tcnj wordmark

Bibliography

Print SourcesDavid SarnoffMarconi

Radio Corporation of America

Broadcast Technologies

Radio

Television

Sound Recording and Reproduction

Theremin

Facsimile

Solid State Technologies

Computers

LinksRadio Corporation of AmericaGeneral Sites

Electron Tubes/Vacuum Tubes/Valves

Broadcast Technologies

Radio

Television

Recording Technologies

Video Discs

Electron Microscopy

Theremin

Military

Solid State Technologies

Computers

Sources for research and scholarship

This page offers a brief summary of SOME of the sources available on the life of David Sarnoff and the histories of the companies and technologies with which he was connected. Because categories are arbitrary, browse and scroll for sources relevant to your work. Use these as a springboard for further reading, viewing, and research.

The David Sarnoff Library makes no representations whatsoever about any other web site which you may access from its site. When you access a non-Library web site, please understand that it is independent from the Library, and that the Library has no control over the content on that web site. In addition, the David Sarnoff Libray does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content or the use of other web sites or links therefrom.

Go to Internet Links

Print sources

<a name=”tips”>Useful Tips Section</a> David Sarnoff

David Sarnoff, Looking Ahead: The Papers of David Sarnoff (NY: McGraw Hill, 1968).

Eugene Lyons, David Sarnoff: A Biography (NY: Harper & Row, 1966).

Carl Dreher, Sarnoff: An American Success (NY: 1977).

Kenneth Bilby, The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of the Communications Industry (NY: Harper & Row, 1986).

Tom Lewis, Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (NY: Edward Burlingame, an imprint of HarperCollins, 1991).

Louise Benjamin, “In Search of the Sarnoff ‘Radio Music Box’ Memo,” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 37, 3 (Summer 1993), pp. 325-35.

Looking Ahead reprints many of the significant documents held in the David Sarnoff Library, albeit occasionally with editorial changes. Lyons was a cousin of Sarnoff’s who was forced to remove some less complimentary incidents from his uncle’s life, but the book is a well-written sympathetic portrait of RCA’s leader.

Dreher was a sound engineer at RCA in the 1920s who knew Sarnoff then and followed his career later; he has a more tempered view of Sarnoff’s personality. Bilby was vice president for RCA’s public relations department in the 1960s and researched and wrote his biography after retiring. He draws on many of Sarnoff’s reminiscences but plays them and the myths fostered by his former department against the documented historical record. Lewis wrote the companion volume for the PBS documentary of the same name, and is best on the personal lives of Sarnoff, E. H. Armstrong, and Lee DeForest. He bases much of his depiction of the conflict between Sarnoff and Armstrong on Lawrence Lessing’s interpretation in Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong, a Biography (Philadelphia: 1956), which was developed with the support of the Armstrong Foundation. Since writing her article analyzing the origins of Sarnoff’s legendary memo on the prospects for broadcasting, Benjamin has revised her conclusions in an as-yet unpublished paper that draws on documents at the David Sarnoff Library.

Back to top

Marconi

Baker, W.J. A History Of The Marconi Company (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1970).

Bussey, Gordon. Marconi’s Atlantic Leap (Coventry, U.K.: Marconi Communications, 2000).

Tarrant, D. R. Marconi’s Miracle: The Wireless Bridging of the Atlantic (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada: Flanker Press, 2001).

There is no scholarly biography of Guglielmo Marconi in English; refer to the histories of radio and links below. Bussey and Tarrant detail the events of Marconi’s trans-Atlantic reception in Newfoundland of a radio or wireless signal from his station in Poldhu, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom in December 1901.

Back to top

Radio Corporation of America (RCA)

For information specifically on RCA, see the following, but the books on specific topics further below are also valuable:

Robert Sobel, RCA (NY: Stein and Day, 1984).

Frederick O. Barnum, III, “His Master’s Voice in America”: Ninety Years of Communications Pioneering and Progress (Camden, NJ: General Electric Company, 1991).

Rossi, John P., “An All-American System? Business-Government Relations and the Radio Corporation of America, 1917-1932,” Essays in Economic and Business History 12 (1994) 307-18.

Sobel wrote widely on modern American corporations. This one has some minor errors, but offers an intelligible analysis of RCA as a business, as well as the company’s uncertain management in the post-Sarnoff era. Barnum’s book is an exceptional and well-illustrated corporate history that can be found at several libraries in the Philadelphia area.

Back to top

Broadcast Technologies

Hong, Sungook. Wireless: From Marconi’s Black-Box to the Audion (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001).

Inglis, Andrew F. Behind the Tube: A History of Broadcasting Technology and Business (Boston and London: Focal, 1990).

Slotten, Hugh. Radio and Television Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States, 1920-1960 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Takahashi, Yuzo. “A Network of Tinkerers: The Advent of the Radio and Television Industry in Japan.” Technology and Culture 41, no. 3 (July 2000), 460-84.

Hong is the preeminent scholar on the curious transition from the science of electronic signaling to the development of the three-element electron tube; visit his page for citations and samples of the work leading up to this book. Inglis, a former RCA broadcast equipment division executive, gives a wonderfully clear and even-handed narrative of the technical, political, and commercial issues shaping the development of American radio and television systems, combined with his insider’s knowledge of the broadcast industry. Slotten has added to his scholarly and nuanced view of how the United States developed its commercial radio and television systems. He leads several current scholars in revising the early history of FM in radio.

Who buys a new technology and helps make it fit in society? Takahashi explains how enthusiasts enable the diffusion of new technologies by bridging the gap between professional engineers and producers on the one hand and hobbyists and consumers on the other. For more on this process see Susan Douglas, below, on American radio amateurs and “distance fiends” and any discussion of the origins of home computing and the internet.

Back to top

Radio

Archer, Gleason. History of Radio to 1926 (NY: The American Historical Company, 1938).

________. Big Business and Radio (NY: The American Historical Company, 1939).

Aitken, Hugh. Syntony and Spark: The Origins of Radio (New York, London, Sydney, Toronto: John Wiley, 1976; Princeton University Press, 1985).

________. The Continuous Wave: Technology and American Radio,
1900-1932
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).

Barnouw, Erik. A History of Broadcasting in the United States

Douglas, Susan. Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922 (Baltimore:1987).

________. Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination. (New York: Times Books, 1999).

Nahin, Paul J. The Science of Radio, 2d rev. ed. (New York: 2001; 1st ed., Press of the American Institute of Physics, 1995).

Smulyan, Susan. Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920-1934 (Washington, D. C.: 1994).

Lessing, Lawrence. Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong, a Biography (Philadelphia: 1956).

“The Legacies of Edwin Howard Armstrong.” Proceedings of the Radio Club of America 64 (1990).

Archer, dean of Suffolk Law School in Boston, wrote his two volumes with considerable help from RCA. Aitken provides a modern and readable scholarly analysis about the American development of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Barnouw covers the dramatic mix of politics and commercialism that shaped programming and news reportage in three volumes made readable through anecdotes. Douglas and Smulyan look even more critically at the political and commercial construction of broadcast radio and question the inevitability of the commercial network system. Douglas’s latest book is a wonderful history of how listeners, programmers, and inventors have changed radio and the uses for it. Lessing wrote with great sympathy for Armstrong, one of radio’s geniuses. “The Legacies…” is a reflection of the trend toward revising Armstrong’s place in the history of radio, developed also in Inglis and Slotten, above.

Back to top

Television

Burns, R.W. Television: An International History of the Formative Years (London: Peregrinus, 1998).

Udelson, Joseph H. The Great Television Race: A History of the American Television Industry, 1925-1941 (Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1982).

Abramson, Albert A. The History of Television, 1880-1941 (Jefferson, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1987).

________. Zworykin: Pioneer of Television (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

Keller, Peter A. The Cathode-Ray Tube: Technology, History, and
Applications
(New York: Palisades Press, 1991).

Fisher, David E. and Marshall Jon Fisher. Tube: The Invention of Television (Washington, D. C.: Counterpoint, 1996).

Everson, George. The Story of Television: The Life of Philo T. Farnsworth (NY: W. W. Norton, 1949).

Godfrey, Donald G. Philo T. Farnsworth: The Father of Television (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press: 2001).

Stashower, Daniel. The Boy Genius and the Mogul: The Untold Story of Television (NY: Broadway Books, 2002).

Barnouw, Erik. Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television, 2nd rev. ed. (NY: 1990 [1975]).

Ritchie, Michael. Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television (Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 1994).

Kisselof, Jeff. The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961 (NY: Viking Penguin, 1995).

Von Schilling, James A. The Magic Window: American Television, 1939–1953 (Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2002).

Burns’s thorough survey is the only explicitly international history listed here, although Abramson covers all contributors to what became the American system. Udelson develops the most balanced and scholarly perspective of the companies involved in the development of electronic television in the United States to the establishment of the basic broadcast standards in 1941, and the Fishers provide the most readable account that also covers the battle between RCA and CBS over color television after World War II. Abramson covers the inventors and technical developments in scholarly detail, and Keller, an engineer at Tektronix, takes the technical narrative into the 1980s via the most prominent component of the television receiver.

Godfrey has written the standard, scholarly biography of Philo Farnsworth as the inventor of an electronic television system from which RCA ultimately licensed two elements. Elma (Pem) G. Farnsworth published a passionate and understandably prejudiced biography of her husband, Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery on an Invisible Frontier (Salt Lake City: 1990). Abramson and Everson take up the controversies over the development of electronic television in the United States through quite different approaches to the electronic television systems pioneers, Vladimir Zworykin and Farnworth. Everson, who first underwrote Farnsworth’s system, offers the most insightful perspective on the inherent flaw in Farnsworth’s technology. Stashower offers a well-researched and readable account of the invention and development of electronic television in the context of the 1920s and 1930s. Evan Schwartz’s The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television (NY: HarperCollins, 2002) is based on superficial scholarship, technical confusion, and a biased view of the people involved.

Barnouw continued what he started in A History of Broadcasting (see under Radio, above). Ritchie interviewed managers, producers, actors, and actresses on their experiences of producing programming for the new technology in the 1930s and 1940s, and Kisselof expands this approach through an edited series of oral histories. Von Schilling provides a scholarly and readable account of the evolution of television programming in the first fifteen years of commercial broadcasting.

Back to top

Sound Recording and Reproduction

Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 25, 10/11 (October/November 1977).

Roys, H. E. Disc Recording and Reproduction (Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, 1975).

Gelatt, Roland. The Fabulous Phonograph 2nd rev. ed. (NY: Macmillan, 1976).

Wile, Frederic. Emile Berliner: Maker of the Microphone (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1926; reprint, NY: Arno Press, 1974).

Charosh, Paul, ed. Berliner Gramophone Records: American Issues, 1892-1900 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995).

Yorke, Dane. “The Rise and Fall of the Phonograph.” The American Mercury, September 1932, 1-12.

Aldridge, Ben. The Victor Talking Machine Company (Camden, NJ: RCA Sales Corporation, 1964).

Morton, David. Off The Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America. (New Brunswick and Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000).

Gitelman, Lisa. Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999).

Brady, Erika. A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Folklore and Anthropology (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1999).

Warren Rex Isom, former chief engineer of RCA Records, guest edited the special issue of the JAES dedicated to the centennary of sound recording and reproduction. Roys was a senior engineer at RCA who specialized in sound recording and he provides an annotated survey of the most important technical articles on the subject from the 1920s to the 1970s. Oliver Read and Walter Welch’s From Tin Foil to Stereo: the Evolution of the Phonograph is badly flawed by its emphasis on Thomas Edison’s importance, while Andre Millard’s America on Record suffers from numerous factual errors.

Wile remains the only biographer of the inventor of the gramophone–or disc phonograph–system. Charosh includes a short history of the Berliner record companies that predated Victor Talking Machine in the 1890s. Yorke’s article draws on contemporary sources regarding Victor’s evolution from privately held industry leader to a shrunken division of RCA in the Depression. Aldridge worked in phonograph and consumer products distribution for Victor and then RCA. He also served as unofficial corporate historian for RCA, which published 500 copies of his book. Gelatt, editor of High Fidelity magazine in the 1950s, wrote what remains the best history of the phonograph system, drawing on sources like Aldridge, other industry veterans, and his own encyclopedic knowledge of classical recordings.

Morton writes on the uses of disc and tape recording technologies in applications including office dictation, high fidelity, and answering machines; his website, Dead Recording Media, represents a well-illustrated on-line version of his print work. Gitelman examines how the culture of industrialized writing and recording influenced Thomas Edison and his audiences in their development and application of the phonograph; see her page for more on the phonograph. Brady explores the effects of cylinder recording in ethnographic studies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on the researchers, the subjects, and their intellectual and genetic descendants.

Back to top

Theremin

For the theremin and its inventor, the electronic musical instrument RCA licensed from its inventor in 1929-30, read this thoroughly researched and documented work:

Glinsky, Albert. Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage (Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2000)

Back to top

Facsimile

For facsimile technology, which RCA tried to commercialize in the 1920s through 1960s:

Coopersmith, Jonathan. “The Failure of Fax: When a Vision is Not Enough,” Economic and Business History 23 (fall 1994), 272-82.

________. “Losing the Race: the British Post Office and Picture Telegraphy,” Essays in Economic and Business History 13 (1995), 71-82.

Petersen, M. J. “The Emergence of a Mass Market for Fax Machines,” Technology in Society 17, 4 (1995), 469-82.

Back to top

Solid-State Technologies

Hoddeson, Lillian and Michael Riordan. Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997).

Bassett, Ross. To the Digital Age: Research Labs, Start-up Companies, and the Rise of MOS Technology (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, June 2002).

Johnstone, Bob. We Were Burning: Japanese Entrepreneurs and the Forging of the Electronic Age. (New York: Westview Press, 1998).

Hoddeson and Riordan’s prize-winning history uses interviews and archival sources to trace the invention and innovation of the transistor at Bell Labs in the 1940s and 1950s. Bassett draws on corporate records from RCA, AT&T, and IBM as well as other sources to examine the relationships of science, engineering, and business in the invention and innovation of the transistor format that underlies virtually all integrated circuitry today. Johnstone, an Australian journalist, interviewed Japanese, American, and British researchers and businessmen to follow the development and transfer of nascent technologies from the United States to Japan for their commercialization.

Back to top

Computers

Campbell-Kelly, Martin, and William Aspray. Computer: A History of the Information Machine (NY: Basic Books, 1996).

Shurkin, Joel N. Engines of the Mind: The Evolution of the Computer from Mainframes to Microprocessors (NY: W. W. Norton, 1984, rev. 1996).

Malone, Michael S. The Microprocessor: A Biography. NY: Springer Verlag, 1995.

Ceruzzi, Paul E. A History of Modern Computing (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998).

Campbell-Kelly and Aspray provide a smooth narrative of the development of counting, calculating, and data-processing machines with particular strength on the economic and political incentives in the United States between the 1880s and 1970s. Shurkin focuses more on the people involved in the development of electronic dataprocessing between the 1930s and 1960s. Malone covers the first 25 years of the computer on an integrated circuit in balanced, accessible, fashion. Ceruzzi provides a wonderfully documented and more technical study that runs up to the 1990s to get the history right, and pops a few myths in the process.

For different perspectives on the process of innovation:

MacLaurin, W. Rupert. Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry (Cambridge, MA: 1949, reprinted 1975).

Brown, George H. And Part of Which I Was: Recollections of a Research Engineer (Princeton, NJ: Angus Cupar, 1982).

Wolpin, Stewart. “The Race to Video,” American Heritage of Invention and Technology 10 (Fall 1994), 52-63.

Graham, Margaret B. V., RCA and the VideoDisc: The Business of Research (NY: 1986).

Johnstone, Bob. We Were Burning: Japanese Entrepreneurs and the Forging of the Electronic Age. (New York: Westview Press, 1998).

Brinkley, Joel, Defining Vision: The Battle for the Future of Television (NY: Harcourt Brace, 1997).

Buderi, Robert. Engines of Tomorrow: How the World’s Best Companies are Using their Research Labs to Win the Future. (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2000).

Maclaurin drew on interviews and contemporary data to examine the corporate innovation of radio technology in this concise and readable book. Brown’s carefully researched book does not reveal its sources but contains all the best stories behind RCA’s efforts to innovate broadcast technologies and a critical look at RCA’s corporate leadership in the 1960s and 1970s. Copies of this privately published work are still available by contacting

George H. Brown, jr.
117 Hunt Drive
Princeton, NJ 08540-2425

Wolpin writes on the race between RCA, Ampex, and Bing Crosby Enterprises for the first practical videotape recorder in the 1950s. Graham worked out of the Harvard Business School to trace the process of RCA’s last systems development as it happened, and interviewed many of the executives and technical personnel involved. Jones interviewed American and Japanese participants in the development of MOS and CMOS transistors, liquid-crystal displays, charge-coupled devices, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, and music synthesizers to explain why the United States’ leading electronics corporations invented these technologies and why Japanese companies turned them into consumer products. His answer suggests that the Japanese innovated successfully not because of industry-government collaboration, but from individual philosophies similar to David Sarnoff’s. Brinkley traces with a journalist’s cynicism the political and corporate scheming as well as the technical challenges involved in developing American HDTV within an international consortium, of which Sarnoff Corporation was a part. Buderi examines the transition in the nature of corporate research at the end of the 20th century within the context of the technological and stock-market euphoria of 1998-2000.

Back to top

Links

The David Sarnoff Library makes no representations whatsoever about any other web site which you may access from its site. When you access a non-Library web site, please understand that it is independent from the Library, and that the Library has no control over the content on that web site. In addition, the David Sarnoff Libray does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content or the use of other web sites or links therefrom.

While we try to provide links to sites that appear durable, changes in URLs occur or sites close down. You can, however, copy the URL of a site and try to recover by entering it in the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive, a wonderful collaboration of government and university funded internet and digitized history.

RCA

Jack Ward has developed a website on Early Transistor History at RCA featuring a narrative, photos, and interviews with researchers and engineers at RCA Laboratories and the factories and labs at RCA Harrison (NJ) and Somerville (NJ), including

Dick Endres Gerald Herzog Fred Hunter Israel Kalish Robert Kleppinger Jerome Kurshan Herb Meisel Archer Mohr Charles Mueller Joel Ollendorf Jacques Pankove Bob Slade Frank Wheatley

The Library of Congress has a finding aid for its NBC collections on-line, covering materials from the 1920s to the 1980s.

RCA manufactured electronic calculators in the 1970s, which are documented at RCA Calculators.

RCA’s greatest consumer-product innovation effort was its last: a video playback system based on on the spiral groove of the phonograph record. The records were inexpensively manufactured, the discs provided VHS quality, and could be read with the capacitance stylus or with a laser beam. CED Magic documents the process and the products of the CED Videodisc in extraordinary detail and volume.

The IEEE History Center has a set of oral histories of RCA scientists and engineers recorded in 1973-74 and transcribed years later. Some of them have been edited since, but beware of misheard names and terms. The researchers interviewed include

James Hillier
Harold B. Law
Humboldt W. Leverenz
Charles W. Mueller
Harry F. Olson
Jan Rajchman
Paul Weimer
Irving Wolff
Vladimir Zworykin

Use the center’s links to explore other sets of interviews and the much broader world of electrical engineering.

Back to top

General Sites

Dr. Russell Naughton of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has developed a remarkable indexed collection of writings, documents, and links at Adventures in Cybersound. The Camp Evans History page of the InfoAge website is devoted to the electronic technologies used and developed at the Marconi/U. S. Army Signal Corps station in Belmar, New Jersey.

Back to top

Electron Tubes/Vacuum Tubes/Valves

David Sarnoff and RCA’s success were based on this technology. To find out it works and where it came from, visit How a Vacuum Tube Works. Welcome to the Vacuum Tube Page provides a series of links to more information, including sources and uses for tubes today; there are more tube manufacturers around the world than ever before. My Collection of Cathode Ray Tubes explains and displays this technology as applied to cameras and displays.

Back to top

Broadcast Technologies

Radio

It’s worth the loading time to reach the Marconi Collection site, which contains a wealth of archival documents and photos on the history of Italian inventor, his radio technologies, and the companies he founded. Thomas White has an excellent collection of articles and scanned original documents at his United States Early Radio History; similar fine collections are at The Broadcast Archive and The History of American Broadcasting. A wonderful collection documents the life of Edwin H. Armstrong, inventor of many basic AM and FM radio circuits. Delve into the history and sound of NBC in Chicago at Broadcasting in Chicago, 1921-1989.

Back to top

Television

The most ambitious and thorough site is Television History-The First 75 Years, which covers the technology over the course of the 20th century. Aided by the collectors’ network, Edward H. Reitan, Jr., has developed The Following Program . . ., documenting extensively the early development of color television. Those collectors have also organized the Early Television Foundation which offers views of an enormous variety of rare and vanished cameras, transmission equipment, and receivers, or sets. A growing collection of material on Vladimir Zworykin, including photos of television R&D in Camden from 1933 to 1940, a brief history of the period, and his obituary, are online at The Restelli Collection. Read Donald G. Fink’s 1981 article on the development of the National Television Standards Committee and how it developed first American monochrome and then color television standards from the 1930s through the 1950s. Farnovision provides a thorough but slanted history of the development of electronic monochrome television based on sources related to Philo Farnsworth.

Back to top

Recording technologies

Steve Schoenherr, a history professor at the University of California, San Diego, keeps adding to Recording Technology History, which also provides bibliographies to the articles listed. For a history of Dead Recording Media, see David Morton’s site on obsolete and ailing phonograph, magnetic, and optical recording tehcnologies. For answers to many FAQs regarding cylinder and acoustically recorded phonograph/gramophone discs, vist the Tinfoil Resource Center. Emile Berliner is well documented at this page of an unrelated Berliner’s site. See many acoustic phonographs and gramophones at The Online Phonograph Gallery. Recordings dating back to 1888 can be heard at the Edison National Historic Site. Compare them to the Edison cylinders and disc records at at the Library of Congress’s American Memory project on Inventing Entertainment, which also provides excellent histories and bibliographies.

Back to top

Video Discs

CED Magic documents RCA’s last consumer electronics systems innovation, the CED Videodisc in extraordinary detail and volume.

Back to top

Electron Microscopy

Dr. John H. L. Watson of the University of Toronto has written a thorough, well-documented, and illustrated article on the development of the first practical electron microscopes, starting in 1938 with James Hillier and Albert Prebus’s version, in Very Early Electron Microscopy.

Back to top

Theremin

Leon Theremin or Lev Termen’s life and technologies are documented here with histories, music samples, and links.

Back to top

Military

The Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York offers a thoroughly illustrated timeline of radar, communications, reconnaissance and other technologies developed in conjunction with various companies including RCA from 1950 to the 1990s.

Back to top

Solid-state Technologies

Start with Trailing the Transistor, which explains the transistor effect and the history of the technology at basic and more advanced levels. Transistorized! is a web analogue to the PBS program. The Discovery of the Transistor offers images and histories of the early versions of the transistor and the companies that made them.

Back to top

Computers

John W. Mauchly and the Development of the ENIAC Computer” is thoroughly documented exhibit from the University of Pennsylvania Library’s Department of Special Collections. The Computer Museum at Ames Air Force Base, California, offers an impressive site of histories, images, and interactive demonstrations of computing techniques.

Back to top

Sources for Research and Scholarship

The Hagley Museum and Library recovered most of the technical files—reports and memoranda–and some historical materials from the RCA Camden library in 1992. The site features an excellent online catalog of the Hagley’s holdings, which contain far more in business and advertising history than RCA. The Archives Center at the National Museum of American History holds the George Clark Radioana collection, as well as the Western Union archives and an immense set of oral histories relating to the history of computing. Descriptions and finding aids are available on-line.

The U. S. Patent Office has an index page offering the patent collections of Guglielmo Marconi and Philo Farnsworth, among others.

A useful source for broadcast media history can be found at the Library of American Broadcasting in College Park, Maryland, which includes the Broadcast Pioneers Library and much NBC material. It too has an excellent online catalog. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin has a Mass Communications collection including significant NBC holdings which are partly searchable through a telnet connection. You should also visit the Library of Congress Motion Picture and Television Reading Room and especially the NBC Resources Held by The Recorded Sound Section. For television programming, search the immense collections at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives.

SiliconBase at Stanford University is the site for research and discussion of the history and culture of digital society, providing archives, articles, and forums. The Center for the History of Physics provides an archival repository, a search engine and on-line catalogs, and on-line exhibits.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Information? Please contact the Library director, Alexander B. Magoun, at amagoun@sarnoff.com.

Top