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Radio Corporation of America (RCA)
January 1953 Popular Mechanics

January 1953 Popular Mechanics
January 1953 Popular Mechanics - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early mechanics and electronics. See articles from Popular Mechanics, published continuously since 1902. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

The Radio Corporation of America, more widely known as RCA, contributed as mightily to the science of wired and wireless communications as International Business Machines (IBM) did to analog and digital computing. Inventions created by RCA for specific applications were often repurposed (a word not even in existence - or at least common parlance - in 1953 when this appeared in Popular Mechanics magazine) for other uses. Such was the case for the multiplier phototube - which is nowadays referred to as a photomultiplier tube (PMT). RCA engineers used a PMT designed to be sensitive enough to detect starlight through a telescope, in a circuit that detects the headlights of oncoming cars and switches the host car's headlights off of high beam (if that's where they were set). Many - maybe most - of the Popular Electronics, Mechanix Illustrated, and Popular Science magazines I have from that era feature similar full-page ads by RCA and Bell Telephone Laboratories. They also showed up in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Time, and many women's magazines. Reminding the public of the services provided engendered good will toward the companies.

Radio Corporation of America Advertisement

Radio Corporation of America, January 1953 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeUsing an electron tube developed by RCA, automotive engineers have perfected an instrument which automatically controls automobile headlights.

Out of the stars - a cure for headlight glare!

When RCA scientists developed an electron tube so sensitive" that it could respond to flickering starlight, astronomers promptly put it to work in their studies of the Universe.

Called a multiplier phototube, RCA's invention now "takes to the road" in an instrument which will add to your safety in night driving. The multiplier phototube is now being used in an automatic control for automobile headlights.

Here's how it works. RCA's tube, in a new system, sits behind your windshield to "see" approaching headlights. A car comes, and instantly the multiplier phototube activates a system which shifts your headlights to low beam - then returns them to high when the other car has passed. It's simple. It's completely automatic. And what's most important, it lets you keep your undivided attention where it belongs ... on driving your car.

Development of the multiplier phototube is another example of how RCA research benefits you. RCA research assures you finer performance from any product or service of RCA and RCA Victor.

See the latest in radio, television and electronics at RCA Exhibition Hall, 36 West 49th Street, N. Y. Admission is free. Radio Corporation of America, RCA Building, Radio City, New York 20, N. Y.

Radio Corporation of America

World leader in radio - first in television



Posted December 26, 2023

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