Television at the 1933
Chicago Worlds Fair
From a 1933 Chicago magazine cover. The World's Fair
demonstration was not in color, of course. The 1933/34 Chicago Worlds Fair was titled "A Century of Progress." At
the Hall of Science Electrical Building. U. A. Sanabria had a large screen television demonstration. The exhibit was sponsored by the Hudson-Essex car company:
Courtesy of Jeff Jaworski
Here is a description of the demonstration, from the book The 1933 Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress, by Cheryl R. Ganz:
Here is another description of the exhibit:
The principle of television was
demonstrated in an exhibit constructed by M. L. Hayes. The
process involved breaking down a picture into elements of light
and dark in the transmitter, and then using the same elements to
build up the picture in the receiver.
In this exhibit is included a television
transmitter and receiver specially designed in order to
demonstrate the operations step by step. As the exhibit runs
through its cycle, a series of lantern slides are projected to
explain each operation."
A recollection of the exhibit, from John N. Cox:
The boys' disappointment was only
momentary because there were so many other marvels to see at the
Chicago World's Fair of 1933. The boys repeatedly went to see
one of the first television sets ever displayed in public. At
each television demonstration, a person from the audience was
invited on stage to stand in front of a camera and appear on
television. At one show, Bob was selected and became the first
person in the Cox family to appear on TV.
And one from an anonymous viewer:
In 1933 or 34, I am not sure, my across-the-street neighbor (whose name escapes me) in Chicago was some sort of an RCA engineer and they were putting on demonstrations of some sort at the World's Fair, giving his engineers something to work on. I was 8 or 9 years old and collected snakes, so I was on TV a talk show, talking about snakes. I guess he just needed something for programming then, and I was convenient. I now tell grandchidren that I was an early TV star.
I regret not being able to tell you any more. I had no idea at the time that this was such an historic event, and never gave it any more thought until about a month or so ago. I recall only another person on the set being afraid of my snakes--but then, most people are.
The camera that was probably used at the Chicago Worlds