Television is one of the few technologies that has made such a profound impact on modern American culture. The number of television sets in US homes before 1947 could be counted in its thousands. By 1990, 98 percent of American households had at least one television, and these systems were watched for about seven hours a day. Depending on the sample as well as time of year, the average American watches television for two and a half to almost five hours per day. Not only is it essential that this time is spent watching television, but it is also significant that it is not spent doing such things as reading, going out, or socializing.
On September 7, 1927, the first successful demonstration of electronic television took place in San Francisco. Philo Taylor Farnsworth, an inventor who had lived in a house without power since he was 14, developed the device. Farnsworth had started to imagine a device that could record moving pictures in a manner that could be programmed into radio waves and then transmitted while still in high school. Boris Rosing had performed few simple picture transmission trials in Russia 16 years before Farnsworth’s first success. In the 1920s, John Logie Baird in England and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States demonstrated a mechanical television gadget that scanned images using a spinning disk with holes arranged in a spiral pattern.
Farnsworth’s invention, which used an electron beam to scan images, is the immediate forerunner of modern television. It was a simple line that he transmitted as his first photograph. “When are we going to see any dollars in this matter, Farnsworth?” an investor had demanded, prompting him to point his crude camera at a dollar sign.
Early television was rudimentary at best. All the action at the first televised baseball game had to be filmed by a single camera, and early cameras required stars in dramas to perform under impossibly bright lighting, wearing black lipstick as well as green makeup. Early CBS newscasts were chalk conversations, in which a newscaster moved a marker around a map of Europe, which was then engulfed by war. It was difficult to make out the newsman, let alone the map, due to the poor quality of the picture.
The growth of television was delayed during World War II when firms such as RCA focused on military manufacturing. The dispute for wavelength allocations for a modern FM radio and a fight over government oversight hampered television’s growth even further. The Supreme Court confirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision in 1941 that the NBC had to divest one of its two radio networks. The emerging ABC, which would join television early in the next decade, became the second network.
Owing to the many classifications of machines, there is no simple answer to this issue. The first electric device, invented by Charles Babbage in 1822, isn’t what could be called a computer today. The term “machine” was first used in 1613 in Richard Braithwaite’s book The Yong Man’s Gleanings to describe a person who conducted calculations or computations. Until the end of the nineteenth century, when the industrial revolution gave rise to automatic machines whose primary function was calculating, the concept of a device remained unchanged.
Charles Babbage conceived and began designing the Difference Engine in 1822, which is regarded as the first mechanical calculating system capable of approximating polynomials. The Difference Engine was capable of calculating several sets of numbers and printing the data on paper. Ada Lovelace, credited as becoming the first computer programmer, assisted Babbage with that invention. Babbage could never complete a full-scale working version of this computer due to a lack of funds.
In 1890, Herman Hollerith devised a system to register as well as store data on punch cards for the US census. The census office saved millions of dollars thanks to Hollerith’s computer, ten times faster than manual tabulations. Hollerith would later go on to found IBM, which we know today. Alan Turing proposed the Turing device in 1936, and it became the basis for programming as well as computer theory. The computer was a mechanism that printed symbols on paper tape like a human following a set of logical instructions. We wouldn’t have computers now if we didn’t have these basics.