History Of Rca Essay Research Paper The

History Of Rca Essay, Research Paper

The History of RCA

Within 50 years Elihu Thomson, one of America’s most prolific inventors, was granted 696 U.S. patents on inventions anywhere from arc lights, generators, electric welding machines, to x-ray tubes. But out of all of his inventions, it was the recording wattmeter, an instrument used to measure the amount of electricity used by a home or business, that brought fame and opportunity.(RCA Online 1)

Thomson built one of the leading electrical companies of the eighteen hundreds along with fellow high school science professor Edwin Houston. In fact, he was lighting the streets in Kansas City Missouri with his system six months before Thomas Edison opened his first power station in New York. Eventually the two stations and others would be brought together under the same name, General Electric, after the merging of the Thomson-Houston and Edison General electric companies. Much progress was made with the electric companies and there were even some General Electrics in Europe and South America. (RCA Online 1)

Although Thomson set up the first electric system, it was Edison who invented the phonograph in eighteen seventy-seven. Editors at Scientific American, who were some of the first to experience Edison’s newest creation, were startled. “The machine began by politely inquiring as to our health, asked how we liked the phonograph, informed us that it was very well, and bid us a cordial good night.” (RCA Online 2)

Edison got his idea for the recorder when he worked as a telegraph operator at the Western Union office in Indianapolis. He figured out that during a night shift he could couple together two old Morse registers to capture incoming codes for later retrieval. He could sleep during his shift and catch up on messages later. (RCA Online 2)

RCA, the Radio Corporation of America was formed during World War I because the Assistant Navy Secretary, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was convinced that radio patents should be under American patent when he learned that the British Marconi Company was about to buy-out part of General Electric. So when Roosevelt intervened General Electric not only purchased American Marconi, but also took control of the organization of the American radio control in October of 1919. They were later also merged with Westinghouse out of convenience and thus RCA was created. (MZTV Online 1)

RCA’s revenues came over $50 million just six years later. One of RCA’s manufacturers, Westinghouse, was the first to get a commercial broadcasting license and was on the air just a few short days later. RCA itself was on the air just a few months later thanks to General Manager David Sarnoff. It was Sarnoff who had the idea for a nationwide network, and in 1926, RCA bought WEAF in New York, which was designated as the anchor station for NBC. (RCA Online 5)

Although mechanical systems had demonstrated crude pictures, the television was not created until the engineer and inventor Vladimir Zwarykin cut a deal to work with RCA to create it in 1929.(RCA Online 7) It was not finished until ten years, tons of research and patents, and many millions of dollars later in 1939. The television was presented that year at the World’s Fair in New York City. It was then that Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president aired on TV. (MZTV Online 1)

Even though RCA was the first to introduce the television, the color TV was introduced by CBS. They did, however, win the color TV standards race. Color TV broadcasts began within a few weeks of the color television. In fact, the Rose Bowl parade was shown in color even though not many people had color receptors.*(RCA Online 9)

America’s historic space exploration visions were brought to the United

States by RCA. It was that same space technology that helped RCA in 1970 with the “solid-state” color TV’s. The next year David Sarnoff, the RCA leader, passed away at the age of eighty. The company was different from that point on. (RCA Online 10)

Between 1977 and 1987 RCA hit many milestones. In 1977 they came out with both ColorTrak TV’s and the first four-hour home video recorder. In 1979 RCA reached the twenty-fifth year of color television and the company also produced its 100 millionth TV picture tube. Stereo TV came out in the middle of the 1980’s and a little later the entire RCA Corporation was sold in 1986 to competitor and founder, General Electric. GE then sold RCA and GE electronics to Thomson Consumer Electronics the next year.(RCA Online 10)

Nipper and Chipper have not always been RCA’s mascots, in fact, Chipper was only added into the RCA family about a decade ago in 1991. It all began in the late 1800’s with a basically unknown artist, Francis Barraud, who saw his dog, Nipper, sitting in front of his owners talking machine. That inspired Barraud to paint the image on canvas. The painting, called “His Master’s Voice” because it looked as if Nipper was awaiting his owner’s command from the machine, became the trademark of RCA when they purchased the Victor Company. The cute Fox Terrier with the phonograph was the mascot for the Victor Company for twenty-eight years before RCA bought both the Company and the pup-trademark in 1929. Nipper has been used in advertising campaigns ever since then, and is now accompanied by his new friend Chipper, a Jack Russell terrier. (RCA Online 13)

Museum of Television


Radio Corporation of America Online



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