Skip to comments.Eugene Polley, inventor of TV remote, dies at 96
Posted on 05/22/2012 11:44:26 AM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
CHICAGO (AP) -- Couch potatoes everywhere can pause and thank Eugene Polley for hours of feet-up channel surfing. His invention, the first wireless TV remote, began as a luxury, but with the introduction of hundreds of channels and viewing technologies it has become a necessity.
Just ask anyone who's lost a remote.
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
Eugene, we hardly knew ye.
Too bad he couldn’t invent better tv shows.
Will there be a 21-click salute at the funeral?
The man responsible for the current obesity epidemic.
His nextdoor neighbor invented the mobile home, and the guy across the street perfected the home deep fat fryer.
Okay, so, I can’t substantiate any of that.
Polley was a cracker. Thanks Free ThinkerNY.
It looks more like the rotary control for aiming the TV antenna. A remote which was wired and sitting on the TV didn’t do much good.
As you changed channels, you needed to turn the antenna to point in the direction of that station. These were especially needed if you lived in a rural area and stations were in completely different directions.
Their first attempt involved ultrasonics. The remote had tuning forks or the like in them, and a button press would strike it the corresponding one.
I think it fizzled in the lab, because a woman there could hear that high up, and she thought they were deliberately annoying her. They figured if she could hear it, what about Fido...and they then figured they should find an alternative signalling method.
Our first color tv was a Heathkit, with a wired remote. Power, and a channel stepper for the VHF band. 12 at most?
I had a friend in school whose dad had one of those remotes for his console TV. It would “chunk” and then vibrate when you pressed the buttons.
It was definitely away from the TV, but connected with wires. I also recall it being a bit bigger and perhaps 2 dials. This was almost 30 years ago and I was probably 5-8 years old. I don’t recall if it was cable or antenna, but it was definitely sitting on an end table about 10-15 feet away from the TV next to a cigarette lighter that looked like an authentic pistol that I thought was the coolest thing in the world!
With only 3 channels they were a whole lot easier to program though...
And it wasn’t in a rural area. It was on Long Island, relatively close, maybe 20 miles to NYC.
It was the first wireless TV control, but the first wireless control for a radio was marketed in 1939 by Philco. It was a device the size of a toaster with a battery inside the size of a brick. A control that resembled a telephone dial was used to select stations and control the volume.
Oh, it made it out of the lab.
The 1955 Flash-Matic remote system used a highly directional photo flash tube in the hand held unit that was aimed at sensitive photoreceivers in the four front corners of the TV cabinet. However, bright sunlight falling on the TV was found to activate the controls.
Lead Engineer Robert Adler then suggested that ultrasonic sound be used as a trigger mechanism. This was produced in the hand held unit by mechanically-struck aluminum rods of carefully constructed dimensions - a receiver in the TV responded to the different frequencies this action produced. Enough audible noise was produced by pressing the buttons that consumers began calling remote controls “clickers”. The miniaturization of electronics meant that, eventually, the sounds were produced in the remote unit electronically but the operating principle remained in use until the 1980s, when it was superseded by the infra-red light system.
A greater man never lived. He should lie in state in the capitol rotunda.
Our first color set was a Heathkit as well. I still have fond memories of the hours my dad spent building it, even though he ran most of the kids out when he was working.
That ultrasonic remote was fun to play with. We would jingle our keys in front of the TV and the channel would change.
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