Gerald B. Herzog – First Transistor Television

Oral History – (Continued)



I worked long hours the next several days to try to find a phase locked loop circuit that would allow the oscillator to actually be at a different phase than the incoming sync signal.   The day of the first demonstration was coming up and I was still fiddling to get the phase locked loop stable.  The day before the first demonstration I worked late into the night trying to get the circuit to work properly. It just wouldn’t stabilize.  Just as NBC was about to go off the air, I made one final circuit change, and the signal disappeared.  The next morning, I arrived at the Labs at 5 AM and waited for NBC to come back on the air.  They came on with a prayer, as was the norm in those days. I switched on the set, and lo and behold, it worked.  The picture was locked and it was stable.  I was ecstatic.  But later that day, “Disaster”.  The first demonstration was for all the RCA product division executives and key personnel from RCA Labs. All the divisions were represented, and in the afternoon, when the TV set was demonstrated, everybody was impressed.  But, the vice president of the Tube Division said, “Oh, you cannot demonstrate that TV set!”.  I was shocked.  His reason was that if people thought transistors could run a television set,  they would stop buying vacuum tubes.  What an idiot!   The issue was resolved at the highest level and the set was widely, publicly displayed and is now residing in the Smithsonian  Science Museum











This is a photograph supplied By Gerald Herzog, showing the key personnel associated with the development of the first transistor television receiver at RCA.  George Sziklai, the manager of the group that developed the TV, is shown at the far right of the photo.  Jerry Herzog, using a pencil to illustrate an aspect of the television set, is shown standing next to George Sziklai.  Walt Howarth, standing next to Jerry and holding the TV, was the technician in the group who assembled the completed device.  Bob Lohman, shown kneeling, was an engineer in the group, and was responsible, along with Jerry, in developing the design of the TV. 



Go To Herzog Oral History, Page 12





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