She specialized in writing about inventors and inventions, in particular. Bellis died in March InRussian inventor Vladimir K.
Article by Mitchell Stephens Few inventions have had as much effect on contemporary American society as television.
Before the number of U. By the late s, 98 percent of U. The typical American spends depending on the survey and the time of year from two-and-a-half to almost five hours a day watching television.
It is significant not only that this time is being spent with television but that it is not being spent engaging in other activities, such as reading or going out or socializing. The system was designed by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a year-old inventor who had lived in a house without electricity until he was While still in high school, Farnsworth had begun to conceive of a system that could capture moving images in a form that could be coded onto radio waves and then transformed back into a picture on a screen.
Boris Rosing in Russia had conducted some crude experiments in transmitting images 16 years before Farnsworth's first success. Also, a mechanical television system, which scanned images using a rotating disk with holes arranged in a spiral pattern, had been demonstrated by John Logie Baird in England and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States earlier in the s.
However, Farnsworth's invention, which scanned images with a beam of electrons, is the direct ancestor of modern television. The first image he transmitted on it was a simple line. Soon he aimed his primitive camera at a dollar sign because an investor had asked, "When are we going to see some dollars in this thing, Farnsworth?
To direct the effort, the company's president, David Sarnoff, hired the Russian-born scientist Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, who had participated in Rosing's experiments.
Later that year RCA paid for a license to use Farnsworth's television patents. RCA began selling television sets with 5 by 12 in Early television was quite primitive.
All the action at that first televised baseball game had to be captured by a single camera, and the limitations of early cameras forced actors in dramas to work under impossibly hot lights, wearing black lipstick and green makeup the cameras had trouble with the color white.
The early newscasts on CBS were "chalk talks," with a newsman moving a pointer across a map of Europe, then consumed by war.
The poor quality of the picture made it difficult to make out the newsman, let alone the map. World War II slowed the development of television, as companies like RCA turned their attention to military production.
Television's progress was further slowed by a struggle over wavelength allocations with the new FM radio and a battle over government regulation. The second network became the new American Broadcasting Company ABC , which would enter television early in the next decade.
But full-scale commercial television broadcasting did not begin in the United States until However, television networks soon would be making substantial profits of their own, and network radio would all but disappear, except as a carrier of hourly newscasts.
Ideas on what to do with the element television added to radio, the visuals, sometimes seemed in short supply. On news programs, in particular, the temptation was to fill the screen with "talking heads," newscasters simply reading the news, as they might have for radio. For shots of news events, the networks relied initially on the newsreel companies, whose work had been shown previously in movie studios.
The number of television sets in use rose from 6, in to some 12 million by No new invention entered American homes faster than black and white television sets; by half of all U.
Joseph R. McCarthy soon began to inveigh against what he claimed was Communist infiltration of the government.
Broadcasting, too, felt the impact of this growing national witch-hunt. Political beliefs suddenly became grounds for getting fired. Most of the producers, writers, and actors who were accused of having had left-wing leanings found themselves blacklisted, unable to get work.
CBS even instituted a loyalty oath for its employees. Among the few individuals in television well positioned enough and brave enough to take a stand against McCarthyism was the distinguished former radio reporter Edward R.
In partnership with the news producer Fred Friendly, Murrow began See It Now, a television documentary series, in On Mar. Of McCarthy, Murrow observed, "His mistake has been to confuse dissent with disloyalty.
Offered free time by CBS, McCarthy replied on April 6, calling Murrow "the leader and the cleverest of the jackal pack which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares to expose Communist traitors.
In the U. NBC television president Sylvester Weaver devised the "spectacular," a notable example of which was Peter Pan , starring Mary Martin, which attracted 60 million viewers.
Weaver also developed the magazine-format programs Today, which made its debut in with Dave Garroway as host until , and The Tonight Show, which began in hosted by Steve Allen until The programming that dominated the two major networks in the mids borrowed heavily from another medium: theater.
Steel Hour This is often looked back on as the "Golden Age" of television. However, by only one of these series was still on the air. Viewers apparently preferred dramas or comedies that, while perhaps less literary, at least had the virtue of sustaining a familiar set of characters week after week.
I Love Lucy, the hugely successful situation comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, had been recorded on film since it debuted in lasting until It had many imitators.
The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason, was first broadcast, also via film, in lasting until with the original cast. The first videotape recorder was invented by Ampex in see video; video recording; video technology. Another format introduced in the mids was the big-money quiz show.
Cowan, by that time president of CBS television, was forced to resign from the network amid revelations of widespread fixing of game shows see Van Doren, Charles. The term "anchorman" was used, probably for the first time, to describe Walter Cronkite's central role in CBS's convention coverage that year.
In succeeding decades these conventions would become so concerned with looking good on television that they would lose their spontaneity and eventually their news value. The networks had begun producing their own news film. Increasingly, they began to compete with newspapers as the country's primary source of news see journalism.
The election of a young and vital president in , John F.
Kennedy, seemed to provide evidence of how profoundly television would change politics. Commentators pointed to the first televised debate that fall between Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, the Republican's nominee.