Early Television
 
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Mechanical Television

Bell Labs Matrix Screen Receiver

In 1927 Bell Labs built a large screen TV set using a specially designed neon lamp with 2500 individual anodes, arranged in 50 rows of 50 anodes. A huge switch was attached to the motor, routing the electrical signals to one anode at a time. This set was used to televise Herbert Hoover in a demonstration in April of 1927. This was accomplished both by wire and by radio on experimental station 3XN from Whippany, N. J., 22 miles from New York, to the Bell Laboratories building in New York City where the speakers and performers were readily recognized on the receiving screen. The voices of the persons at Whippany were transmitted, and reproduced by means of a loudspeaker. Here is a 1928 magazine article.

Early Television

The screen as it appeared in 1927

Early Television

Here is a photo from 1927 of the motor and switch assembly

Early Television

A modern photo of the side of the cabinet. The screen is facing toward the right back

Early Television

The screen, showing the individual bulbs

 

Early Television 

The right side, with the door open 

 

Early Television

The left side of the cabinet, with the door open, showing the motor and switch 

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Early Television

Detail of commutator

Early Television

Early Television

Early Television

Early Television

Early Television

Practical Radio, 1928

Courtesy of Gabe Bennett