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1924 - inventor C. Francis Jenkins with the radio vision


CD 1967055 E&MP134.417

and E&MP134.412


October 1, 1924

Hon. R.B. Howell, Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Howell: - May I call your attention to a new method of communication, the radio photo letter.

It retains the authentic character of an autograph letter while delivering it at the speed of radio.

It is the beginning of the practical application of my ten years development of a radio service to the eye, where heretofore radio has been developed only as a service to the ear.

Isn’t it about time the government began considering a more rapid communication service to business?

Photo copies of letters are admissible in court.

Photo copies of business letters delivered by radio (at the speed of light) would be just as authentic and binding while speeding up commerce enormously.

Commerce like an army, can go forward no faster than its means of communication.

A more rapid means of intercourse is a new tool for speeding up business, and should correspondingly increase national wealth.

[Signed] Jenkins

Additional text found

June 14, 1925 Sunday Star, Washington, D.C.


“Radio vision” long the fantastic dream of science, became an accomplished fact yesterday afternoon, with Secretary of the Navy Wilbur and other high Government officials witnessing the feat.

With the aid of a remarkable apparatus invented by the Washington scientist, C. Francis Jenkins, the Secretary of the Navy, Dr. George M. Burgess, director of the Bureau of Standards; Admiral D.W. Taylor, Capt. Paul Foley of the Naval Research Laboratory and others actually “saw” by radio and object set in motion several miles distant in front of a “radio eye” installed at the Naval Radio Station, NOF, at Bellview, D.C.

It was heralded as the first time in history that a man has literally seen far-away objects in motion through the uncanny agency of wireless.

As Secretary Wilbur watched the image of a revolving propeller, selected as the “subject” to be broadcast, as it cavorted on a small screen in the Jenkins laboratory, at 1519 Connecticut Avenue, he remarked:

“I suppose we’ll be sitting at our desks during the next war and watching the battle in progress.” That’s perfectly possible, Mr. Secretary,” the inventor replied seriously.

The demonstration was of a strictly private nature and, in the words of Mr. Jenkins, did not pretend to be a show.

“It is merely a scientific test that proves we have attained our goal,” Mr. Jenkins told visitors. “By making numerous improvements in our sending and receiving machines we expect to be able shortly to stage a ‘radio vision show,’ with the talent performing at the broadcasting station and the audience watching the performance at the receiving studio miles distant.

What the officials saw yesterday afternoon was the image of a small cross revolving in a beam of light flashed across a light-sensitive cell at Station NOF. No other objects were used in the test. The image, while clear-cut, was easily distinguishable.

Director Burgess of the Bureau of Standards, in congratulating the inventor said: “You’ve certainly got it, all right, if my eyes aren't deceiving [me]." 

Original Radiogram by C. Francis Jenkins
and published by Science Service
©Sunday Star

National Museum of American History


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