87th Anniversary of 1st Long Distance Television Transmission

Today marks the 87th anniversary of the first demonstration of long distance television transmission (and broadcast) in the United States, carried out by the Bell Laboratories of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Crude images were transmitted over a telephone line from Washington, D.C. to New York City and later broadcast over the air from AT&T’s studio in Whippany, NJ.

Included in the first portion of the demonstration was a speech by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who was in Washington. The demonstration was filmed and a short one-minute overview can be found at the History of AT&T and Television website. A higher quality version is available at the Facebook page of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

Do note that although the film includes scenes of Hoover’s face on a small screen, it isn’t actual footage of the (very small) screen of the experimental television set. But it gives a pretty good idea what viewers would have seen.

I haven’t written much about television in the 1920s and 1930s here at Television Obscurities. Not due to a lack of interest. Quite the opposite. I am absolutely fascinated by the all-but-forgotten experimental early years of television. I just haven’t had the time. But it’s on the increasingly long list of topics I’d like to cover.

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