2002 | June 15 - The US Congress officially recognized Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the telephone in 1860, not Alexander Graham, as so far claimed. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, who conducted experiments in the same laboratory where Meucci's material had been stored, was granted the first telephone patent, and was thereafter credited with inventing the telephone.
Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci - Italiano - Inventore del Telefono.
1875 - Thomson transmits wireless signals. George R. Carey of Boston proposes a television system in which every picture element is transmitted simultaneously, each over a separate circuit. A large number of photoelectric cells are arranged on a panel, facing the image, and wired to a panel carrying the same number of bulbs.
George Carey's selenium camera, as illustrated in the Scientific American article Seeing by Electricity, June 5, 1880
1897 - Karl Ferdinand Braun, a German physicist, invents the first cathode-ray tube, the basis of all modern television cameras and receivers. Braun has the idea of placing two electromagnets around the neck of the tube to make the electron beam move horizontally and vertically. On the fluorescent screen the movement of the electron beam has the effect of tracing visible lines on the screen.
Karl Ferdinand Braun (6 June 1850 – 20 April 1918) and his cathode-ray tube sketch
1901 | December 12 - The Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi developed radio telegraphy. Standing on Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland, he received the first transatlantic wireless signal - the letter "S" in Morse code - which was transmitted from over 1800 miles away in Cornwall, England.
Guglielmo Marconi (25 April 1874 – 20 July 1937)
with Signal Hill Transmitter
1903 | December 17 - Today we celebrate the anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright's achievement: sustained controlled powered flight. This exhibition occurred on this day in 1903, in their homemade flyer, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1906 | December 24 - Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden is the first to successfully transmit the sound of a human voice by radio. He accomplishes this between two 50-foot towers. Six years later, after a long battle to raise more funds, Fessenden makes the first long-range voice broadcast in radio history on Christmas Eve, and plays "O Holy Night" on his violin to radio operators on ships in the Atlantic.
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (October 6, 1866 – July 22, 1932) in his lab, believed circa 1906
1908 | June 18 - A.A. Campbell-Swinton, an electrical engineer, publishes proposals about an all-electronic television system that uses a cathode ray tube for both receiver and camera. Three years later, in 1911, he describes his cathode ray system in detail in "Scientific American". The article discusses future uses of television. Entertainment is not among them.
Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton, FRS (1863 – 1930). Diagram as published in The Times
1911 | April 5 - With college student Vladimir Zworykin as his assistant, Boris Rosing of Russia achieves his first distant transmission of images and receives the Gold Medal of the Russian Technical Society. Also this year, Rosing develops a system combining a cathode ray tube with a Nipkow disc.
Also in 1911 Boris and Vladimir demonstrated a mechanical mirror-drum scanner to transmit over wires.
1921 - A 14-year old Philo T Farnsworth, having read about mechanical television in magazines, is reported to have conceived of electronic television scanning while daydreaming in an Idaho potato field. He confides his idea to high school teacher Justin Tolman.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (August 19, 1906 – March 11, 1971) at age 13
1923 | December 29 - Russian born American inventor Vladimir Zworykin applied for a US patent for an electronic camera tube, the "Iconoscope". He didn't receive the patent until thirteen years later! By the end of 1923 he had also produced a picture display tube, the "Kinescope", an all-electronic television system.
Vladimir K. Zworykin and his filed patent application
1923 | June 14 - Charles Francis Jenkins demonstrated the first experimental wireless television transmissions with a mechanical system (48 lines on 1875 kHz). He managed to transmit silhouettes from the Navy radio station in Anacostia to his Jenkins Laboratories office in Washington Dc. Jenkins named this first laboratory demonstration of television “Radio Vision”, defined as the instantaneous reproduction on a small screen of a picture. This he differentiated from “Radio Movies”, which he defined as the transmission of pictures from a theatre film to a small screen at home.
1925 | June 13: Ohio engineer Charles Francis Jenkins demonstrated the first synchronized transmission of pictures and sound, using 48 lines, and a mechanical system. Jenkins called this "the first public demonstration of radio-vision" though he claimed to have successfully transmitted a moving silhouette in June 1923.
1925 | October 2 - John Logie Baird obtains his first “tones and detail” television picture - an image of "Stooky Bill", a ventriloquist's dummy. That same day, Baird pays 24-year-old office boy William Taynton 2 shillings and sixpence to sit for the camera, sweating under the blazing lights for hours, in order to be the first individual to appear live on “true” television.
1926 | October 5 - John Logie Baird applied for a patent for “Phonovision” - a system for recording and playing back #television images on 78 rpm phonograph discs. By September 20, 1927, Baird had successfully transferred an image of his “Stooky Bill” doll to a 78 rpm disc. On that same day, he applied for separate patents for his experiments with radar and fibreoptics.
1926 | December 25 - To Kenjiro Takayanagi's delight, the Japanese character Katakana (I) was displayed on a Braun tube. Takayanagi had dreamed of “wireless distance vision,” which could reproduce a scene from far away.
The Japanese character Katakana (I) displayed on television
1927 | April 7 - Pictures of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, were transmitted 200 miles by wire from Washington to New York by AT&T's Bell Labs, in the world's first televised speech and first long-distance television transmission. 1000 men were employed for the demonstration.
1927 | May 24 - Six weeks after the AT&T/Bell Labs transmission of Hoover's speech, John Logie Baird responded by broadcasting signals from London to Glasgow (more than 400 miles apart), with seven assistants and a telephone line.
1927 | September 7 - American engineer Philo T. Farnsworth transmitted an electronic moving image - a barely visible line - to the delight of his technicians and investors. Nine months earlier, on January 7, Farnsworth applied for a patent for the dissector tube, the basis of today's all-electronic television, and received it three years later in August 1930. We've extended access to our magnificent exhibit, "Forgotten Genius: The Boy Who invented Electronic TV", curated by Phil Savenick of Los Angeles, California. Come and see some of the rarest, historic television artifacts on the planet. Don't miss it! On display...
1928 | January 13 - Ernst Alexanderson demonstrated the GE system, and in doing so announced the beginning of television broadcasting. The images were received on sets with 1.5 square inch screens in the home of Alexanderson as well as two board members in Schenectady, New York. This broadcast is generally accepted by many as the very first home reception of television in the United States. The picture, with 48 lines at 16 frames per second, was transmitted over 2XAF on 37.8 meters and the sound was transmitted over WGY radio station.
Alexanderson on the cover of Popular Mechanics Magazine, shown at home receiving the first transmission
1928 | May 6 - The first shore to ship transmission was received on the RMS Berengaria. It was an image of Stooky Bill, followed by the image of Dora Selvey, the ship's Chief Wireless Operator and fiancée of the ship’s Operator.
1928 | May 11 - The first regular schedule of TV programming begins in the US. General Electric programs are transmitted from Schenectady, using 24 lines, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons. In the same year, the Federal Radio Commission is established in the US.
1928 | July 2: Charles Francis Jenkins received for the first time in history, a United States television license for WSXK in Wheaton, Maryland and successfully began broadcasting to the general public.
1928 | September 11 - The world's first televised drama, The Queens Messenger, is broadcast live from W2XAD in Schenectady, NewYork with sound from WGY radio. GE Engineer, Ernst Alexanderson's 48-line system of mechanical television is used. The GE Octagon, which you can see at the MZTV Museum of Television, is used on the set of the play to monitor the broadcast. Given the constraints of his mechanical television apparatus, Alexanderson selects the 1899 play by J. Hartley Manners, which features only two characters and precious little movement. Three stationary cameras are used, one for each of the actors and...
1928 | February 8 - John Logie Baird transmitted television across the Atlantic Ocean. From Baird Studios in Long Acre, Crystal Palace, London, Baird sent images of his experimental doll "Stooky Bill" to a relay station in Coulsdon, Croydon, United Kingdom. From there it was sent across the Atlantic via shortwave to New York, New York. Soon after, he transmitted the first image of a man (himself), followed by the first image of a woman, Mrs. Mia Howe. Her face was seen in Hartsdale, New York.
On February 9, 1928 a Mrs. Howe was the first person to be televised from London to New York
1928 | April - Station W2XBS, RCA's first television station, is established in New York City. Initially, it broadcasts only experimental mechanical television. W2XBS has the distinction of later creating television's first star, Felix the Cat.
1929 | January 18 - The struggling radio network, CBS is bought by William S. Paley. Through Paley's management, the corporation grows and expands to include radio and television, recorded music, musical instruments, and publishing.
1929 | June 27 - Herbert E. Ives and his colleagues at Bell Laboratories in NewYork produced and demonstrated colour TV mechanically. The first images were of a bouquet of roses and an American flag. The system used a single spiral, through the holes of which light from three coloured sources was passed. A mechanical system was used to transmit 50-line colour television images from New York, New York to Washington DC.
1930 | September 8 - It was this day when Blondie and Dagwood officially went to print in the newspaper for the first time. The comic strip had been a huge success, and only 8 years later, this led to their very own TV series.
1930 | August 20 - The first home reception of television in the United States is demonstrated. A half-hour broadcast from the Jenkins station, W2XCR in Jersey City, and the Deforest station W2XCD in Passaic. Two sets were available for public viewing, and one in a press suite.
Map showing the broadcast distance of the 1930 demonstration.
1932 | November 8 - Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. CBS TV reported on the presidential election to an estimated 7,500 sets, or 9,000 sets according to CBS's estimate. Programming consisted of commentary, return charts and still cartoons of politicians.
1934 | June 19 - The United States Federal Communications Commission is created by an act of Congress. This merges the administrative responsibilities for regulating broadcasting and wired communications under one agency.
1934 - Philo T. Farnsworth licenses the use of his camera to John Logie Baird for his BBC presentations. The quality of the images captured with the camera is so poor, that Baird eventually ceases using it.
The Baird 30-line studio at Portland Place, around 1934.
1936 | June 29 - A 343-line TV signal was transmitted from the Empire State Building to RCA licensees. The programming was (reportedly) the first high-definition broadcast and featured speeches by RCA execs, dancing girls, and a film about United States Army maneuvers.
1936 | August 1 - The first live television coverage of a sports event, transmitted by closed-circuit equipment to special viewing booths in Berlin, Germany and Potsdam, Germany. The Berlin Summer Olympics was televised by Telefunken (using RCA equipment) and Fernseh (using Farnsworth equipment).
1936 | August 15 - "Broadcasting" magazine reported Philco Corporation demonstrated its system of television with seven-mile transmission of live and film subjects in 345-line images 9 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches.
1936 | November 2 - The BBC started the world's first public high definition electronic television service in London, with both Baird's mechanical 240 line system and the Marconi-EMI 405 line system. Adele Dixon opened the BBC service with a specially written song "Television".
1937 | December 21 - The first full length animated feature film, Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, was an instant hit. This would prove that animated features had a place in the worldwide market.
1937 | May 12 - The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcasts the procession of the coronation of King George VI from Hyde Park Corner. This represents the first notable broadcast outside the US.
1938 | May 31 - W2XBS telecasts the first Hollywood movie "The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel", starring Leslie Howard. The staff projectionist played the last reel out of order, ending the film 20 minutes early. After this incident, NBC can not obtain first-run movies for many years.
1938 | June - Initially an inventor working on improving the cathode ray tube, Allen B. DuMont begins manufacturing televisions and offers the first all electronic TV set for retail sale in the US. His 14-inch model is reportedly superior to RCA's 12-inch. DuMont also forms a television network, partially funded by Paramount Pictures, to compete with RCA
1938 | October 30 - Orsen Wells sent panic along the East Coast with the radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' fantasy "The War of the Worlds". Thousands believed that an interplanetary conflict had started with invading martians spreading death and destruction in New York and New Jersey.
1939 | April 30 - Television was introduced to the public at large at the New York World's Fair. The "Phantom Teleceiver" (made of Lucite) and the entire line of RCA televisions were demonstrated at the RCA Pavilion. NBC televised the opening ceremonies including the first televised presidential address, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to approximately 1,000 viewers who own television sets. The New York Times reported that the picture is "clear and steady."
1939 | Sept 10 - Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King announced Canada's declaration of war on Germany. The speech was broadcast live on radio, and published in The Gazette, to inform the Canadian population.
1940 | August 29 - CBS research director Peter Goldmark announced the invention of Colour TV. He demonstrated a 343-line colour television system on September 3rd on W2XAB, transmitting from the Chrysler Building in New York, New York. The system used a disc of three filters (red, green and blue), rotated in front of the camera tube.
1941 | April 30 - North America's current 525-line NTSC (National Television Standards Committee ) standard of picture definition was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC also authorized commercial television to begin on July 1. The first transmitters were installed in the capital cities (London, United Kingdom, Paris, France, Berlin, Germany, Rome, Italy, New York, New York), so only a small proportion of each country was therefore able to benefit.
1942 | April 13: "Broadcasting" magazine reported that the minimum program time required of TV stations had been cut from fifteen hours to four hours a week during the war. The NBC commercial TV schedule was canceled. Television continued to be broadcast in the United States of America on a limited basis, however, the BBC halted broadcasting right in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon.
1945 | July 1 - Post-war commercial television resumed. NBC opened with a USO fundraising show, the news - sponsored by Sun Oil, a television version of a radio show for Levers Brothers, and a quiz show presented by P&G. CBS had no sponsorship lined up yet, but managed to broadcast a dance lesson, a newscast and an art exhibit.
1946 | June 14 - After a lifetime fraught with ill health, John Logie Baird passed away in his sleep at the age of 57 in Sussex. We remember and revere him with great honour and respect. Don't forget to come and check out our new exhibit about John Logie Baird, "The First Father of Television". We have some amazing artifacts of history on display that we are sure you will enjoy!
1947 | September 13 - Kodak and NBC developed special "Kinescopes" to facilitate the use of a film camera to shoot directly off a TV screen. This marked the beginning of recording and distribution of live shows for sale and archiving.
1950 | October 10 - The FCC approves CBS's field sequential colour transmission system as the US standard, effective November 20. CBS promises 20 hours of colour programming a week within two months. Using a mechanical colour wheel inside the camera and set, this color system is incompatible with the 20 million black-and-white sets already in use. Manufacturers are divided as to whether to make sets and converters to receive CBS colourcasts. Meanwhile, RCA works on creating a compatible all electronic colour system.
1951 | October 15 - "I Love Lucy" starring Lucille Ball premiered on CBS. The show was filmed in front of a studio audience with 3 cameras, setting the production standard for sitcoms - still used to this day. It ran for 180 episodes until 1957.
1951 | June 25 - The first colour #television transmissions began in the United States with CBS broadcasting a one-hour program called Premiere, featuring Ed Sullivan and other CBS stars, carried on a five-station east coast CBS-TV hookup. Unfortunately, only 30 sets were equipped to receive the colour broadcasts. Because of technical incompatibilities with the new CBS colour standard, all existing black-and-white receivers could not pick up the colour programming, even in black-and-white, and colour sets went blank during television's many hours of black-and-white broadcasting. The experiment was a failure and colour transmissions were stopped in October.
The CBS colour receiver and their first transmission, "Premiere"
1953 | June 2 - The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is televised within four hours of the ceremony's finish. CBC beats the US competition to fly a kinescope across the Atlantic. ABC is the first to AIR in the US, courtesy of CBC. For the first time in a simultaneous broadcast in Britain, the television audience exceeds the radio audience.
1954 | January 1 - The first national coast-to-coast colour broadcast takes place. The Tournament of Roses Parade from Pasadena, California is broadcast to 21 network stations. There are only 200 RCA electronic colour television sets (model 5-experimental) available to view the show. This is acknowledged as the first day American television officially changes from black and white to colour.
1959 - Alphonse Ouimet, General Manager of the CBC in 1953 and President in 1958, is named the Father of Canadian Television for building the world's biggest TV system when the CBC pioneers Canadian television.
1960 | September 26 - 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.
For the first time in U.S. history, a debate between major party presidential candidates - John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon - is shown on television.
1961 | May 23 - FCC Chairman Newton Minow makes his famous "vast wasteland" speech at the meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters. In his speech, Minow derides television programming as a "vast wasteland" of senseless violence, mindless comedy, and offensive advertising. He also warns the networks to live up to their responsibilities to the public, saying, "It is not enough to cater to the nation's whims; you must also serve the nation's needs."
1962 | July 10 - The Telstar 1 television satellite was launched by the United States and began to relay transatlantic television signals via satellite. The first program showed scenes of Paris, France. Definitely something to remember, awesome!"
1965 | March - The Vietnam war is the first war to be televised. The American public watches the war in their living rooms on the evening news. Protestors against the war adopt the television-age slogan "The whole world is watching."
1966 | October 1: First transmission of colour television signals by Canadian stations began. At the time there were only 50,000 colour televisions in Canada, compared to almost 5 million black and white sets. Most of the colour sets were concentrated in the Toronto, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario, and the Golden Horseshoe area of Southern Ontario where they could receive a large number of colour programs from the United States.
1967 | November 7 - Seeking to provide an alternative to commercial broadcasting in the US, educational stations band together to form the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) federally funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
1969 | July 20 - The very first television transmission from the moon was received by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and viewed by an audience of 600 million worldwide. Amazing fact!
1970 | October 16 - During the October Crisis in Montreal, militant separatists kidnap a British trade commissioner and murder a Quebec cabinet minister. Restrictions under the War Measures Act are proclaimed by Trudeau, "just watch me".
A newsboy holds up a newspaper with a banner headline reporting the invoking of the War Measures Act, in Ottawa, Oct. 16, 1970 the first time Canada had invoked the act in peacetime. The act was put into effect following the kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte by the terrorist FLQ. An author of Quebec's high-school history textbooks casts the federal government as the main villain of the October Crisis 40 years ago, disputes that Pierre Laporte was murdered, and defends the terrorist FLQ whose victims were, he says, mere “collateral damage” in the greater cause of independence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Bregg
1971 | January 12 - Norman Lear's All In The Family debuts, introducing the nation to Archie Bunker- a cantankerous, if ultimately good hearted bigot whose views on nearly everything are both amusingly shocking and uncomfortably familiar. The show's success leads to numerous spin-offs (The Jeffersons, Maude, Gloria), each attempting to use comedy to explore some of the day's thornier issues.
1972 | September 28 - Moses Znaimer and partners launch Toronto's Citytv. Low powered, low cost, and locally focused, Citytv is Canada's first commercial UHF station. The infamous broadcasts of the Baby Blue Movies (erotic films) mark a major turning point in the history of Canadian Television. Citytv soon becomes a force to be reckoned with.
1972 | November 29 - The first commercially successful video game is introduced, a simple table tennis game called Pong. It is developed by Nolan Bushnell after he plays a ping-pong game on an Odyssey 1TL200 at an LA Magnavox dealership.
1972 | August 26 - 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.
German officers prepare for a raid during the 1972 Olympic terrorist attack
1972 | September 2 - Hockey fans all over Canada are glued to their television sets to watch the “Summit Series” – a hockey tournament between Canada and the Soviet Union. With 34 seconds left in the final game, Paul Henderson scores the dramatic winning goal and Team Canada defeats the Soviet Union 6 – 5 clinching the series. The whole country celebrates.
Team Canada celebrates their win at the 1972 Summit Series
1973 - As it unfolds during the summer, the Senate Watergate hearing quickly becomes the most popular program on daytime television. The Big Three networks follow PBS' lead in carrying the hearing live and quickly see it outdraw the usual selection of soap opera fare.
1975 - 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. Studies also estimate that, by the time he is 75, the average American male will have spent nine years of his life watching television; the average British male, eight years.
1975 | October 11: "Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!" Reviving the live variety show tradition, Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC, with Canadian producer Lorne Michaels at the helm.
CREDIT: Courtesy of NBC. CAPTION: NBC 75TH ANNIVERSARY -- NBC Special -- SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- NBC Late Night -- Pictured: 'Not Ready For Primetime Players' (clockwise from left) Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman -- Broadcast Dates: (1975-1976) ORG XMIT: DIGITAL FILE / E-MAIL
1975 | June 7 - Sony introduces the Betamax VCR, the world's first home-use videocassette recorder using 1/2-inch tape. Demonstrates the world's first four-channel cassette tape recorder. The BM-144 allows the user to switch back and forth on single standard cassette from four different recordings. Priced at $1,295, it records for a maximum of 1 hour. "Make your own TV schedule" - early ads proclaim.