Les Flory

Electronic Television Engineer, RCA Lab


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his 75-minute Archive interview, Les Flory (1907-2002) describes his time as a television engineer in the RCA laboratories in Camden and Princeton, New Jersey. Flory talks of joining the RCA team straight out of college, and discusses his work on early television pick up tubes. He recalls working for RCA pioneers Vladimir Zworykin and David Sarnoff, talks of RCA's competitors, including Philo T. Farnsworth and John Logie Baird, and outlines the major differences between the mechanical and electrical television systems. Flory recounts technological advancements made during World War II, discusses the differences between the RCA and CBS color television systems, and shares how applications designed for television broadcasting have been used in other fields (medicine, space exploration, etc.). B-roll consists of photos from the RCA laboratories and demonstrations of iconoscopes that Flory helped develop. Fred Olesi conducted the interview on April 18, 1997 in Princeton, New Jersey. 

"The Farnsworth [electronic television] system was you might say a real time system, while the system that we were using involves storage. The energy was stored from frame to frame so that it could operate with less light."

Highlights
Les Flory on meeting and working with Vladimir Zworykin at RCA
01:03
Les Flory on the development of the television pick up tube in the 1930s
02:09
Les Flory on the differences between the early mechanical and electronic television systems
02:22
Les Flory on his involvement with the development of color television and the controversy over the CBS and RCA systems
05:43
Les Flory on the student engineering course at RCA and his placement in the television research lab
02:11
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his early interest in radio and getting a job at RCA after college
On his early days at RCA and the difficulty of creating a camera tube; on meeting and working with Vladimir Zworykin; on the goals of the lab
On RCA competitors - Farnsworth, Baird, and DuMont; on the relationship between Vladimir Zworykin and David Sarnoff at RCA
On preparing for broadcast television and the 1939 World's Fair

Chapter 2

On the differences between the early mechanical and electronic television systems; on early transmissions from RCA
On patent disputes between RCA and Philo T. Farnsworth; on commercial television coming to a halt when World War II started; on technological advances made during the war
On his work after the war and his involvement with the development of color television; on the controversy over the CBS and RCA color systems
On his post-World War II projects at RCA; on what he's proudest of in his career
On his thoughts on some of the people with whom he's worked

Chapter 3

B-roll photos from his career: at the RCA labs in Camden and Princeton, New Jersey; of iconoscopes he helped create
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

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Les Flory on preparing for broadcast television and the 1939 World's Fair
03:28

Historic Events and Social Change

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Les Flory on preparing for broadcast television and the 1939 World's Fair
03:28
Les Flory on commercial television coming to a halt when World War II started and the development of new technologies during the war years
03:12

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Les Flory on the development of the television pick up tube in the 1930s
02:09
Les Flory on how much he was aware of the work of Philo T. Farnsworth, and differences between Farnsworth's system and RCA's
01:59
Les Flory on the differences between the early mechanical and electronic television systems
02:22
Les Flory on his involvement with the development of color television and the controversy over the CBS and RCA systems
05:43
Les Flory on a 1956 photo of a backpack television transmitter (made for the 1956 political conventions)
01:25
Les Flory on a photo of image orthicon tubes
03:18

War

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Les Flory on commercial television coming to a halt when World War II started and the development of new technologies during the war years
03:12

World War II

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Les Flory on commercial television coming to a halt when World War II started and the development of new technologies during the war years
03:12
Professions

Engineer

View Profession
Les Flory on the development of the television pick up tube in the 1930s
02:09
Les Flory on how much he was aware of the work of Philo T. Farnsworth, and differences between Farnsworth's system and RCA's
01:59
Les Flory on the differences between the early mechanical and electronic television systems
02:22
Les Flory on his involvement with the development of color television and the controversy over the CBS and RCA systems
05:43

Technology Innovators

View Profession
Les Flory on the development of the television pick up tube in the 1930s
02:09
Les Flory on how much he was aware of the work of Philo T. Farnsworth, and differences between Farnsworth's system and RCA's
01:59
Les Flory on the differences between the early mechanical and electronic television systems
02:22
Les Flory on his involvement with the development of color television and the controversy over the CBS and RCA systems
05:43
People

Philo T. Farnsworth

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Les Flory on RCA's competition in television development - Philo T. Farnsworth
01:01
Les Flory on how much he was aware of the work of Philo T. Farnsworth, and differences between Farnsworth's system and RCA's
01:59
Les Flory on patent disputes between RCA and Philo T. Farnsworth
00:53

Allen B. Du Mont

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Les Flory on his thoughts on some of the people with whom he's worked - Allen B. DuMont
00:19

David Sarnoff

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Les Flory on the relationship between Vladimir Zworykin and David Sarnoff at RCA
02:17
Les Flory on David Sarnoff's involvement with the RCA lab after World War II
00:29

Vladimir Zworykin

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Les Flory on meeting and working with Vladimir Zworykin at RCA
01:03
Les Flory on working with Vladimir Zworykin and colleagues at RCA
01:29
Les Flory on the relationship between Vladimir Zworykin and David Sarnoff at RCA
02:17
Les Flory on his thoughts on some of the people with whom he's worked - Vladimir Zworykin
00:55
Les Flory on a 1932 photo of him with Vladimir Zworykin and an experimental iconoscope
00:39
Les Flory on a 1933 photo of Vladimir Zworykin taken off a television receiver
00:51

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