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Title: First public demonstration in France of television by engineer René Barthélemy at the Higher School of Electricity
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Creation date : 1931
Date shown: April 14, 1931
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Contact copyright: © The illustration - rights reserved
First public demonstration in France of television by engineer René Barthélemy at the Higher School of Electricity
© The illustration - rights reserved
Publication date: January 2004
Television makes its ranges
During the 1920s, at the same time as research carried out in the United States, the USSR, England and Germany, several French companies worked on the development of television processes; in particular the Compagnie des compteurs de Montrouge (CdC). In April 1931, he made the first public demonstration in France of 30-line radiovision, transmitted by transmitter (others were carried out, but by wire). While the first regular broadcasts were broadcast by Radio-PTT from December 1931, René Barthélemy continued his experiments, and the idea of organizing a television station gained ground. In 1935, it led to the first daily programs broadcast in 180 lines.
The machine and the image
Just like those who, on March 28, watched the demonstration of the Baird process at the Olympia cinema in Paris, the eight hundred guests who, on April 14, 1931, attended the public demonstration of the Barthélemy process (in the amphitheater of the Ecole Electricity Superior of Malakoff) are privileged. In front of them, René Barthélemy (on the right with a helmet) reflects the image of a 30 x 40 cm frosted glass receiver (on the left in an oblique position) towards wall mirrors. The spectators discover the thoughtful image of Suzanne Bridoux, René Barthélémy's collaborator. She acts as a presenter. Nevertheless, and as shown by the disparity of the looks of an audience, the guests are as interested in the engineer and his enigmatic manipulations, in his devices and his antennas, as in the image (which faces them) the first announcer in the history of French television, who we see talking, smoking, then announcing the broadcast of a silent film, The Spaniard with the Scarecrow.
The hidden side of the mirror
The reproduction of moving images at a distance and in real time is a formidable technological revolution which exerts a perceptible fascination in the rather astonished gazes of the spectators. But the magic of the abolished distance is also allowed by a heavy device of which this document only shows the emerged part. Indeed, while Baird based his experience of March 1931 on a method of direct transmission by wire in a single building, the telecine images broadcast by René Barthélemy in Malakoff come from a 50 watt radio transmitter located in Montrouge, two kilometers away. In the study laboratory of the CdC engineer in Montrouge, Marius Lamblot, his collaborator, takes care of the emission and shooting settings. For her part and on the basis of the lessons learned from numerous tests, her collaborator Suzanne Bridoux applies make-up so that the image diffused is as clear as possible (white for the face, blue for the eyelids, black for the eyes and the mouth) .
- Barthélemy (René)
- PTT transmitter
- radio transmission
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To cite this article
Philippe TETART, "April 14, 1931: The first public television demonstration in France"