Washington, D.C. C. Francis Jenkins, 1923 and 1925.
Hardcover. First edition. Tall octavo. Dark green cloth gilt. 139, pp. A trifle rubbed else a fine and bright copy. Inscribed by the author two years after publication: “Mr & Mrs John Tonkin In appreciation of their interest in the Author's work. C. Francis Jenkins, Sept 1st. 1927." Accompanied by two original images that were transmitted in 1923 by Jenkins using “Radiovision." One of the images was printed in his 1925 book, and the other image is very similar to another image that was printed in the book:
1. *[Portrait of Sybil Almand]*. Transmitted photograph, circa 1923. Black and white photograph of the head and shoulders of Sybil Almand. Measuring 2¾ x 4½". Fine. Verso stamped in purple ink: “This photograph was sent / and received by Radio. / Jenkins Laboratories / Washington, D.C.” Almand was on the staff of Jenkins Laboratories and hence was one of the first television researchers in the world, and likely the first woman involved in television research. The photograph is reproduced in Jenkin's 1925 book, *Vision By Radio*, on page . On page 17, it states: “This and succeeding pages are examples of photographs received by radio from a distance by the Jenkins system, some of them from Washington to Philadelphia, and represent the best work done in 1922, 1923, and 1924."
2. *[Japanese Text]*. Transmitted photograph, circa 1923. Measuring 3½" x 2¾". Closed tear in blank space to right of text, else near fine. Japanese characters roughly translate as: "On September 26, 1923, I visited to observe the radio transmission of a high-speed motion picture at lab of Mr. Jenkins. Kuroda." Verso stamped in blue ink: “This photograph was / sent and received by Radio / Time / Distance / Radio Pictures Corp. / Washington, D.C.” Manuscript inscription in black ink in C. Francis Jenkins’ hand: “First / Japanese Radio / message in / native characters / sig[nature]. Capt Kuoda." Similar Japanese text photograph is reproduced in Jenkin's 1925 book, *Vision By Radio*, on page 38: black and white photograph of a similar text in Japanese calligraphy, but our copy is NOT the text pictured on page 38.
Charles Francis Jenkins (1867-1934) is recognized as the earliest major American television pioneer, broadcasting the first public display of his Radiovision on June 23, 1925. By then Jenkins was already a well-known inventor whose Phantascope film projector paved the way for Thomas Edison (who purchased the device and released it as his Vitascope). Jenkins first began imaging a mechanical method of sending “images over radio” (aka television), as early as the 1890s, according to Albert Abramson’s *History of Television, 1880 To 1941*. Three years after his first public display of wireless transmission of synchronized sound and images, Jenkins formed the first television station in the United States in Wheaton, Maryland on July 2, 1928 with the first broadcast of a moving image, a windmill. While his mechanical method was eventually eclipsed by an electronic form of television, he is still considered a television pioneer with The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Award named in his honor.
The photos here were created by Jenkins during the testing phase of his Radiovision during the three-year period leading up to the first public display of the technology in 1925, with a number of them reproduced in *Vision By Radio. Radio Photographs. Radio Photograms*. Using the prismatic ring approach to mechanical television, which he invented, it was reported that Jenkins transmitted the image of a woman by radio on June 14, 1923. Abramson says, “Whether ‘live’ or a photograph, this was the first transmission of television by radio ever reported” (p. 60).
Test images such as these are seldom seen. There is one original held at the Library of Congress in the copyright collection, and seven others held in a private television museum. Rare and tangible artifacts of the birth of television.