55 Facts About RCA


RCA Corporation was a major American electronics company, which was founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919.

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In 1932, RCA became an independent company after the partners were required to divest their ownership as part of the settlement of a government antitrust suit.

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An innovative and progressive company, RCA was the dominant electronics and communications firm in the United States for over five decades.

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RCA was at the forefront of the mushrooming radio industry in the early 1920s, as a major manufacturer of radio receivers, and the exclusive manufacturer of the first superheterodyne sets.

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RCA created the first nationwide American radio network, the National Broadcasting Company.

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RCA was a pioneer in the introduction and development of television, both black and white and especially color television.

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RCA became general manager at the company's founding, served as president from 1930 to 1965, and remained active as chairman of the board until the end of 1969.

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RCA suffered enormous financial losses in the mainframe computer industry and other failed projects such as the CED videodisc.

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RCA originated as a reorganization of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America.

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David Sarnoff, who was RCA's founding general manager, became its third president on the same day.

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RCA worked closely with the federal government and felt it deserved to maintain its predominant role in US radio communications.

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At the time RCA was founded in 1919 all radio and telegraphic communications between China and the US, including official communications, were run through either German radio or British cables.

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The US Navy wanted RCA to seek a concession in China, however the company was reluctant to do so because their other concessions were already operating at a loss.

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Alexanderson alternators, control of which had led to RCA's formation, were now considered obsolete, and international communication would be primarily conducted using vacuum tube transmitters operating on shortwave bands.

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RCA was authorized to set up a temporary longwave radio station, located in Hoboken a short distance from the match site, and operating under the call letters WJY.

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RCA created the first radio network, centered on its New York City station WEAF, using its long-distance telephone lines to interconnect stations.

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RCA acted as the sales agent for a small line of Westinghouse and GE branded receivers and parts used by home constructors, originally for a limited market of amateur radio enthusiasts.

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RCA was the exclusive manufacturer of superheterodyne radio sets until 1930.

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Until late 1927, all RCA receivers ran on batteries, but at that point plug-in AC sets were introduced, which provided another boost in sales.

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RCA inherited American Marconi's status as a major producer of vacuum tubes, which were branded Radiotron in the United States.

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RCA was responsible for creating a series of innovative products, ranging from octal base metal tubes co-developed with General Electric before World War II, to miniaturized Nuvistor tubes used in the tuners of the New Vista series of television receivers.

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In January 1929, RCA purchased the Victor Company; this acquisition became known as the RCA Victor division of the Radio Corporation of America, and included ownership of Victor's Japanese subsidiary, the Victor Company of Japan, formed in 1927 and controlling interest in The Gramophone Company Ltd.

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RCA Victor popularized combined radio receiver-phonographs, and created RCA Photophone, a movie sound-on-film system that competed with William Fox's sound-on-film Movietone and Warner Bros.

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The management of RCA was interested essentially in Victor's superior sales capabilities through the record company's well-organized network of authorized distributors and dealers and extensive, efficient manufacturing facilities in Camden, New Jersey.

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Immediately following the purchase of Victor, RCA began planning the manufacture of radio sets and components on Victor's Camden assembly lines, while decreasing the production of Victrolas and records.

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RCA Victor began selling the first all-electric Victrola in 1930 and in 1931 the company attempted to revitalize record sales with the introduction of 33.

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Around 1935, RCA began marketing the modernistic RCA Victor M Special, a polished aluminum portable record player designed by John Vassos that has become an icon of 1930s American industrial design.

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RCA made investments in the movie industry, but they performed poorly.

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RCA sold its holdings to raise funds for its basic operations.

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RCA began television development in early 1929, after an overly optimistic Vladimir K Zworykin convinced Sarnoff that a commercial version of his prototype system could be produced in a relatively short time for $100,000.

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RCA began regular experimental television broadcasting from the NBC studios to the New York metropolitan area on April 30,1939, via station W2XBS, channel 1 from the new Empire State Building transmitter on top of the structure.

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Around this time, RCA began selling its first television set models, including the TRK-5 and TRK-9, in various New York stores.

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Concerned that RCA's broadcasts were an attempt to flood the market with sets that would force it to adopt RCA's current technology, the FCC stepped in to limit its broadcasts.

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The entry of the United States into World War II a few months later greatly slowed its deployment, but RCA resumed selling television receivers almost immediately after the war ended in 1945.

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RCA plants switched to war production shortly after the US entered the war in December, 1941.

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RCA began work on a secret project for the US Navy called Madame X in September, 1942.

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The Bloomington, Indiana, plant was one of the first of five RCA plants to produce Madame X Madame X was a VT fuse, which is a proximity fuse used to electronically detonate a projectile's payload when it was in range of its target, as opposed to relying on a direct hit.

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RCA units won five Army–Navy "E" Awards for Excellence in production.

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In 1955, RCA sold its Estate brand of large appliance operations to Whirlpool Corporation.

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RCA Graphic Systems Division was an early supplier of electronics designed for the printing and publishing industries.

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RCA later sold the Videocomp rights to Information International Inc.

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RCA Victor became a major proponent of the 8-track tape cartridge, which it launched in 1965.

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RCA Communication Systems is a brand of radio communications equipment, including two-way radios.

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RCA was one of a number of companies in the 1960s that entered the mainframe computer field in order to challenge the market leader International Business Machines.

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RCA's TSOS operating system was the first mainframe, demand paging, virtual memory operating system on the market.

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Robert Sarnoff's tenure as RCA president was unsuccessful, marked by falling profits, in addition to being disliked personally by many company executives.

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RCA was ousted in a 1975 "boardroom coup" led by Anthony Conrad, who became the new company president.

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RCA maintained its high standards of engineering excellence in broadcast engineering and satellite communications equipment, but ventures such as the NBC radio and television networks declined.

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RCA Records reinstated Nipper to most record labels in countries where RCA held the rights to the trademark.

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RCA was still profitable in 1983, when it switched manufacturing of its VHS VCRs from Panasonic to Hitachi.

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RCA abandoned the manufacture of CED players in 1984 and discs in 1986, after a loss of around 650 million dollars.

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On October 3,1985, RCA announced it was closing the Broadcast Systems Division.

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That same year, the iconic RCA Building, known as "30 Rock" at Rockefeller Center was renamed the GE Building.

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Historic RCA Victor Building 17, the "Nipper Building", in Camden, New Jersey, was converted to luxury apartments in 2003.

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RCA trademarks displayed on the back of Dimensia TV, the 1980s.

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