Antedating of TV

Mon Nov 4 12:29:34 UTC 2013

A minor correction:  That should be WCBS-TV.  I don't know where WOR-TV came from, but it was some kind of unexplained mental error - a glitch, as it were.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Baker, John
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2013 7:11 AM
Subject: Antedating of TV

Thanks to Ben for telling us about, which appears to be a valuable resource, although somewhat undercut by the problems with its search function.  Search does work for individual titles.

I looked for "TV" in Broadcasting magazine.  IIRC, we previously found the term back only to 1946, and then only in the call letters of WOR-TV, which arguably is not a full-fledged use.  The earliest use seems to be on page 61 of the Feb. 2, 1945, issue,, when a display advertisement includes "AM," "FM," and "TV" in large letters.  There are many more uses over the course of the year.

In light of the claim that Madman Muntz invented the term to sell television sets, I was particularly interested in the abbreviated form in that context.  A short piece entitled "TV Boosters" on page 80 of the July 2, 1945, issue,, says that a newly formed television club "made plans to get TV sets for wounded veterans."  Since Muntz did not start selling TV sets until 1947, this disproves his claim.

I have little doubt that these findings can be further antedated.

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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