Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Mechanical Television

American Television Institute

The American Television Institute (ATI) was run by U. A. Sanabria, who was a pioneer in mechanical television. In the mid 30s he founded the school, which trained students through the 50s. There were a number of schools with television programs before World War Two.

ATI students made monscopes and CRTs as part of their training.

1937 Advertisements

ATI Telephone Television System

This system was manufactured by ATI in 1936. It was demonstrated all over the country in department stores, fairs and auto dealerships. Here are some newspaper articles describing these demonstrations (courtesy of Wayne Bretl).


Shown here is the class of 1936 manufacturing Television Telephones 

They provided a system to Duke University in 1938

ATI made these 2 way television units in relatively large quantities. Many were sold to colleges and universities. The first lesson in ATI's 1937 television correspondence course says that systems were sold to DePaul, Armour Intstitute of Technology (Chicago), Michigan College of Mining and Technology (Houghton), The Drexel Institute of Technology (Philadelphia), University of Louisville, South Dakota State College (Brookings), Fenn College (Cleveland), and Louisiana State University, at a cost of $500 each. It is interesting that they were able to sell mechanical systems in 1937, well after all mechanical broadcasting had ended.

ATI also provided equipment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, for reception of the transmissions from New York City. Below is the receiver, which also serves as an oscilloscope. Similar units were used in ATI's training program. A similar system was made available to students at the Institute, called the "Double Electronic".

A. T. I Results at the United States Military Academy


Mid 40s brochure, showing Farnsworth camera and GE receiver


1946 Advertisement

Sam Balnius' Employee Badge (ca 1944-48)

Sam received a diploma from the Coyne Electrical School on May 12, 1944. He completed instruction in Radio-Television Sound Reproduction. He lived in Chicago until 1948 before moving back to Connecticut, where he worked for WKNB and later for WTIC. Both of those jobs were primarily with the radio stations of those companies. He died in 1993.

Information and photo courtesy of his son Chuck Balnius

1946 Advertisment

RadioCraft, June 1947

1949 Advertisement

Courtesy of Duke University Libraries Ad*Access


Tom Stanonis sent us this program from the 1949 commencement ceremony, His father Alphonso Stanonis was one of the graduates.