Broadcasting moving images in real time had been a long-cherished dream. With the development of the electron tube, television became a reality. The first big television event was the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when there were only a few private televisions in existence. Today 95% of all German households have a TV.

Mirror screw for 90 lines, TeKaDe Süddeutsche Telefon-Apparate-, Kabel- und Drahtwerke AG (1912 - 1982), 1927, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Mechanical television
In addition to the Nipkow disk, mechanical television also used moving mirror designs to divide the image into lines. The mirror wheel (1889), the mirror screw (1927), and the mirror rim (1933) were also popular. They offered a better light output than the Nipkow disk, but manufacturers had already adjusted to the Nipkow method so mirror systems were not widely used.
Photocell with secondary electron multiplier, laboratory sample, Forschungsanstalt der Deutschen Reichspost, 1936, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Photocells work as image detectors in mechanical television, transforming light into electricity depending on the light intensity. The output was not very strong, so a secondary electron multiplier was used as an amplifier.

Televisor television set, Plessey Co. Ltd.; Baird International Television Ltd., c. 1930, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

Two models with the Nipkow disk became commercially available on the market before 1930: the Televisor from the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird and the Telehor from the German company TeKaDe.

Telehor television set as developed by Denes von Mihaly, TeKaDe Süddeutsche Telefon-Apparate-, Kabel- und Drahtwerke AG (1912 - 1982); Telehor AG, 1929, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Experimental tubes for electronic image reproduction tubes, von Ardenne Laboratorium für Elektronenphysik (1928 - 1945), 1936, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Electronic television
The inertia of the mechanical television limited image resolution and repetition rate. The solution to a high-quality image came in the invention of electronic television. The pioneer of this medium, Manfred von Ardenne, demonstrated television with Braun tubes for the first time at the 1931 radio exhibition.
"Manfred von Ardenne" television system, Radio AG DS Loewe, 1931 - 1932, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Photograph, "Public television viewing in a TV lounge at the Deutsche Reichspost in Berlin", 1936, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
The Olympics
The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were the first major event for the new medium of television. Three television recording sets broadcasted 175 hours of competition. However, there were only about 50 private televisions, so in Berlin, specially furnished TV rooms where people could enjoy the games were very popular.
FE III television set, once owned by Paul Nipkow, Telefunken Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H (1923 - 1955), 1934, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The FE III television receiver from Telefunken was one of the devices used in the TV rooms. The image size was only 18x22 cm. Nevertheless, public viewing was very popular as, for the first time, the audience could feel like they were really there.

TV camera from the Olympic Games in 1936, Fernseh AG (1930 - 1945), 1936, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
FE VI television stand, Telefunken Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H (1923 - 1955), 1937, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The magnetic deflection of the electron beam allowed for larger images, but the picture tube was so long that it had to be installed vertically.

FE VI television stand, Telefunken Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H (1923 - 1955), 1937, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The image was viewed via a tilted mirror in the lid.

E1 television set, Telefunken Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H (1923 - 1955), 1938, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The television also earned its place as a medium for propaganda. The Volksfernsehempfänger E1 1939, comparable to the Nazi era "people's wireless receiver," was developed for this purpose and was planned to retail for 650 Reichsmark. The outbreak of war interfered with production, so instead of the planned mass production, only about 50 pieces were made.

Photograph, "The first TV announcers", c. 1935, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The German Reichspost had sovereignty over the transmitters and so the first TV announcers were post office workers. The work was hard and the small recording room was very hot due to the lighting.

Téléavia Panoramic 111 HD television set, Societé Française Frigeavia, 1958, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

After the Second World War, regular television operation in Germany was resumed at the end of 1952. In the era of the economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder), the TV was attractively designed as a prestige object according to the typical style of the time.

Kuba Komet television console, Imperial Rundfunk und Fernsehwerk GmbH <Kuba> (1958 - 1968), since 1932, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Wegavision 3000L television set, WEGA-Radio GmbH, since 1932, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication
Experimental design: color separation system for color TV, N.V. Philips’ Gloeilampenfabrieken (1912 - 1991), c. 1950, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

In 1967, color television arrived in Germany. The first experiments on color-image transmission had been carried out in the 1940s.

Bosch KCN92 portable TV camera, Robert Bosch Fernsehanlagen GmbH (1972 - 1986), 1972 - 1981, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The 1972 Olympics was another major media event. One of the first portable television cameras put the viewer right in the middle of the action. The KCN 92 was the leading reporting camera of the Games.

TAM meter for calculating TV viewer numbers, Infratam Gesellschaft für Fernseh-Zuschauer-Forschung m.b.H. & Co. KG (*1961), 1963 - 1974, From the collection of: Museum for Communication Frankfurt, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication

The society for research on television views, Infratam, calculated data on television usage in Germany from 1963. A TAM meter was used to record usage in 825 households.

Credits: Story

Screen time: the invention of television

A virtual exhibition by Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation.

Curator: Dr. Tina Kubot

All objects are part of the collection of Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation.

www.museumsstiftung.de

Sources:
Fisher, David E.: Tube: The Invention of Television, Counterpoint, U.S.A., 1996.

Bruch, Walter: Die Fernseh-Story, Stuttgart, 1969.

Dillenburger, Wolfgang: Aufbau und Arbeitsweise des Fernsehempfängers, Berlin, 1952.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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