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The Invention of the TV Remote Control

Posted on November 14, 2016 by admin There have been 0 comments

The TV Remote Control - Invention

In 1898, Nikola Tesla demonstrated the first ever wireless remote control in history. It was not the first TV remote control but his invention was to control a torpedo boat. Tesla's invention was so revolutionary that time that a lot of people thought he was using his mind to control the boat. However, his remote control was focused on military applications and not the kind an ordinary individual would use. 

Scientists once claimed that the flush toilet could be the most civilized invention of all time, and the TV remote control followed closely. 

Let's look into the brief history of the TV remote control and how it evolved from being a crude gadget to one of the most important inventions of all time. 

Lazy Bone And Other Early TV Remote Controls

In the 1930s through the 1940s, remote controls for garage doors, model airplanes, and a few more consumer electronics marked the good beginning of remote controls. There were radios then using a remote control called Mystery Control by Philadelphia Storage Battery Company but this had no big impact. 

The entry of the remote control into the scene changed the lifestyle of people. From plodding to their TVs and turning dials and pressing buttons, a revolutionary remote control called Lazy Bones made life easier for everyone. It served as an extension for all to easily switch TV channels. However, the Lazy Bone had a long cable that links it to the TV set. And many were not happy about that. 


Come the mid-1950s, Eugene Polley who worked for Zenith came up with the Flashmatic remote control for TV. This one made use of directional lights to control the TV but the sensors of the TV, of course, responded to different light sources such as ceiling lights and sunlight. 

Space Command Control

In 1956, Robert Adler created the Space Command TV remote control. It had no long cables, no flashing lights. This one made use of ultrasonic sound detected by the receiver inside the television set. The Space Command allowed you to change channels and turn on or off the TV, but it did not have a volume control function. 

With an advanced remote control, the price of TV sets soared. The wireless TV remote control became known as "clickers" and it could have been the big factor why people started buying TVs in mass quantities. 

Infrared Light Remote Controls

The evolution of the TV remote control continued and in the 1980s, they started using infrared lights. This kind of TV remote control is still very popular today. 

Future of Remote Controls

Remote controls invaded our lives and there was even a point in time when one could have complained about having to use a ton of remote controls for their different home appliances. Experts coined the term "remote control overload" to define the issue. 

Today, our homes continue to evolve with the fast technological developments. Eventually, our smartphones and tablets will soon be our ultimate remote controls to control every aspect of our smart homes. And who knows, a few years from now, there will be a new technology, a new remote control to rule them all. And yes, it could be more civilized than the toilet flush.

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