Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Mechanical Television

The First Television Receiver in Columbus, Ohio?

Until now, Murry Mercier was thought to be the earliest television experimenter in Columbus. However, two Ohio State University students built and tested a 48 line set in the summer of 1928, a few months before the Mercier sets were built.

In the early summer of 1928, Stanley Jay and Bud (C. N.) Loewenstein built a scanning disk receiver on the third floor of Loewenstein's home and watched 48 line transmissions from W3XK, the Jenkins station in Washington, D.C. Later that summer, they visited Jenkins in his laboratory. In May of 1930 they published an article in the Ohio State Engineer.

In a letter written in 1949, Bud Loewenstein said:

Mr. Jenkins very cordially showed us around and we were very glad to have the opportunity to talk with him and inspect the Jenkins laboratory and see first hand the new developments.

The students returned to Columbus and improved their receiver over the winter of 1928-29. Here are some pictures of the set they built:

Here are pictures of Mr. Jay and his associate Bud Loewenstein working on their mechanical set:

Stanley Jay published his thesis, at that time required for a bachelor's degree in engineering, titled "Television", in 1930. In his thesis, Jay describes the transmissions from Washington:

Tuning for television is very little different than tuning for phone. With the loud speaker in the circuit, tune for the desired station, which may be known by a published schedule. The note when receiving television is about that of a middle "C" modulated fifteen times a second. Between each picture, announcement is made by phone...After getting the best signal strength possible, cut out the loud speaker and put in the neon tube...Now start the disc which must be rotated at 900 r.p.m....At first, after starting the disc, there will be only black and white dots and dashes in the picture area, but as the speed of the disc approaches synchronism with the speed of the transmitter at the broadcasting station, the picture will suddenly appear.

In the conclusion to his thesis, Mr. Jay has this to say about the future of television:

Without much doubt, I should say that in ten or fifteen years, television will be quite prominent and satisfactory. They will become as prominent as the radio broadcasts of today.

In 1940, Mr. Jay and his wife attended the New York World's fair, where they photographed the RCA television exhibit.

In 1949, the same year that commercial TV came to Columbus, the Citizen Magazine published an article about  the students' early experimentation with television.

(The thesis, magazine article, and other material related to Stanley Jay was generously donated to the museum by Charles Guttadore, who started as an employee of Mr. Jay at the Electric Power Equipment Company in Columbus in 1949. After Mr. Jay's death in the mid 70s, Mr. Guttadore took over management of the company until it was sold about four years ago. Additional information was supplied by Jeff Jay, Stanley Jay's son.)