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.