Credit Mexican engineering and entrepreneurship for developments that led to the color television.
Why it matters: The contributions helped modernize how we could see the world; improving the world communications in a significant way.
Details: In 1940, a 23-year-old Guillermo González Camarena patented a chromoscopic adapter with which black and white cameras of the day could capture color.
- It was the first patent in the world for color TV. NASA used the mechanism as recently as 1979 to transmit images from Jupiter.
- González Camarena built by hand all the equipment used for Mexico’s and Latin America’s first television station, XE1-GC.
- He also championed tele-education for medical school, as well as the use of TVs for transmitting educational shows to Mexicans in remote, school-less locations.
- A similar program was used last year when millions of Mexican students switched to remote learning. While very few households have tech devices or internet connections, over 93% have a TV.
González Camarena invented the “Chromoscopy Adapter for Television Equipment”, an early color television transmission system. He was only 17. A U.S. patent application (2,296,019) states, “My invention relates to the transmission and reception of colored pictures or images by wire or wireless…” The invention was designed to be easy to adapt to black-and-white television equipment. González Camarena applied for this patent August 14, 1940, and obtained the patent September 15, 1942. He also filed for additional patents for color television systems in 1960 and 1962. He sold his first set in 1954 for about $1,450.
On August 31, 1946, González Camarena sent his first color transmission from his lab in the offices of The Mexican League of Radio Experiments, at Lucerna St. #1, in Mexico City. The video signal was transmitted at a frequency of 115 MHz. and the audio in the 40-meter band.
He obtained authorization to make the first publicly announced color broadcast in Mexico, on February 8, 1963, Paraíso Infantil, on Mexico City’s XHGC-TV, a station that he established in 1952. By that time, the government had adopted NTSC as the television color system.