This Day in Geek History: March 25
Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn, using a simple telescope with magnification of fifty, and subsequently determines the period of its revolution. The moon will be named two centuries later.
Frederick Laggenheim takes the first photograph of a solar eclipse.
Leon Scott de Martinville patents the Phonautograph, the first machine to record sound, twenty years before Thomas Edison invents the first Phonograph. However, unlike the later phonograph, the device is able to record sound but unable to play it back. As such, the phonautograph will become well-known among scientists but will remain a scientific instrument used in the study of sound waves. Read more about the history of phonautograph.
Irving W. Colburn receives a patent for the first sheet glass drawing machine. The device makes the mass production of window glass practical for the first time in history.
The first submarine wreck occurs when the USS F-4 (SS-23) sinks off the coast of Hawaii, near Honolulu harbor, killing twenty-one crew members. An investigation board will later speculate that the lead lining around the vessel’s battery tank had corroded, leading to a leak that caused the crew to loose control during a submerged run.
John Logie Baird gives the first public demonstration of his television system at the Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London, England. It will be ten years before the introduction of television with higher definition in Britain on November 2, 1936.
MGM releases Tarzan the Ape Man, directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starring Johnny Weissmuller, Neil Hamilton, Maureen O’Sullivan, and C. Aubrey Smith, to U.S. theaters. The film was produced on a budget of US$652,675. IMDB listing Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins
Radio Corporation of America (RCA) begins producing the first mass-produced all-electronic color television receiver, the RCA CT-100. The release comes just months after a limited release of the first NTSC television camera, the model RCA TK-40, in 1953 and just days after RCA began shipping the first commercially available color television camera, the TK-40A, from its plant in Camden, New Jersey. The receivers, which are manufactured in Bloomington, Indiana, each feature an eleven and a half-inch wide picture produced by a fifteen-inch picture tube, thirty-six vacuum tubes, and a 12½ inch screen. Westinghouse released a model of color television several weeks earlier, but only one of the hand-assembled sets sold in the month following its release. Though RCA will loose money on every unit sold, the color television sets retail for US$1,000, roughly one-third to one-half the cost of a new car, due to the extraordinary costs involved in producing picture tubes. As a result of the model’s prince, only about 4,000 of the sets will ever be sold. It will take more than a decade for color televisions to become popular enough for color broadcasts to become a regular part of network programming. Read more about the CT-10 at the Radio-Television Museum. Visit the official RCA website.