Museum Talk

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I can still remember when we got our first television. It was a small black and white one. I ran home after school and arrived just in time to hear. "It's Howdy Doody time." Since we were the only home on our block to have a television, I came home with a lot of neighbor children as we lay on the floor laughing at Howdy Doody, Captain Bob and Clarabell. Perhaps many of you can remember your first television set.

Buffalo Island Museum has an antique television in its collection. It is a black and white picture RCA Victor "Wayfarer" television with a 14 inch screen, made in 1957.

Television was never just one person's vision. Inventors had tried to find a way to transmit pictures to screen since the 1800s, but it wasn't until the 1900s that television had its beginning.

There are several we attribute to the invention of the television. Charles Jenkins invented a mechanical television which transmitted one of the first moving images in 1923. John Baird invented the first pictures in motion that were televised in 1924. His television sets projected orange-red blurry images on a screen about the size of a silver dollar.

During World War II, he invented the first color picture tube. The Cathode Ray tube transformed television into an electronic device and was invented by Vladimir Zworykin. But it was a 13 year old American, Philo Farnsworth, that discovered a way to transmit images onto a screen by the use of 60 horizontal lines which made the image clearer. He went on to invent over 165 devices which became the groundwork for the televisions we have today.

All of the early televisions were black and white. It wasn't until 1953 that the first color TV broadcasts were made, and manufacturers began to make color televisions. Man keeps trying to improve television with closed-captioning for the hearing-impaired, V-chips to control what our children watch, HDTV approved in 1996, satellite and cable television stations which allow many more channels, DVR and TiVo allow us to watch our shows when we want to. Television technology has come a long way since that 14 inch black and white set at the museum, and we can only wonder what the future in television will be.

Buffalo Island Museum is closed during the winter months, but we hope to see you in the spring.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: