The State Of High-Tech In 1938 – May 28, 1938 – Past Daily Reference Room

Television in 1939 - it was cute, but did it have a future?
Television in 1939 – it was cute, but did it have a future?

When we look at our current state of Technology – how it changes every few months or so, the concept of a Home Computer, the Internet, or even wireless technology was something that belonged only in Science Fiction, and had nothing to do with real life.

In 1938, a serious movement was afoot to advance and improve the technology of Television. It was looking to be the wave of the future, but at the time nobody could really figure out how. TV was cumbersome – a lot of effort for a tiny result. The cabinets on these first commercially available TV sets were bigger than the TV screens themselves. And just what was going to be broadcast via this new medium was anybody’s guess.

This program, a discussion on, not only TV, but on several other technological advances over the year of 1938, took place at WOR in New York with an engineer, returning from Europe on a fact-finding mission as to just what the state of TV and Facsimile (Fax) and regular radio broadcasting throughout the rest of the world.

The fate of TV was anybody’s guess. Not too much hope was being held out for Fascimile (Fax), and radio in Europe was mostly government run.

Judging from the lack of access and affordability, TV wasn’t destined to have much more than a passing fancy’s interest. The long run future of TV, in 1938, wasn’t looking terribly hopeful. Was it a fad?

Seventy-six years later, it defied description – although some wish it was conveniently forgotten about at the time

Here is that interview on the state of High-Tech in 1938, as presented over the Mutual Broadcasting System.

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