Did you know that up till about 1932, the pictures on cathode ray tubes were green…like an oscilloscope screen? Me either, but there it was in Monday’s posting of the history of the Empire State Building antenna article from 1967.
Quoting the article; “At that time, the tubes had green fluorescent screens, since the white phosphor later used for black-and-white television had not yet been developed.”
This was in relation to NBC’s first experimental television transmissions from the first Empire State antenna on December 22, 1931. The first experimental transmission from the Empire State Building were 120-line pictures using mechanical scanning of both film and live subjects.
The live subject would have most definitely included extended periods of Felix The Cat spinning on a turntable. As I reported in the NBC Studio History Series earlier in the year, Felix, the mechanical camera and the transmitter were in the Roof Garden Studio of The New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd Street and were 60 line transmissions received on these green tinted screens.
It would be interesting to know when the white phosphor process began. I’m looking but as yet, no luck, but I did find this rare photo from 1932. If anyone has any information on this, please share it with us