Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Broadcast Equipment

RCA 1936 Television Transmitter


Television Transmitter Room


Half of the units shown in this view of the RCA television transmitting room in the Empire State Building are studio transmitters, half video transmitters. In the pipes which coil beneath the ceiling are audio (sound) and video (picture) signals which are combined in what is called the "antenna filter." This is the television step that make it possible to transmit both picture and sound simultaneously from a single antenna. Through the uppermost pipe (shown disappearing through the wall in the upper left section of the photograph) the television program that originated in the NBC studios many blocks away rides up to the antenna on the Empire State Building for its final plunge into the air. (NBC photo, 11/5/36)




Television Control Room


A view of the control panel in RCA's television transmitting station in the Empire State Building. The section of the panel  before which the engineer is standing is the audio rack -- identical with the panel used in everyday sound broadcasting. Then, see the third section with the small buttons? That's the video picture line amplifier and the Buttons control the images shown on the "Kinescope" (or television screen) and on the smaller screen, called the oscilloscope. In the immediate foreground, the radio like receiver and then the control equipment racks, the large switches you see being attached to storage batteries. "Radio link" is the name used for one the two methods used in transmitting pictures from NBC studios to the room shown in this picture. When the picture comes by radio link it comes through the air. The other system of transmission is by coaxial cable. A few inches above the "Kinescope" (which shows up here as a white square) you may be able to discern a short plug -- like the one you see every day on telephone switchboards. This deceptively ordinary looking piece of wire is actually the termination of the coaxial cable. (NBC photo 11/5/36)




Tubes Used in Television


These high frequency tubes shown in this photograph are used in RCA's television transmitting station in the Empire State Building. They were photographed in the tube room where 220 tubes, worth more than $25,000, are kept in reserve at all times. This large reserve is necessary because of the extensive tests being conducted. The tubes photographed are used to amplify the video or television picture signal (NBC photo 11/5/36)

RCA 1937 transmitting antenna

The antenna under construction