The Library

Although the Library section is a new addition, I am happy to present a major update! Thanks to David Gleason and his site, American Radio History.com, we are now able to include:

75 full editions of RCA Broadcast News from 1947 through 1984 in a searchable format,

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And, 2500 full editions of Broadcasting Magazine from 1936 through 1989, also in a searchable format.

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Just click on the magazine covers or hyperlinks to enter. Please Note: These are large files and will take a little time to load depending on your internet speed and browser so be patient…it’s worth it.

Broadcasting Magazine (which is now Broadcasting and Cable), was ‘the’ industry bible for many years and I can tell you from personal experience, each issue was anxiously awaited by many of us in radio and television, because among other things, it was were the TV and radio jobs were listed, but the articles and pictures were great too!

RCA Broadcast News was the premier publication of America’s top radio and TV equipment manufacturer and dates back to 1931. Although these 75 issues only go back to June of 1947, we want to include all of these issues, so if you can help fill in the gaps with missing issues, that would be greatly appreciated by all of us who appreciate the unique history captured in this publication. You can donate or loan them for professional scanning. Even if you have the bound volumes, we have access to new advanced scanning methods that perfectly copy even large books with no damage to the books spine as they are never opened more than 90 degrees as the pages are photographed by stereo cameras.

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Below is a collection of articles in their original form that range in dates from the 1920s till the 1960s. Each page is a high quality scan and is the only thing left of some quite detailed and interesting information on everything from mechanical TV broadcasting and cathode ray development, to the early color systems and even new productions techniques like special effects, makeup, split screen and simultaneous cost to cost live broadcasts.

These articles and interviews cover a wide range of television topics and reading them in their original form, as they appeared many decades ago adds something unique to the experience, especially if you linger on some of the ads. It really takes you back in time.

It is also quite striking how many of the ''new' ideas we have now about 3D TV, high definition, mini TV sets and a lot more are not really ''new' ideas…they've been around for quite a while and the proof is below.

Philo Farnsworth, David Sarnoff and more are authors of some of these articles, and the subject of some of the interviews. Most of the publications, these bits of almost lost history come from, are gone now. Some of them are perhaps fondly remembered names from your past, but here, they live again to remind us on who's shoulders the present was built. I hope you enjoy!

Bobby Ellerbee



1929 RADIO MOVIES IN COLOR:

One of the leaders of Bell Labs has an idea of how to show the black and white movies of those days in color. This idea seems to be a lot like what we finally got in electronic color TV with the use of mirrors and color filters.



1930 TELEVISION GIVES RADIO EYES AND EARS:

Discussions of 1929 TV milestones like 'color over a wire' and other events are described, but TV had yet to prove it's broadcast potential and the closed circuit possibilities are discussed here. In their wildest dreams, they never envisioned what TV has become.



1931 3D TELEVISION:

And you thought 3D TV was such a cool new idea! Ha...take a look!



1931 TOUR OF ONE OF THE FIRST TV STATIONS IN US:

Complete with pictures and drawing, this 1931 article from Science and Mechanics takes us on a tour of the CBS, W2XAB facility in New York...one of the first experimental Television station in the U.S.



1932 DAVID SARNOFF ARTICLE:

"Where Television Stands Today" is an 8 page article written for Modern Mechanics by one of the most important names, and true pioneers of broadcasting. It's a very interesting read.



1932 FIRST AMERICAN CATHODE RAY TELEVISOR:

From Science and Mechanics, a few quick notes on the state of mechanical and electronic television progress including the lens drum and diagrams of European sets.



1933 WHERE TELEVISION STANDS TODAY:

Suffice it to say that TV has come a long way, but this 4 page article from Modern Mechanics published in October of 1933 is quite interesting.



1936 PHILO T. FARNSWORTH INTERVIEW:

The true father of Television shares his thoughts on the new medium's future. This may be one of the earliest interviews with him, but even if it's not, it's quiet interesting to see his thoughts in the context of the times in which he lived. Remember the Great Depression was in full force in '36.



1937 NBC BROADCAST TEST:

With no sets yet available to the public, NBC did a public demonstration of a broadcast at 30 Rock. By now, London had 5000 sets in use.



1937 THE TRUTH ABOUT TELEVISION:

Now this is interesting! Here is a Modern Mechanix article from November of 1937 that is complaining about TV. Not the abundance, but the lack! London had 5,000 sets in use while there were only 150 in New York. A lot of finger pointing about why, leads us back to $$$. Yes, patents were an issue and no one wanted to get to 'exposed' before they were sure they had rights to their discoveries.



1938 EARLY TV MAKEUP:

Here are 2 very interesting articles with great pictures to show what it took to make people look 'normal' in the early years. Wow!



1938 HAND HELD MINI TV:

Again, it's amazing how so many 'new' ideas are so old!



1938 WHERE IS TELEVISION NOW?:

Engineering types will love this great discussion on transmission techniques. Coaxial, long wave and more is discussed here in depth in a very good article. Also, the problems from lack of standards is talked about at length.



1939 NY TELEVISION SET RECEIVES LONDON SIGNAL:

When if first saw this, I was quite curious on how this could possibly happen with no coaxial cables or repeaters. The answer is in another article on this page "1938, Where is TV Now". The short answer is long wave transmission, but read the other article for the inside scoop.



1939 EXPLODING THE TELEVISION BOOM:

Wow! This 9 page article from Mechanix Illustrated is full of pictures, but the story is the biggie. TV had a lot of problems getting off the ground and a lot of those are laid out here. Sarnoff is being pushed by the government, costs of development are explored, problems with linking the coasts, and a lot more are laid out here as well as the first daily broadcast schedules.



1940 PHILO T. FARNSWORH INTERVIEW:

This 4 page interview found Philo at age 33 and comes 4 years after his first major interview above. By now, he and Mr. Sarnoff are probably well acquainted.



1946 MECHANICAL COLOR WHEELS or ELECTRONIC COLOR:

Here are 2 separate articles that look at the question of the day. One on the CBS color wheel (sequential field system) or the RCA electronic dot matrix.



1947 COLOR TV OUTLOOK:

This is one of the first articles I've seen that starts to move the thought process away from the mechanical 'spinning color disk' (CBS) concept to a more electronic (RCA) concept.



1949 WHAT EVERY FAMILY WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT TV:

This is about as good as it gets! These 11 pages from the January 1949 issue of Science Illustrated lays it all out! From how many stations and where, to where the new coaxial cables are running, picture sizes, how many sets in use and much much more.



1952 TV GOES TO THE CONVENTIONS:

Popular Mechanics shows in detail how one of the 1952 political conventions would be televised from Chicago. These were major broadcast events and the amount of equipment and people brought in is just amazing.



1954 BEHIND THE SPLIT SCREENS OF TV:

Great article on how the first, coast to coast, split screen telecast of the 1954 Oscar ceremony was done. Awards were handed out in New York and LA at the same time and the full story of how it was done is all here. This should bring back a lot of memories on how much Ma Bell meant to broadcasting in those days.



1955 DUMONT ELECTRO CAM:

In 1955, Mechanics Illustrated had this one page look at the camera made famous by it's use on Jackie Gleason's, 'The Honeymooner's'. It combines video and film.



1955 ERNIE KOVACS SPECIAL EFFECTS:

Here is a 1955 article on some of the special effects used on the Ernie Kovacs show, an early pioneer in TV magic and electronic wizardry.



1957 PROJECTION SCREEN TV:

The more of this old stuff we see, the less the new ideas are really not so new are they?



1964 WATCH YOUR FAVORITE SHOW ANYTIME:

This short article in Popular Science is about the early home video tape offerings. It's a long way from there to where we got with beta and vhs.



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For information on this site, including submission instructions, please e-mail Bobby Ellerbee.

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