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color tv
The history of... Color Television

A German patent in 1904 contained the earliest recorded proposal for a color television system. In 1925, Vladimir Zworykin filed a patent disclosure for an all-electronic color television system. Both of these systems were not successful, however, they were the first for color television. A successful color television system began commercial broadcasting, first authorized by the FCC on December 17,1953 based on a system designed by RCA.
In 1940, prior to RCA, CBS researchers led by Peter Goldmark invented a mechanical color television system based on the 1928 designs of John Logie Baird. The FCC authorized CBS's color television technology as the national standard in October of 1950, despite the fact that the system was bulky, flickered, and was not compatible with earlier black and white sets. CBS had begun color broadcasting on five East Coast stations in June of 1951. However, at that time 10.5 million black and white televisions (half RCA sets) had been sold to the public and very few color sets. Color television production was halted during the Korean war, with that and the lawsuits, and the sluggish sales, the CBS system failed.
Those factors provided RCA with the time to design a better color television, which they based on the 1947 patent application of Alfred Schroeder, for a shadow mask CRT. Their system passed FCC approval in late 1953 and sales of RCA color televisions began in 1954 . From 1954 color TV started rolling.

• Jan. 1, 1954: NBC does first coast-to-coast color broadcast through 21 stations, showing Tournament of Roses Parade. Industry employees, VIPs, others view on about 200 RCA Victor prototype color sets.
•  March 1954: Westinghouse offers color TV for sale. Cost: $1,295.
• March 25, 1954: Mass production of first RCA Victor color sets, model CT-100. Cost: $1,000.
• Sept. 28, 1955: First color coverage of World Series baseball games.
• Sept. 12, 1959: "Bonanza" begins airing in color.
• Sept. 24, 1961: "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" begins one-hour color programs every Sunday.
• Fall 1962: ABC shows cartoons "The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons" in color.
•  Fall 1965: ABC airs "Lawrence Welk Show" in color.
•  Fall 1965: CBS runs "Ed Sullivan Show" in color.
•  Nov. 7, 1966: NBC is first network to complete conversion of all new programs to color.
It was not until 1972 that color set sales exceed black-and-white sales.
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On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper made the first cellular phone call.



last reviewed/updated on 06/24/04 

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