television transmission from the moon is viewed by 600 million viewers around the world.

 'Sesame Street' debuts on American Public Television, and begins to revolutionize adult attitudes about what children are capable of learning.

 1970 :

 Motion Picture box office revenue is $896 million. Television advertising revenue is $3 billion.

 In Japan, the Matsushita multiplex adaptor is used to receive transmission of television programs broadcast in two languages at once, giving the viewer the option of watching a foreign film in the original language or in Japanese.

 The excellent quality of the AEG Telefunken-Decca Teledec is demonstrated in W. Berlin. This videodisc is made of a sheet of PVC 0.04 in. ( 1mm ) thick. A 9 in. ( 22.5 cm ) disc plays for five minutes, a 12 in. (30 cm) runs for 12 minutes.

 1971 :

 Sony introduces the U-Matic three quarter inch video cassette recorder.

 SMPTE Time Code makes computer assisted videotape editing possible. The result is the CMX 300.

 AT&T transmits the first intercity broadcast of television with stereo sound.

 The BBC pioneers digital television, transmitting the audio signal as part of the video signal, rather than separately. This improves the quality of sound reception at the edges of the broadcast area and reduces the overall cost of broadcasting.

 Philips of the Netherlands develops a laser disc, its Video LP (VLP). It comes in two sizes: one can record an hour of TV on either side, the other records only 30 minutes on each side but has freeze-frame capability. The surface of the disc is smooth and reflective; a laser takes the place of the phonograph needle. Philips intends for the product to compete with the videocassette but does not market it for several years.

 Canada's 'Anik I', the first domestic geo-synchronous communications satellite, is launched, capable of relaying 12 television programmes simultaneously.

 India has a single television station in New Delhi, able to reach only 20 miles outside the city.

 South Africa has no television at all.

 1972 :

 The Munich Olympics are broadcast live, drawing an estimated 450 million viewers worldwide. When Israeli athletes are kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during the games, coverage of the games cuts back and forth between shots of the terrorists and footage of Olympic events.

 The American-conceived Intelsat system is launched, becoming a network and controlling body for the world's communications satellite system.

 The BBC announces a new "electronic book" information service, CEEFAX. Subscribers have decoders plugged into their TV sets and, by punching the appropriate button on a keypad, receive current stock prices, news or weather. Other 'data pages' will be added to the service in time.

 1973 :

 Ninety-six countries now have regular television service.

 The first microwave pay TV system feeds hotels in Washington, DC.

 The UK's Independent Television channel (ITV) introduces ORACLE, a television information service in direct competition with the BBC's CEEFAX system. ORACLE offers weather, traffic, news, sports and financial information. In the following year BBC and ITV will agree to a standard so that subscribers can use the same decoder for either service.

 Ikegami introduces the first electronic news gathering - ENG - camera. It is a highly portable video camera, which can be easily managed on the shoulder of one man. This development leads to a revolution in the immediacy of TV news coverage. Some feel it is the start of a radical change in world politics with its effects seen in everything from Watergate to international terrorism.

 Watergate unfolds on the air in the U.S. and ends the following year with Nixon's resignation.

 U.S. producers sell nearly $200 million dollars worth of programmes overseas, more than the rest of the world combined.

 1974 :

 Panasonic, a division of Matsushita, demonstrates high definition television, with 1125 scanning lines, in New York.

 Colour television begins in Australia.

 The US experiments with captioned television for the hearing-impaired.

 97% of American homes have at least one TV set and it is on at least five hours per day.

 1975 :

 Sony introduces the Betamax VTR.

 A study indicates that the average American child during this decade will have spent 10,800 hours in school by the time he or she is 18, but will have seen an average 20,000 hours of television.

 Home Box Office is the first satellite television broadcasting network.

 Studies also estimate that, by the time he is 75, the average American male will have spent nine entire years of his life watching television; the average British male will have spent eight years watching.

 Both RCA and Thomson-CSF announce videodisc systems.

 The Thomson approach passes laser light through a transparent medium to a photodiode.

 The RCA approach relies upon capacitance transfer of information from the disc via a stylus.

 1976 :

 Ampex perfects the moving head principle for slow motion video recording.

 IBA of the UK demonstrates the first digital VTR images.

 JVC ( Japan Victor Co. ) introduces VHS, a half inch cassette system designed for home consumer video recording.

 First coast to coast stereo simulcast, in which a television program, 'Live From Lincoln Center' is broadcast nationwide from New York, and its stereo sound portion is broadcast at the same time on a nationwide network of radio stations.

 The Olympics, broadcast from Montreal, draw an estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide.

 British TV networks begin first teletext system.

 1977 :

 South Africans see television for the first time on May 10, as test transmissions begin from the state-backed South Africa Broadcast Co. The Pretoria government has yielded to public pressure after years of banning television as being morally corrupting. Half the broadcasts are in English; half in Afrikaans.

 Home color TV cameras are offered to the public.

 The new 1700 video cassette recorder from the Dutch company Philips plays at half the speed of previous home video systems, cutting the cost of tapes in half while doubling the playing time. For the first time, a complete feature film can be recorded on one cassette.

 1978 :

 Ninety-eight percent of American households have television sets, up from nine percent in 1950. Seventy-eight percent have colour televisions, up from 3.1 percent in 1964.

 A full screen digital image is recorded on video tape for the first time.

 SMPTE recommends standards for NTSC color registration through the use of color bars.

 Stereo television broadcasting begins in Japan.

 The British Post Office is experimenting with a viewdata or television information service it calls Prestel. A special module links any ordinary telephone and TV to the computerized data service.

 The Canadian Government introduces its own system for videotex. It is called Telidon, and boasts graphics as well as text. It produces superior graphics through an alphageometric based technology.

 Videotex is similar to teletext in that it is an electronic system for the display of information on the television screen of a set equipped with a decoding device. Unlike teletext, the system provides service from a central computer; information is relayed to the home user through cable or telephone lines. Moreover, it offers the opportunity of user interaction.

 The American videotex system is known as ANTIOPE. Compatible worldwide, it provides both broadcast and videotex technology, as well as hard copy printouts.

 1979 :

 There are now 300 million television sets in operation worldwide.

 BASF of W. Germany demonstrates the LVR ( longitudinal video recording ) system; it can fit three hours of video onto the smallest cassette in the world.

 Flat-screen pocket televisions, with liquid crystal display screens, are patented by the Japanese firm Matsushita. The pocket television is no bigger than a paperback book.

 Philips of the Netherlands markets LaserVision, a digital video disc sytem that uses a helium neon laser to read the disc, eliminating the interference caused by dust or scratching. The player itself is smaller than many cassette decks.

 JVC (Japan Victor Co.) introduces a new video disc system. This system uses a sapphire stylus and, unlike the Philips LaserVision set, it can play either audio or video discs on the same turntable.The stylus is good for 2000 hours of play.

 1980 :

 India launches its national television network.

 Sony demonstrates the first consumer Camcorder, a combined video camera and recorder in one small package.

 The British Post Office makes its Prestel Viewdata or public TV information service available to the public. One linking module gives an ordinary telephone and television access to the computerized data system. The system goes international the following year.

 Cable News Network ( CNN ) goes on the air in the U.S.

 Closed captioning, an added digital text signal for the deaf which can be decoded with special devices, is designed at ABC.

 1981 :

 The first professional camcorders are employed at ENG, thus making it possible for one man to completely cover a news event.

 First National of the US releases 'Kididisk', a new videodisc home teaching device with rewind, fast forward and freeze-frame capabilities

 After five years of work on the project, Sinclair Radionics of Cambridge, England introduces Microvision, the first pocket-sized TV. From almost anywhere in the world Microvision can receive black and white pictures on its 3 inch ( 7.5 cm ) screen. It also includes an FM radio receiver. It retails for £50 ( $100 ).


 ..."I would like to point out an error in the "2500 Years of Communications History." The British inventor Clive Sinclair, or his company, Sinclair Radionics, brought the first pocket TV in the world to the market in 1977, not in 1981. In fact, the prototype was presented to the public 11 years earlier, in 1966!

 A lot of information concerning the Sinclair Pocket TVs can be found at the following www-address:

 I would also like to inform you that the Sinclair Microvision is acclaimed in encyclopaedias of design because of its remarkable design quality. It is most often dated 1976, but it did not actually come on the market before January 1977"

 A reader who wished to remain anonymous

1982 :

 Chyron debuts a character generator which may be controlled and programmed by a personal computer.

 The first flat screen portable TV is offered to the public.

 The Marconi Co. announces plans to begin commercial satellite TV in the UK before the end of 1986. The new service will have two channels. One will show feature films, the other will rerun highlights from old programs.

 National Panasonic markets the UK's first stereo video recorder, the NV-7900. The remote control gives the viewer easy accesss to 25 different functions of the recorder, which can be used with a stereo TV set, or a stereo audio system in conjunction with a mono TV set.

 1984 :

 8mm consumer video recorders are marketed in the US.

 Stereo TV broadcasting is authorized by the FCC.

 Kodak introduces its Kodavision home video system.

 Seiko, Sony and Casio simultaneously produce pocket televisions with flat screens. These are followed by wristwatch televisions.

 1985 :

 In the UK, teachers and schoolchildren collaborate on the Domesday Project, a sort of time capsule on video disc. It combines digital data with still and moving images to produce a record of Britain in the year 1985.

 At Expo '85 in Tsukuba, Sony demonstrates the Jumbotron, a high definition TV screen 40 meters wide and 25 meters high.

 Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan produces a 3D television which does not require the use of special glasses. The first model has a 14 inch screen.

 Sony introduces its Video 8 camera. It weighs less than 5 lbs.

 Sony builds a radio the size of a credit card.

 1986 :

 The crucial battle for a democratic revolution in the Philippines is focused on the control of Channel Four, the television station owned by the government. The live broadcast of Ferdinand Marcos' inaugural ceremony is cut off in mid-gesture by the rebels and replaced by a John Wayne movie.

 1987 :

 Pope John Paul is the subject of the largest satellite television broadcast in history, called 'Prayer For Peace' reaching over 1.5 billion people around the world. Twenty satellites and thirty transponders are used to transmit the program to 25 countries on five continents.

 Half of all homes in USA with TV are on cable.

 1988 :

 Sony introduces the Video Walkman, a portable TV and VCR with a 3 inch screen that weighs only 2-1/2 lbs. The list price in the US is $1300.

 At the same time the first pocket-size color TVs become available. Sony, Sharp Electronics ( Magnavox ) and NAP Consumer Electronics Corporation all introduce color models with flat liquid crystal display ( LCD ) screens. The picture screens on these models are 3 inches ( 7.6 cm ) wide and only 1/8 of an inch ( 3 mm ) thick. They sell for about $600.

 1989 :

 The manufacturers of video cassette systems offer a sharper picture in new higher resolution products. The JVC Company of America in Elmwood Park, New Jersey introduces the Super VHS format with a 440 line picture rather than the 220 line picture of conventional VHS. Sony markets its new ED-Beta system, with 500 lines to a picture, as opposed to the old Beta's 300.

 1990 :

 1446 television stations broadcasting in United States.

 1991 :

 During the Gulf War, CNN coverage of the conflict is so extensive and wide-ranging that it is commonly remarked only half in jest that Saddam Hussein is watching CNN for his military intelligence, instead of relying on his own information-gathering methods.

 3 out of 4 U.S. homes own VCRs; fastest selling domestic appliance in history.

 1993 :

 A 'TV Guide' poll finds that one in four Americans would not give up television, even for a million dollars.

 1996 :

 There are over a billion television sets in operation around the world.

This page was prepared and is maintained by R. Victor Jones
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Last updated August 27, 1999