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Dead medium: Telelogoscopy; Television Screen News
From: paulwl@gannett.infi.net (Paul Lindemeyer)
Source(s): H.J. Barton Chapple, "How 'Screen News' Is Televised," *Radio Review and Television News,* Jan.-Feb. 1933 (pages 292-293); Benn Hall, "Television: Talkies of the Air," *The Billboard,* February 25, 1933 (page 15).

Hello Bruce: May I submit for your approval the story of my own favorite dead medium, Television Screen News. I've been digging into lost TV history for a while now, hoping to get a book or documentary out of it, and this device is one of the most interesting I've come across. Pictures on request. -- PL

Television Screen News, or Telelogoscopy == the ancestor of today's video character generators == was another of the many mechanical television innovations of John Logie Baird. Patented in 1927, the device used a disc scanner to televise a moving band of black letters, perhaps four at a time, on a white background. At first individual 2-1/4" x 3" letter tiles were slotted into a roll of varnished linen, but by 1929, a more practical typewriter and rolls of paper tape replaced this arrangement.

Television Screen News served a need in the days when experimental television could not transmit audio and video at once, and visual definition was too low to allow intricate title cards to be used. It was used to identify stations, performers, and songs as well as its most obvious application, news bulletins. "Stand by for Television Screen News," spoken by an announcer interposed on the video frequency, was frequently heard during the Baird 30-line programs given through the BBC London transmitter from 1929-35. W2XAB of the Columbia Broadcasting System used a similar device for station identification in 1932-33.

The visual aspect of Television Screen News was said to be similar to the "zipper" or "motogram" revolving belt used to flash messages across the sides of buildings. It was a reliable test of picture quality for the home enthusiast and was thought in the early 1930s to have great possibilities for educating the deaf and other special applications. However, along with mechanical television, Television Screen News became obsolete before it could see widespread use.

Paul Lindemeyer (paulwl@gannett.infi.net)