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Mechanical Television Exhibit

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On Walter Cronkites memoir dvd's, he talks about his first experience with television at The Century of Progress Worlds Fair. It looks like Hudson (the car company) had a mechanical television demonstration in their pavilion. Is there surviving footage of this? The stuff on the DVD was a bit fragmented.

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Posted · Report post

I wonder if the Western Television system was used? It was used for experimental broadcasts in Chicago and other midwest cities, and even in Montreal, Canada, but this site says it was off the air by the time of the Century of Progress:

http://www.chicagotelevision.com/channels1.htm

Here's some more info:

http://www.mztv.com/newframe.asp?content=http://www.mztv.com/visionette.html

and some pictures of restored and operating units at the Early Television Foundation:

http://www.earlytelevision.org/western_television.html

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More here:

http://www.hawestv.c...ago/mtv_cgo.htm

Including this:

"WESTERN TELEVISION'S FATE. Some of W9XAP's other sister stations fared much better. W9XD, the Milwaukee Journal station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, remained on the air until 1938. After a conversion to electronic equipment, it became WTMJ. Kansas City, Missouri station W9XAL converted from shortwave to VHF operation in 1935. A few years later, the station installed electronic television equipment. Educational TV pioneer W9XK, operated by University of Iowa, continued telecasts until 1939. Still, with only a dwindling market for Western's receivers, Clem Wade sold Echophone to Hallicrafters. Lloyd Garner, Armando Conto and Bill Parker then formed Western Television Research. This outfit built displays for Chicago's Century of Progress exhibition. Separately, U.A. Sanabria and Mel Hayes displayed a theatrical projection system based on mechanical TV."

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Posted · Report post

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry inherited some of the exhibits from the 1933-34 fair and I have seen some early mechanical television equipment there. It's possible this may be stuff that was on display at A Century of Progress.

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Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry inherited some of the exhibits from the 1933-34 fair and I have seen some early mechanical television equipment there. It's possible this may be stuff that was on display at A Century of Progress.

I recall seeing the mechanical TV setup at MSI when I was a kid. It was part of the original (black and white only) RCA TV exhibit. It cheated, in that the scanning discs for the camera and display were mounted to opposite ends of the same motor. The video electronics was complete, however. It showed a static image of the RCA "lightning" logo, sometimes called "the meatball" because of its red background when used as a badge on RCA gear.

Later, when the exhibit was redone with color TV, there was an unexplained nod to the mechanical system in the form of a transparency of a mechanical TV image (perhaps only an artist's rendering) mounted in the wall at the entrance to the exhibit, which IIRC gave some idea of progress in TV technology.

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