Television History - The First 75 Years
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Pre-1935 Timeline

This is a year-by-year timeline of the key dates and events relating to television


Joseph May discovers that selenium's conductivity is enhanced by light.

Mr. Senleq proposes FAX transmission using a selenium scanner and telegraphy.

First articles appear in Scientific American about the possibility of television.

Paul Nipkow patents the television scanning disk.

Victorian Trade Card predicts a device that can transmit picture and sound.  See a scan of this card by clicking here !


1900 - 1919

First known use of the word "television" at 1900 Paris Exhibition

Boris Rosing (Russia) designs mechanical scanner with CRT receiver   

Campbell Swinton proposes CRT for both scanning and receiving.

Rosing and college student Zworykin (as assistant), achieve first transmission of images.                                
Swinton describes CRT system in detail. 


RCA becomes subsidiary of GE.  A 28 year old David Sarnoff is named manager.

1920 - 1929

Philo T. Farnsworth, at age 14, has a vision of electronic TV scanning while plowing hay.

C. Francis Jenkins transmits still pictures by wireless with a mechanical system.

Farnsworth explains his electronic TV system to his high school teacher.

As Westinghouse employee, Zworykin files patent application for all-electronic system.  He is not able to build or demonstrate it at this time.

Ernst Alexanderson starts television work at GE.

Kenjiro Takayanagi starts his television work in Japan.

Baird demonstrates his mechanical system at Selfridge's Store in London
Jenkins transmits "moving objects" -- (a windmill) in Washington, D.C.

Zworykin demonstrates a working system to his bosses at Westinghouse. 

Baird gets his first license to transmit television in London.

Farnsworth gets $6000 advance from George Everson in Salt Lake City.
Philo Farnsworth marries Elma Gardner, and moves to San Francisco.

Alexanderson is proclaimed the "Inventor of Television" by the press in St. Louis.

January - Alexanderson demonstrates mechanical TV to Radio Engineers.

1927 April 8 NY WORLD-Hoover.JPG (82504 bytes) (82K)
April -  AT&T demos mechanical system - Herbert Hoover televised.
"Television Now Fact", the New York World newspaper exclaims!

September - Farnsworth transmits a straight line via his electronic CRT system.

Baird transmits from London to New York, using his mechanical system.

Takayanagi gives a demonstration of his CRT system in Japan.

Farnsworth demonstrates his CRT system to the press in San Francisco.

Station WLEX, Lexington, Mass., (about 15 miles NW of Boston) begins broadcasting via mechanical system.


Zworykin begins development of the kinescope, his CRT receiver.

April 1929 --  W1WX (which would eventually become W1XAV), the Shortwave and Television mechanical station, goes on the air.

1930 - 1934

January - David Sarnoff becomes President of RCA at age 38.