Washington, DC: Birthplace of Television?

Photo courtesy of
‘Televised War’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

From the “Things They Did Not Teach Me In School” file comes this interesting bit of DC trivia (hat tip: reader Al McGilvray):

The first licensed television station in the US, W3XK, started right here in DC on July 2, 1928. It originally broadcast 5 nights per week from Charles Jenkins Laboratories at 1519 Connecticut Ave. NW, which is now the home of Gallery 10. By 1929, the station had moved to Wheaton (that location is now a private residence). The station broadcast electromechanical television, first in 48 lines of resolution, then 60, before finally being liquidated in 1932 by RCA.

By 1934 Philo T. Farnsworth was demonstrating electronic television, which is the electrons-and-cathode-ray-tube-based technology of our youth. So technically, DC is the birthplace of failed television technology, but never you mind about that.

Jenkins also has the dubious distinction of airing the first TV commercial, for which he was fined by the government as it was a violation of his broadcast license.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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