A Brief History of Television, by Decade

A brief history of television, by decade

Many Americans received their first taste of TV during the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. But even before then, scientists and inventors were investigating ways that cathode ray tubes and microscopes might allow people to be entertained by moving pictures. That’s right, before you binge-watched your favorite series on a 55-inch plasma screen TV, there was a time when TV technology was much more primitive.
Stacker takes a look at a brief history of television, by decade, examining how television has evolved over the past century. Research was pulled from primary sources like newspaper articles, academic articles, and history websites like the Smithsonian’s online database.
Do you know about the Russian American who created the blueprint for the first TV sets? What about the longest-running U.S. TV show, which first aired in the 1940s? Or the product once frequently seen in shows and during commercial breaks that was banned during the freewheeling 1970s?
Keep reading to find out this information and more—the technological advances and memorable moments in news, sports, and sitcoms, as well as some of the TV-related inventions that didn’t pan out so well, but still influenced television programming of the future.


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