I have just recently been browsing through the
files at the G. B. Dealey Research Library at the Hall of State at
Fair Park in Dallas.
The Texas Centennial Exposition ran from June 6 to November 29,
1936. Total attendance was 6,354,385. I couldn't find any
information as to whether the television exhibit was continued for
the 1937 Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition which ran from
June 12 to October 31, 1937. Unofficial attendance estimate was
2,384,830. Admission charges were dropped toward the end of the
exposition, so I don't know how accurate the figures for 1937
would have been ... and just how many persons saw the exhibit is
Here is what I found re the television exhibit at the 1936
Texas Centennial Exposition.
Blueprints for construction of the exhibit space dated June 3,
1936 and alterations August 24, 1936 (Exposition dates April
through November 1936). Labeled "Television Exhibit."
Typical "art deco" design with prominent lettering of
"Television Exhibit" above entrance door.
Exhibitor listed as W. R. Procunier (no company name listed).
He is also listed as "authorized to take and sell 'Four for a
Dime' photographs." Contract approval signed by Benjamin J.
Habberton, Secretary, and Harry Olmsted, Director General of The
Texas Centennial Exposition.
Exhibit listed as "Transmission, reception and
The exhibit was located in the Varied Industries, Electrical
and Communications Building (present day State Fair of Texas
Automobile Building). Group F, spaces 3,4, 5 and 6. 1595 square
feet. Roughly L-shaped, 72 by 42 1/2 feet overall. Lobby appeared
to be in the short side of the "L" and exhibit space in
the long side. (Most individual exhibits were located inside the
large exhibit buildings rather than in separate outside exhibit
buildings. Ford and most of the oil companies had their own
buildings.) Cost of work $1500.
The blueprint was in the 1936 Centennial files, but I could not
find a listing for this in the 1937 exhibitors.
I did notice from the dates on the
blueprint that the exhibit probably wasn't completed by opening
date and seemed to have some alterations made still later.
Ragsdale, the author of the book "The year America Discovered
Texas - Centennial '36", attended both the 1936 and 1937
expositions as a teenager. He recalls posing before a television camera and seeing
image being projected on a large screen.
An article in the Dallas Morning News
of July 30, 1936 mentioned the exhibit, saying
The television exhibit, for which a small admission charge is
made, is also in the Varied Industries Building.
It enables the student to see another
person using the other end of the telephone line. It also
demonstrates the use of television by radio energy. The principle
is the electrical transmission of light waves which are
transformed back into light rays on the receiving set.
The September 21, 1935 issue of the
Texas Centennial News also mentioned the display:
Plans for a $100,000 television display have been submitted to the
Texas Centennial Exposition by U.A. Sanabria, television engineer
of Chicago. Interests
represented by the Chicagoan have recently purchased television
rights to Station
KFJZ at Fort Worth, and have announced that a television
laboratory will be established before the opening of the Texas