Meeting Information

Television in The 1920s

December 18, 2019
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Date: December 18, 2019
Speaker: Brian Belanger, Curator National Capital Radio & Television Museum
Topic: Television in The 1920s
Time and Location: 1:00 p.m., with Q&A to follow in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD — off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: This talk describes the fascinating early history of television. Few Americans had an opportunity to view television broadcasts before the late 1940s or early 1950s. Color television broadcasting did not begin until 1954. But there was much experimentation long before that. Even in the 1890s, scientists were describing in some detail how someday people might be able to view live moving pictures in their living rooms. The first published book on the history of television had a copyright date of 1911! The first color television patent was filed in 1904, but it took exactly a half century before color TV became readily available to consumers. There was experimental television in the Washington, DC, area beginning in 1928, using motor-drive spinning discs to create the moving image. 

Biography: Brian Belanger is the curator (as a volunteer) at the National Capital Radio & Television Museum in Bowie, Maryland, and was its executive director (also as a volunteer) for approximately a decade. He is a co-editor of Dials and Channels, the museum’s quarterly journal. Prior to his retirement in 2000 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he held several senior management positions there, including Deputy Director of the Advanced Technology Program, Liaison to the Department of Defense, and Associate Director of the Center for Electronics and Electrical Engineering. He was a Commerce Department Science and Technology Fellow in 1983 and a recipient of Bronze and Silver medals from the Commerce Department. An electrical engineer, with a bachelor’s degree from Caltech and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, Brian is an amateur extra-class ham operator. He serves on the board of directors of the Mid-Atlantic Antique Radio Club and is a co-editor of Radio Age, the club’s journal. He is the recipient of the Antique Wireless Association’s Houck Award for Documentation and the Broadcast History Legend Award of the National Capital Radio & Television Museum.