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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The image was viewed via a tilted mirror in the lid.
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.
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.
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.
In 1967, color television arrived in Germany. The first experiments on color-image transmission had been carried out in the 1940s.
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.
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.
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.
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.