# Oral-History:Thomas Goldsmith

Thomas Goldsmith attended Furman University in South Carolina, graduating in 1931. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1936, where he was involved in research on cathode ray devices. It was as a graduate student that Goldsmith first had contact with the Alan B. Dumont Laboratories. Upon receiving his doctorate, Goldsmith went to work for Dumont as a director of research, a position he held until he left the company in 1966. Goldsmith then returned to Furman University as a physics professor and director of the audio-visual department.

THOMAS GOLDSMITH: An Interview Conducted by Frank Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, May 14, 1973

Interview # 008 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Thomas Goldsmith, an oral history conducted in 1973 by Frank Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA

## Interview

INTERVIEW: Thomas Goldsmith INTERVIEWED BY: Frank Polkinghorn PLACE: Verona, New Jersey DATE: May 14, 1973

### Education and Early TV

Polkinghorn:

This is an interview of Dr. Thomas Goldsmith on May 14, 1973, regarding various affairs with the Dumont Television Company. Why don't you start right back at the beginning? First, I think you should give us a little bit of your own background. You went to Cornell University.

Goldsmith:

Well, in my early experience in television, people in South Carolina asked me questions sometimes about who invented television. It's not one person but a group of people, some of them from the Bell Telephone Laboratories and Radio Corporation of America, many people from foreign countries that contributed a little here and a little there over the years. One friend of mine wrote a book titled Five Thousand Years of Television. We are not going to be reciting that Alan Dumont is the inventor of television; that is not so. He was a contributor to the large-scale production of television. I think a great deal of credit is due to him for producing the practice, things that had been done long before you were born that led up to television.

My earliest experience with television was when I was still a student in South Carolina. I ran into some radio bugs down there; we talked a little about having to fill crystal radio sets. I was born in Greenbrook, South Carolina in 1910 and I went to school at Furman University, where I am now located. In 1966 I went back to Furman University, where I was professor of physics and director of the audio- visual department. So even way back around 1920, I was doing work in television. As strange as it may seem, television was really a research device at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, with some work also being done by a lot of people such Vladimir Zworykin — for Westinghouse in the early days and later on for RCA. RCA started its activities as a corporation around 1924, I think it was. In 1924, when I was only fourteen years old, I got acquainted with a fellow by the name of Willie Cook, who was building crystal radio sets, and he taught me how to do this. I finally graduated to vacuum tube radio using Lee De Forest triodes, and we used to listen in for radio signals. At the upper end of what is now the AM broadcast band, around 1600 kilocycles or kilohertz, there were transmissions that had a sort of sixty-cycle buzz content, which were actual television transmissions from Washington D.C. in a television transmission experimental station. C. Francis Jenkins used mechanical scanning disks. I bet you know him, Frank.

Polkinghorn:

No, I don't know him.

Goldsmith:

You have heard of him?

Polkinghorn:

Yes.

Goldsmith:

That Nipkow disk scanner has a lot to do with Dumont Laboratories, that's what I am leading up to. In those early days I would hear this buzz. I never got around to building a scanner wheel to look at it, when I was a student in high school and later at Furman University. But we did know that television signals were being transmitted in Washington D.C. This used a scanning wheel with a spiral form and a bunch of holes. The holes would race across the scanned area, and sensitive holes were in a spiral form that scanned from top to bottom of the picture in scanning lines. There was great difficulty holding the mechanical motor at the transmitter stable enough to produce a good picture and also to synchronize another holder, the Nipkow disk scanner, at each of the many receivers, for composing a full-sized picture. The scanning lines were very few per picture and the transmission band width was in the upper end of the broadcast band, maybe ten or twenty kilocycles in the early days. That later expanded a little bit beyond that. This experience in South Carolina was just one of listening to radio and hearing this incidentally in television, but I got started in stroboscopic looking at signals with laberating tuning forks while I was a student at Furman University. Just a few days ago I was looking through some old equipment and found some of those tuning forks with mirrors mounted on. You take two tuning forks, turn one horizontally and the other vertically, and send a light beam from the mirror of one to the mirror of the other and you can produce a Lissajous figure, a moving pattern of light — a figure 8 if it is a two-to-one ratio frequency. Those devices were used at Furman in 1927 to 1930, when I was a student.

### Alan B. Dumont Laboratories

#### Company History

Goldsmith:

In 1931 I graduated and went off to Cornell University. I did work on cathode ray tubes at Cornell as a student in the graduate school physics department. I got my Ph.D. there in 1936. During the research on cathode ray devices I met my professor, Dr. Frederick Van Bide. He and I wrote to this laboratory from whom we'd got some literature saying that they were building cathode ray tubes. It turned out to be a little laboratory started in 1931 by Alan B. Dumont, called Alan B. Dumont Laboratories. No incorporation at that time. Incorporation came in 1934, but he was already building cathode ray tubes. I started working with him on November 1, 1936, as a director of research. The title continued all the way through until I left the company thirty years later, in 1966.

I found out some of the earlier history of Alan Dumont; he told me over the years how he had gotten interested in television. His first experience had not been with his own company, because he started off here in Montclair, New Jersey. I think he was born in Brooklyn but moved soon to Montclair. He was very active in athletics as a youngster until the age of ten, when he was stricken with polio, so it grounded him a bit. He became interested in radio and in high school he was a radio operator on freighters, going up and down the coast of the United States. Later he went across the ocean to European ports as a shipboard operator. His ability to operate radio was not hampered by his impediment, that he couldn't walk. Then he went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he got a good engineering degree and familiarity with not only the technical side but also the business side of operating things. After graduating from RPI he worked for the Westinghouse Corporation. I think you mentioned Dr. Laver. Tell me a little bit more about him.

Polkinghorn:

He was in charge of the Westinghouse plant in Belmar. He had previously worked for Westinghouse in Bloomfield and RCA in Harrison and with the other radio company on Bloomfield Avenue — what was the name of that?

Goldsmith:

Here in Bloomfield, New Jersey?

Polkinghorn:

Yes.

Goldsmith:

Yes, I remember there was another company. It was Westinghouse that I referred to, particularly with regard to Alan Dumont. As a young engineer, Dumont had graduated from RPI and went to work for Westinghouse Corporation. This is prior to 1931, when he started his own business. While at Westinghouse he was producing radio tubes on a mass-production basis. Some of these were transmitting power tubes and some were smaller receiving tubes. But Westinghouse at Bloomfield started building these tubes and needed someone to produce some with more assurance of quality control so that all the tubes would be good. So, Alan Dumont built high-production exhaust machines and automatic testing machines for testing the tubes. Having gotten familiar with cathodes, grids, plate structures, and vacuum processing he turned out tubes at a much higher production rate than previously. He got patents on this in the name of Westinghouse.

Then one day one of the research people came to him and said, "We've got a cathode ray tube that we had purchased from Germany and we burned it up. Somebody turned a little too much filament current through it, and it's gone. Alan, do you think you could fix it?" He said, "Probably we can." So he put a new electron gun in this tube and played around with the big tube. Ah! This is the way to do television, rather than the older ways of the mechanical standard. Also in his early days, prior to starting his own company, he worked as chief engineer of the De Forest Radio Company. Lee De Forest lived principally on the west coast, but in some of his research years he had come east and was a graduate student at Yale University, where he did his graduate work in electrical engineering. I talked to Lee quite a bit because later he was consulting engineer for Alan B. Dumont Laboratories until he was about eighty-five years old. The De Forest Radio Company operated in Passaic, New Jersey.

Polkinghorn:

Yes, I remember, in the late 1920s.

Goldsmith:

Later on, Alan Dumont started his company, first in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, on the boundary of Cedar Grove and Upper Montclair, in a garage of his house. He then moved to Passaic, New Jersey in 1937. There is a motion picture and a historical story about Passaic, the birthplace of television.

Polkinghorn:

When I first met you, I believe you were working on Valley Road in Montclair.

Goldsmith:

That's right.

Polkinghorn:

What intersection was that?

Goldsmith:

#### Cold, Hot and High-vacuum Cathodes

Polkinghorn:

That was cold cathode.

Goldsmith:

He built the first cathode ray tube that was used as a magnetic deflection device to picture the wave shapes of AC power, alternating current voltage, as one looks at the voltage on the fluorescent screen. I think F. Braun was an early acquaintance of Alan Dumont too, but the Braun tube was in 1898 reduced to a working device. It had engineering applications, was built in Germany, and was shipped to this country in early days. The Bell Telephone Laboratories in about 1925 developed the hot cathode device. It was actually a filament with a little tip of electron emitting material on the part of the hairpin which would allow the filament to be warmed up to just a rosy red, not an incandescent temperature. The emission came off of this tip and could be focused. J.B. Johnson at the Bell Laboratories had built these tubes and had sold a few of them, one of which had landed up in Cornell University when I was a student there.

Alan Dumont had started his company in 1931. I went to Cornell in 1931, but only learned of Dumont around 1933 or 1934, when we ordered a special tube from him. I asked him to pump it to a higher vacuum so that we wouldn't have ion focusing in the tube, in order to allow us to work at higher frequencies. If one has an ion focus, or a gas focus tube, the ions, being rather bulky with regard to large mass for small charge, would be left behind when you tried to deflect with electron deflection plates and the spot would come badly out of focus at high frequencies. Dumont built this higher vacuum tube for us at Cornell to work with Frederick Bidel and enabled us to go up to twelve million cycles per second with deflections and a reasonably sharp focus. Dr. Bidel's son-in-law, R.C. Bert had worked in the tube laboratories on Hudson Street with the Bell Telephone Laboratories, along with J.B. Johnson, as a technician building some of the early cathode ray tubes. He had since moved out to Pasadena to be a professor of the physics department at the California Institute of Technology. But Dr. Bert used to come back to Cornell with his wife, who was Dr. Bidel's daughter, Elena Bidel Bert, so I got acquainted with him. We had worked with some early oscillographs at Cornell that needed this better performance with the tubes that Alan Dumont had built.

So I came down on November 1, 1936 to work with Alan Dumont and we went to extremely high vacuum cathode ray tubes, got rid of the gas technique entirely. Some of the early Dumont tubes also used a partial residual of some of the inert gases to help in the focusing action. We found that especially in the summertime these space charges would be misbehaving and unpredictable, so while he was in Europe in about 1937 or 1938, I took the bull by the horns as director of research and said, hereafter we should go to all electron beam gun focusing and take the gas out of the tubes, so we would have a better performance. There used to be little wiggles in the beam that the gas residues would leave behind which were not characteristic of the signals we were trying to investigate. Alan Dumont was chief engineer for the De Forest Radio Company over in Passaic, and at that location Lee De Forest had probably the first synchronized transmission of picture with associated sound. One transmitted the picture and a synchronized sound transmission along with it to send out pictures and sound from Passaic, New Jersey in television.

Polkinghorn:

What year was that?

Goldsmith:

That was in the 1925 era. I wasn't at that location in those days, but Lee DeForest and Alan Dumont told me of those early days, and I have seen pictures taken in those laboratories where the mechanical scanning Nipkow disk technique was used even with interlays at those laboratories taking over some of the equipment from the C. Francis Jenkins Company. C. Francis Jenkins died and the equipment was bought by Lee De Forest for use in the De Forest Radio Company and television research in Passaic. Alan Dumont finally told Lee that this mechanical method of doing television was not going to be financially successful because there was too much difficulty to expect a fine enough series of holes punched precisely enough and synchronized enough mechanically to transmit to the receiver to make a good, big picture. Alan Dumont told Lee, "We've got to go the cathode ray technique." Well, Lee meanwhile had had quite a bit of experience with Wall Street promoters.

Polkinghorn:

He almost went to jail.

Goldsmith:

He was in and out of jail, in and out of the SEC or the equivalent in those days, for promoting things that he couldn't quite deliver because his salesmen or his promoters on Wall Street got more enthusiastic than his technical ability could keep up with on a time schedule. Anyway the cathode ray tube did prove to be the way to go in television. There are some developments now that we could talk about later on, maybe, but even the cathode ray tube is now obsolete in television. We were doing television by light-emitting diodes, things of that sort. Even the electron beam was not necessary, but that is another story.

#### Growth of Dumont

Audio File
MP3 Audio
(008_-_goldsmith_-_clip_1.mp3)

Polkinghorn:

#### Industry Standards and Color TV

Goldsmith:

They were there first. They were on the air before we were. We operated that way and the receiver could be fix-tuned radio-frequency wise. CBS wasn't very active at that time. We used to work from midnight to nine a.m. on our experiments with new methods of synchronization. We had quite a bit to do in the overall industry coordination with pushing this scanning line sharpness up from the original 441 lines, which was first proposed by RCA, to the current U.S broadcast standard of 525 lines. We had experimented with a lower field rate and long persistence screening hoping to go to the order of 800 miles or so, and we had done 635-line transmission experiments in New York. But finally the industry compromised and agreed to the 525 lines per picture standard, which is current in the United States today. That was sixty fields per second or thirty complete frames to the one. That standard the United States, I guess, shares with Japan. The Japanese standard is 525 lines?

Polkinghorn:

I am not sure.

Goldsmith:

I believe it is sixty cycles. But in England, Holland, and many European countries the power frequency was fifty cycles per second rather than sixty. So they settled on 625 lines per picture at fifty fields of twenty-five frames per second in the picture transmission phase, which comes out to about the same number of horizontal lines per second. The United States is 15,750 lines per second and in England by going to 625 at fifty instead of 525 at sixty, it comes out about the same sort of sets, so they are reasonably compatible except when the modulation is turned the other way and the sound is above instead of below. There are other factors in the standards internationally that have a lot to do with it, especially when you get to color television. Color television is of interest to Alan Dumont Laboratories in that Alan patented some cathode ray tubes with three color phosphorous. I've got records of the early patents of that day. He had built those before I even started with him in 1936: I think about 1933 he was building color television tubes or color cathode ray tubes and got some patents on the application. He used to go up to the Jersey Ink Company Mines and pull out fluorescent material in crude rock form and reprocess them with Al Steadman, his brother-in-law, whose chemical knowledge was used for it. They put several different color phosphors in the tubes and I know Bell Labs has used different color tubes for different purposes. One with blue phosphors for photographic recording, one with green phosphors for high visible brightness because oligonite puts out a lot of light with green light. Of course a blend of phosphorous gives a black-and-white tube and a mixture of phosphorous with red, blue, and green compounds gives a P4 or white tube. Of course, later on various colors had been used for cathode ray tubes, some with long persistence and some with short persistence for applications of this sort.

### Early TV Experiments at Bell Labs

Polkinghorn:

You have been talking about color television. I wonder if we should start back again and talk about some of the things that came before color.

Goldsmith:

Right. Frank, you ought to know very well from your associations with Bell Telephone Laboratories that there was a man by the name of Herbert Ives that had a lot to do with television for the Bell Systems. I well remember going over to Bell Laboratories in the early days at West Street — before Bell moved to Murray Hill — to see some television experiments you were doing there. You had a tube that was nine feet long, a cathode ray tube. The idea was that a long focusing gun would give a better controlled spot. Even this one had a rectangular electron optics structure to keep a rectangular spot which would fill in the space between lines almost completely. This was done in black-and-white. I saw pictures coming from Philadelphia: I think some of the signals might have originated at the Philco Corporation there. But the Bell Telephone Laboratories, particularly with Herbert Ives and some of his associates, was working in color. In the early days it was actually mechanical rotating color filter cover and went into electronic color later on.

Polkinghorn:

I saw Ed Hires' electronic disk in about 1927. It was right after I came, in March. He had individual lights for each one of these probes. I talked with a girl in Washington over a wire line at about that time.

Goldsmith:

This was 1927?

Polkinghorn:

The picture was only about two inches high by an inch- and-a-half wide, or something like that.

Goldsmith:

The picture was shown on a mechanical scanner in those days.

Polkinghorn:

Yes, on an electron disk.

### From Nipkow Disks to Cathode Ray Tubes

Goldsmith:

Well, coming back to Alan Dumont's story, we worked closely with the Bell Telephone Laboratories and used the coaxial cable circuit between New York and Washington in television broadcasting. It might be worthwhile to get into this picture size in the early Lee De Forest Company. De Forest Radio was using a Nipkow disk where the picture was about the size of an ordinary postage stamp. To make the picture look a bit more acceptable to the home viewer, there was a big lens which magnified it about two-to-one, so it was like the size of two linear dimension postage stamps. That way, the picture was still rather small, rather flickery, with rather poor resolution and very difficult to stay in synchronization. In the early days in experiments in television, we started in upper Montclair, New Jersey, when I joined Alan Dumont. We moved from his basement in his garage down into two little stores down below Barnes. You asked me where it was located in Upper Montclair; it was on Valley Road and down about two short blocks below Barnes Ice Cream Place.

Polkinghorn:

Where the stamp store and the laundry were?

Goldsmith:

Yes, the Abline Stamp Company, it used to be. I think it is still there. We finally took over all five of those stores and started transmitting television signals from that location. We starting developing receivers and we harnessed a cathode ray oscillograph as a transmitting device and another cathode ray as a receiving device connected by wires. Someone could illustrate the principal scan, the transmitting tube was just a secondary emission target in a cathode ray tube. The picture of Abraham Lincoln or something like that was transmitted to the other cathode ray tube as a receiver to the display. You could change the scanning rates, each of which had a horizontal time base. You fed the time base from one oscillograph as a horizontal scan, the time base from the other as a vertical scan, and you could illustrate how a scanning pattern could be generated at low resolution or higher resolution by changing the times. These devices went into universities and high schools for teaching people the principles of electronic scanning. Later on, of course, we developed a whole line of television broadcast cameras using black-and-white base. The company also had a cathode ray tube manufacturing business where we sold many tubes for the Bell System and other industrial laboratories and research centers. We sold the oscillographs, the instrument that uses the cathode ray tube power supply, reflection signals and amplifiers for signals, transmitters for transmitting television and receivers for reception of television.

### Regulation and World War II

It was ready to go, but July until December 7 was a time of unrest in the United States because World War II was already underway on the European continent and in England. Many of our engineers were beginning to work at something very highly classified called "radar." So the emphasis on television had to be put secondary to the extreme demand for military equipment, and there was also just the practical situation that several months' time had to go into production of transmitter equipment and receivers to get it launched on a commercial basis. By the time Pearl Harbor hit, the authorization of commercial stations had not resulted in very much actual broadcasting by the end of 1941. When the war did come with U.S. involvement after Pearl Harbor, television was pretty much on the verge of having to go out of operation for thirty years.

Alan Dumont, however, fulfilled an obligation to his customers; they had already bought 1,000 or so television sets from Dumont Laboratories, so we couldn't afford to discontinue broadcasting. At Dumont Laboratories several daytime engineers would go to New York and run the television station two or three nights a week, and we shamed CBS and NBC into going back on the air. They came out with an announcement that said, "All right. We'll pick up the slack because we have an obligation to our customers, who bought receivers." So they came back finally and we used to share evenings. One would be on one evening and the other station on another. In 1941, there were some 7,000 television receivers total in existence in the United States. Almost seven broadcasting stations, doing a greater or lesser amount of broadcasting.

Polkinghorn:

Where were those outside of New York?

Goldsmith:

If I remember correctly there were three stations in New York: CBS, NBC, Dumont. CBS was on the Chrysler building, NBC was on top of the Empire State, and Dumont was on the top of 515 Madison Avenue, a forty-two story building. That's where our transmitter was located until many years later, when we joined several of the others on the Empire State Building. Those three stations in New York were supplemented by Philco WPTZ in Philadelphia, one in Schenectady, the Don Lee station in Los Angeles, and the one in Manhattan, Kansas. I am not sure whether it was Manhattan, Kansas at Kansas State University campus or at Purdue University in Indiana. No wait a minute. WPTZ was on the air in Philadelphia, but the one had not started in Schenectady yet. The other station was a Zenith Station in Chicago; there was one in Los Angeles, one in Chicago, three in New York and one at Purdue University and one in Manhattan, Kansas. I think those were the seven stations.

Polkinghorn:

At the beginning of the war.

Goldsmith:

At the beginning of World War II. I guess we'd count at least one thousand stations on the air in 1973, now. Most this year are able to broadcast in full color television. The color standards came along quite a few years later. Dumont said, "I would like to build a cathode ray tube with color," and he went in a different way than that which has been developed by the Radio Corporation of America. Ernest Lawrence used shadow masking to put some tight wires in the tube, and added a post acceleration deflection system. It would push the beams back and forth onto the color stripes, but he didn't have very good technical facilities at Berkeley or in his own sponsored laboratories to do this, so Alan Dumont undertook to do the laboratory work to perfect this method of color television in the strict tube form. That development of Ernest Lawrence was picked up by Dumont Laboratories and largely perfected as a laboratory achievement. Then it was taken by the Paramount Pictures Company and licensed to a number of companies, but very few companies in the United States have ever really produced this tube by that method in quantity.

Sony in Japan is now producing what they call a "Trinitron" in large quantities, and it is a very successful device. This came through the Dumont Laboratories on a research-and-development basis and then was licensed to the Japanese by Paramount Pictures. Coming back to the early history of Dumont, in 1950-1951 the company had reached a stage of quantitative reduction. They grossed something like $100 million in operating business, but after that date they began to decline again in gross business for a number of economic reasons. At that time they were in the broadcasting business, having started the experimental station in New York called WABD, Channel 5, named for Alan B. Dumont. A little later, at the end of World War II, we started a companion station, the other station of our then-existing two-station network. This was the Dumont-Corleone Network, and had another station in Washington D.C. It happens to be called WPTG, named after me. Those two stations, Channel 5 in New York and Channel 5 in Washington, became the two stations that were tied together by the telephone company on the coaxial cable in those early days. By having that station in Washington we were able to really have a clearinghouse with the FCC because the station was right across from the FCC offices and the post office department. We were in the old Harrington Hotel and later in the Raleigh Hotel in Washington. We got the engineers and the commissioners to come over and see what television was all about. An interesting anecdote about the FCC, the need for regulation and control, and for education on the part of the commissioners and the engineering staff is that Chief Engineering Commissioner George Sterling called up one day and talked to Willie Sayer, who was my engineer in charge of the station down there. Sterling said, "Willy, we have a licensing program where we license radio broadcast operators. They must know certain rules and regulations on how to control equipment so it stays on frequency and doesn't interfere with places it shouldn't. Do you think we should have a special license examination for people who are to operate television stations that is more stringent than the radio operator's license examination?" So Willie sits back, puffing away on his pipe: "No, I think the other license is adequate. I think it is sufficient, and television is not that much more complicated. There are two transmitters instead of one, but that's all right." Thereafter the FCC decided on the same license for television stations. The interesting irony of it is that Willie Sayer, the chief engineer of the station, had some regular licensed operators working under him, so we were legal. But Willie only had a ham license. And he advised George Sterling on what to do about a television broadcaster's license. Willie is now running the high-power Klystrons on the linear accelerator at Stanford University. Well, at the peak of the thing Dumont was in the manufacture of very elaborate radar systems for the military, doing oscillographs, receivers, highly specialized cathode ray tubes for direct view storage displays, camera tubes, photocells, and all kinds of things. And it was running a broadcast network: the Dumont network at one time in that era had 169 affiliated stations tied to it. So this network included three whole stations in Dumont: one in New York, one in Philadelphia, and one in Pittsburgh. The one in Pittsburgh was involved in the freeze, "the Great Television Freeze." That's not only a story of Dumont, but it involved Alan B. Dumont Laboratories very closely. Alan B. Dumont was very well respected by the committees, including the FCC commissioners and whatnot that studied the pros and cons of whether we should have this kind of code or that kind of code, what the standard should be for broadcasting. There was a time when Dumont had sold a television broadcast station to Detroit, Michigan. They were on the air up there and one of our engineers had been assigned to that station, and got that in good shape. There was another station in Cleveland, Ohio operating on the same frequency — I think it was Channel 4 at that time. The allocations of channels between cities had taken into account the great many factors of long-distance interference, but those two cities are only about eighty miles apart. Since the good share of center distance between those two was over Lake Erie, they said, "Oh! No interference. Eighty miles is okay." It may be a little more than that, I guess on a co-channel basis it is more like 100 to 110 miles. Anyway, they were considered okay to be operated on a co-channel basis. But we learned from our salesmen for receivers and from our field service people that there was a lot of co-channel interference in the area between the cities, in the fringes. So we made a recommendation to the FCC that the allocation should be changed. That set off the big freeze in television. Rather than shifting a few stations, which at that time would have been relatively inexpensive to shift from Channel 4 to Channel 3 or something like that, the commission put a great halt on further allocations of stations and studied more than how to reallocate the VH channels, the very high frequencies, channels 2 through 13. They also focused on what to do about ultra high frequency channels from Channel 14 through 83 and what we should do about color television. So it dragged on for three or four years before they finally opened the rules again to determine what should be done with color and what should be done about expanding. Dumont Laboratories had a fairly interesting windfall in view of this: we were precluded from selling a lot of transmitters we otherwise would have, but we had a license for operation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We got that ahead of the Freeze. Westinghouse, whose headquarters of KDKA Pittsburgh, was frozen out of it because they had joined CBS in saying they would not go with this obsolete variety of black-and-white television. They were going to join the color television efforts with CBS. They said they wouldn't even put any stations on the air until they could have it in color and have this resolved. So they gave up their then pending construction permit in Pittsburgh and were frozen out for several years. Dumont Laboratories operated WDTV in Pittsburgh for several years, being the only station in the city taking the prime program feeds from CBS, NBC, and our own originating programs such as the Bishop Fulton Sheen show and things of this sort out of New York. At one point I think the Pittsburgh station was clearing something like$3 million gross profit before taxes on that one station alone.

When the Freeze ended and there became an opportunity for NBC to get their own affiliate and CBS to get their own affiliate, we decided the best thing to do was sell that station point blank to the most logical customer in Pittsburgh, namely Westinghouse — KDKA. So they bought that station from us for almost $10 million, which is peanuts compared to today's prices for television with growing stations. But that way Westinghouse could continue the operations. Don McGannon, who had been the manager of the Dumont network in New York, is now in charge of Westinghouse operations. I think his headquarters are in Pittsburgh. Don McGannon would be a good person to refer to for a history of early Dumont stuff supplementing what we are putting on this tape. Other sources of information concerning Dumont Laboratories might be gleaned from a study of the very voluminous files of Alan Dumont himself, who died in 1965. He gathered them before his death and contributed then to the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. — thousands of files of history and corporate information concerning Dumont. In addition, at the Smithsonian Institute I personally collected a lot of the active apparatus from the early museum pieces, early television sets, early oscillographs, early cathode ray tubes, and various things of this sort. We took a whole van load of those things down to the Smithsonian. It's in the fifth floor archives, which is not an open public area but is available for researchers. It is under the control right now of Eliot Sivowitch. He is most interested: in fact, he put the Nipkow disk equipment back into operation and had an operating exhibit of the Nipkow disk not long ago at the Smithsonian. But places like that I think have a pretty good set of source material which one could study. ### Fall of Dumont and Rise of Metromedia Goldsmith: The rise and fall of the Dumont television myth is an interesting story in its own right. There was a man, whose name I could give to you later when I have reference to it. He did his Ph.D. thesis at Northwestern University on the subject of the Dumont Network and the reasons for its existence and why financially it wasn't able to continue. That Ph.D. thesis has a lot of the story there of the early Dumont network operation. Now, why did this happen to Dumont? Dumont Laboratories was started in 1931 and in 1960 merged with the Fairchild Instrument Corporation. Prior to 1960 there had been a separation of some of its businesses to other companies who had acquired portions of it. One major acquisition was a spin-off in 1955 when the Dumont television network operations became a part of what is now known as Metromedia. Metrodmedia, Inc. is the outgrowth of the early Dumont broadcasting operations. Metromedia, Inc., has its current operation headquartered in New York City, which is the outgrowth of the Alan B. Dumont Laboratories Broadcasting Division. During the existence of the broadcasting operation at Dumont Laboratories we had a peak of some 200 affiliated stations carrying programs originating from New York City. In 1955, it became most practical for Dumont Laboratories to spin off the broadcasting operations into a separate corporation, first called "Dumont Broadcasting Corporation" with the stock being issued on a prorated basis to holders of Alan B. Dumont Laboratories stock. Since then, that operation has changed its name from Dumont Broadcasting Corporation to Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation and presently to Metromedia, Inc. Metromedia went on to expand its activities to where at the present time, it is doing business in the order of$200 million gross a year. It consists of not only the two initial television stations in New York and Washington, Channel 5 in the city, but also a major station in Los Angeles and one in St. Paul-Minneapolis, and other radio stations including WNEW radio and New York City. When the WNEW radio acquisition was accomplished in New York City the call letters of the television station on Channel 5 were changed to WNEW- TV, to match the WNEW radio. Metromedia has gone on into the billboard advertising business, the Ice Capades, the operation of a number of other music ventures and things of this sort and is principally a United States-based operation with corporate headquarters in New York City but with even larger technical facilities operating in Los Angeles. This operation under the direction of John Klugel, who did meet Alan Dumont on occasion, has carried on the broadcasting in Los Angeles.

Goldsmith:

The cathode ray tube is the indicator on which radar signals can be displayed in a manner for precision measuring the distance in the transmitter out to the target and back to the receiver, which is right alongside the transmitter. We developed some of the early long-persistent cathode ray tubes that would allow Dr. Taylor and Dr. Page to do this early radar work for the Navy right at the Potomac River. Dumont Laboratories had developed at that time into the primary source of cathode ray tubes for the whole United States. In fact, we had markets all over the world, so when there was a need for more radar equipment the government people, largely the Navy, asked, "Will you do two things for us? Will you expand your production facilities so you can supply enough cathode ray tubes for radar and will you also teach other companies how to build them?"

I ran the research laboratories for a couple of years, stopped further research, and began to supervise the construction of the Navy production facilities for cathode ray tubes. Then we brought in other companies, such as Sylvania, National Union, RCA, and General Electric, and taught them our cathode ray manufacturing technology, in order that they might use their tube facilities converted for mass production. I was the chairman of the RMA committee on cathode ray tubes for war purposes. I also worked with people from Bell Labs who had a lot of equipment being used for this sort of thing, and at standardizing tubes and redesigning them to make them flyable in aircraft, for trace variations would crack the glass if you weren't careful. You set up the standards to be assured that an interchangeability existed between Sylvania tubes, General Electric tubes, RCA tubes, and Dumont tubes of a given type number so that they could be purchased from any of us who were still working the equipment. This led to a contract which was negotiated between Colonel Donald Lippincot representing the United States in patents and Alan B. Dumont Laboratories.

Polkinghorn:

I knew Don Lippincot.

Goldsmith:

### Dumont, Paramount and Business Difficulties

Goldsmith:

I don't want to make this report controversial. But I should mention that Paramount Pictures had come in the Dumont organization in 1937 as an investor in stock in Dumont. They invested $56,000 in Alan B. Dumont Laboratories. Prior to the investment, Dumont and I had decided that they had the know-how in the entertaining of the public with movies. We had the know-how and the technical operation of television stations. That should be a good combination. With a big backlog of motion picture films and the techniques and talent it would be a good venture. But we soon came to realize that Paramount's prime interest was to prevent the impact of television on the movie box office; instead of supporting television with the investment in Alan B. Dumont Laboratories, they wanted to see it didn't impinge on their box offices, so they opposed it. They opposed it not only by preventing us from going out for further major financing to expand the business and keep competitive with General Electric, Motorola, Zenith, RCA, and so on. But they went into competition with us by applying for television stations of their own, preventing Dumont from getting their gross of five stations, which at that time was a lot of VHF operation. We were limited to the three: New York, Washington, and Pittsburgh. Our other two had to sit in controversy with the Chicago and Los Angeles stations of Paramount, which could not expand. I don't want this report to be controversial about Dumont, but it was a factor in the history of the company. Paramount exerted negative control in a sense, having contributed$56,000 to buy stock and thus having the right to approve and disapprove further major financial expansions through Wall Street.

Polkinghorn:

This one in special arrangement?

Goldsmith:

They had the sole ownership of the class B stock, which elected the secretary and the treasurer. The class A stock was owned largely by Alan Dumont and other controlling leaders. Alan Dumont, in expanding, had to relinquish his sole control of the company and became a publicly owned corporation. There were two things that happened: the negative control rule by the FCC said that between Paramount and Dumont, the combination could not have more than five stations. Paramount went out and developed television interests of their own on closed-circuit television. They went out and operated these two stations of their own: they even took on work with Ernest Lawrence which was later partly done at our laboratories. Had they invested in the Dumont Laboratories to support it, their cash investment would have grown. They instead limited us in our freedom with the FCC and prevented us from borrowing \$100 million to keep competitive with the big manufacturers of television.

Dumont Laboratories developed and sold some of the first UHF stations in the world, but that was done with the Itel color tubes from California. We built them at the five kilowatt, ten kilowatt level. Willie Sayer, who I mentioned a short time ago, is out there working with the Itel people now on it, and on linear accelerators and other industrial ways of inditro, gluing the laminations of plywood together and so forth. Transmitter and studio equipment theories receded at Dumont Laboratories partly because of financial limitations and partly because of the saturation of the market. Presently RCA has a large part of that continuing market. So does General Electric and even more recently the Philips Company, particularly in studio equipment. Transmitters are RCA and the General Electric Company. If I go to the North American Philips Company today, here in Montvale, I walk into that place and probably 30% of the principal people up there ask, "Where did you work?" and I say, "Dumont." It was a training ground for these successful other companies, and the same with the broadcasting business. We trained a lot of the people who had gone on to broadcasting in other areas of the country. Broadcasting equipment was very active in one of your Bell Telephone Laboratories plants. It's the same with the Western Electric plants. Do you remember the one here in Clifton, where they used to make crystals? It was a big silk plant.

Polkinghorn:

I can barely remember that, yes.

### Influence of Dumont on Other Companies

Goldsmith:

Before World War II, it was a silk mill. It became a crystal manufacturing plant to the Bell Laboratories and the Western Electric Company. We bought it at the end of the war and moved our broadcast equipment, our camera manufactory, and a lot of military sonar equipment into that building. But that government equipment gradually declined because of the financial limitations. Oscillograph operations were at one time the crucial area of scientific testing equipment. One has to be funded, so that went down hill. Yet there is the Dumont facilities oscillograph available now on the market. This particular branch of Dumont Laboratories was taken over by Fairchild. Fairchild was the successful corporate man, and at the Dumont division I stayed with him another six years as director of research of the Dumont divisions in New Jersey. We worked back and forth on many projects. The oscillograph business was then bought from Fairchild by John Carter from Montclair, New Jersey. He had been vice president of the Corning Glass Works, and he later became president of the Fairchild Camera Management Corporation. So John Carter left the Fairchild Company and took with him the rights to the Dumont oscillograph and some of the skilled people from Dumont who knew the instrument well. He now operates out in Caldwell, New Jersey and I understand that he is doing very well making a line of cathode ray oscillographs following the Dumont oscillograph.

Polkinghorn:

I didn't know that.

Goldsmith:

Right out in the backyard. Let me see if there are some other phases of the Dumont Laboratories that have been spun off. If the tube division has been sold to someone else, there is really not much left in the Fairchild Camera Management Corporation of the old Dumont operations. It has all been dispersed in different directions. Speaking again of the oscillograph for a few minutes: out in Stanford University Bill Hewlett and David Packard started a company called Hewlett-Packard. They picked one of the chief engineers from the Bell Telephone Laboratories and made him their Director of Research. They have done a tremendous job and have way outrun the scope of activities in the oscillographs. In recent years they have surpassed what Dumont Laboratories did during World War II in that program. We built the scopes for the industry as a whole during World War II.