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Entries in nevada state journal (2)

Monday
Feb072011

Tesla Predicts the Portable TV (1926)

In 1926 Nicola Tesla gave an interview to Collier's Weekly in which he predicted something that sounds remarkably like portable television. Perhaps most interestingly, he mentions that this technology would be used to watch war unfold, "just as though we were present."

NEW YORK, Jan 25 - (AP) - Application of radio principles will enable people by carrying a small instrument in their pockets to see distant events like the sorceress of the magic crystal fairy tales and legends, Nikola Tesla, electrical inventor, predicted today. Mr. Tesla, who on several occasion has tried to communicate with the planet Mars, made his predictions in an interview published in the current issue of Collier's Weekly.

"We shall be able to witness the inauguration of a president, the playing of a world's series baseball game, the havoc of an earthquake, or a battle just as though we were present," Mr. Tesla said.

I'm fascinated by the rise of the moving image during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1920's Thomas Edison was predicting that movies would replace textbooks, D.W. Griffith predicted that motion pictures would overtake the printed word, and Cecille B. Demille said that as the cost of camera equipment came down home movies would soon be produced by average Americans.

Every generation believes that they live in a special age of technological progress, but it is quite humbling to read about the rise of electricity, motion pictures, radio or television and trying to imagine what it must have been like to experience those things for the first time. Without belittling the accomplishments and enormous potential of the internet, I dare say those things were more jaw-dropping than the first time I popped in an AOL CD-ROM.

 

Article source: January 26, 1926 Nevada State Journal

Photo of Nicola Tesla: Library of Congress

 

Previously on Paleofuture: 

 

Sunday
Jun032007

Television-Phone Unveiled (1955)

The August 25, 1955 Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) ran a story titled, "Television-Phone Unveiled But Caution Warned on Use." Oddly enough, they never explain the "caution" part of the headline. Below is an excerpt from the story.

The television-telephone was unveiled to the world here today.

This is the one you don't answer while in the bathtub.

Called the "videophone" or 'TV-telephone," the device gives you a 10-inch screen view of the person you're calling the instant the other party picks up his receiver.

You see her - and she sees you - until someone hangs up.

While a curious group of reporters in the Fairmont Hotel watched, Noel E. Porter, an electronics executive, dialed a conventional telephone equipped with a pair of television screens. A small camera focused on him.

A mile away in the Civic Auditorium San Francisco's Mayor Elmer Robinson picked up the receiver of an identical unit. His image flashed onto the 10-inch screen in the Fairmont and Porter's appeared on Robinson's screen.

"This is an instance where seeing is believing," Robinson punned.

The videophone, jointly developed by Kay Lab of San Diego, Calif., and Bell Telephone laboratories, is expected to get its first practical application in industry.

But its optimistic producers anticipate it will be as much a part of the American home scene as the telephone and the TV set someday.

See also:
Governor Knight and the Videophone (Oakland Tribune, 1955)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)