88th Anniversary of 1st Long Distance Television Transmission

This is an updated version of a post originally published on April 7th, 2014.

88 years ago today the first demonstration of long distance television transmission in the United States was held at 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 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 one-minute overview can be found 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. It’s a reproduction. Still, it gives a pretty good idea what the few viewers invited to the demonstration would have watched.

When I first wrote about this anniversary last year, I fully expected to do more research and write a post with more details. Here we are a year later and I haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe I’ll find the time before the 89th anniversary next year.


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