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The Radio Corporation of America

Julius Adams insisted that what the United States needed to pull itself out of the Depression was an invention that would create a fresh market. He suggested that “the best chance of becoming the springboard that will propel business to something like its pre-depression status” was television.

Radio retailers were adopting a “show me” attitude towards RCA’s new television. In fact, television sales fell way below expectations after the first month of production. RCA hoped to sell between 600 and 700 television sets but conceded that was far too optimistic by the end of May. The most common reasons given were the limited number of programming hours and the greatest number of programs ran during the daytime, 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. Also, prices ranged from $198 to $600 per set.

Television seemed simply too new to many consumers. George Ross noted in his syndicated column: “Most people regard television as a diapered art which has yet to advance to swaddling clothes.” However, the Post editorialized: “Some distant day, when the Persiphere and Trylon are razed and forgotten, the New York World’s Fair may be remembered because it introduced television to the world.

Unlike the visitors to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 who laughed at the first crude telephone as an impractical instrument, those who saw the first television program were confident that they were seeing the beginning of a new era of communication.”