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Pioneering in Electronics


Electronics, radio and television are products of scientific research—all within the past sixty years. That period represents the span from birth to maturity of industrial research, the value of which has been increasingly recognized throughout American industry as a vital force in the achievement of progress and higher standards of living. Research has become an economic and competi­tive necessity for all industries, especially those having products related to technology. It is natural, therefore, that in this book we read both the history of research in RCA and, by extrapo­lation, something of the history of industrial research itself.

It was through scientific research that wireless telegraphy was developed, leading through further research to the radiophone, radio broadcasting, television, radar and numerous other electronic services in communications since the turn of the century. Research and engineering stimulated the growth of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, predecessor of the Radio Corporation of America. When RCA was formed in 1919, its roots were deeply imbedded in the fertile soil of science. Since that time research has continually nurtured the Corporation‘s growth through the creation of new products and services.

The story of these advances, along with the trials and triumphs encountered on the pathways of progress, are interestingly told in this book. Indeed, the author is to be complimented on the excel­lent portrayal of RCA pioneering and research. These make up an (p. i) inspiring story in themselves, and provide as well an interesting chapter in the history of industrial research, in which RCA, since its inception, has been a leader.

The story clearly reveals the rapid changes and dynamic moves forward which took place in research with added impetus during World War II. Through extension of research and expansion of its laboratories, RCA as a pioneer charted the way for establishment of a new capital of industrial science at Princeton, N.J. More and more, RCA’s pattern for research is being emulated by the electronics industry.

There is an equally interesting and significant story which might be told about engineers in RCA and about their engineering developments. This, however, is not the subject of this book. It is well, though, to keep in focus that research is the starting point, that this is followed by engineering development and that both are needed for a useful and balanced result. The research scientist-engineer team is the significant characteristic of today’s technological environment.

For more than thirty years I have had the honor of serving under David Sarnoff, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Radio Corporation of America. As a staunch advocate of progress, he has always expressed faith in the principles of industrial research. He has unbounded faith in scientists and engineers—at times more faith in them than they have been willing to express for themselves. Through his encouragement and vital interest, RCA Laboratories grew to its present position as one (p. ii) of the world's foremost research centers. It was fitting, therefore, that RCA's laboratories at Princeton should be named the David Sarnoff Research Center.

Through research and subsequent engineering developments, electronics is expanding into nearly all phases of our lives. Research has become the lifeblood of industry, commerce and national defense. Electronics provides the eyes, ears and directing hands that enable modern weapons through speed, power and complexity to outstrip human capabilities. It has been RCA's role to provide new tools and new weapons of defense and offense in addition to new electronic devices and techniques aimed to give America preeminence in outer space.

This book is two-fold in purpose: it tells a dramatic story of progress achieved through electronics and industrial research; it presents the record of an organization which serves with distinction in the advance of world-wide communications as well as industrial and defense
electronics. This inspiring story covers the growth of electronics, and by relating the success of scientists and engineers it reveals what electronics research has accomplished and some of its promises and opportunities for the future.

Elmer W. Engstrom,
President Radio Corporation of America
August, 1964
Princeton, N.J. (p. iii)

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