April 14, 1931: The first public television demonstration in France

April 14, 1931: The first public television demonstration in France

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Home ›Studies› April 14, 1931: The first public television demonstration in France

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Title: First public demonstration in France of television by engineer René Barthélemy at the Higher School of Electricity

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1931

Date shown: April 14, 1931

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Illustration

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

Historical context

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.

Image Analysis

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) .

  • innovation
  • radio
  • television
  • Barthélemy (René)
  • PTT transmitter
  • radio transmission
  • radiovision
  • engineer


AMOURY MichelRené Barthélemy or the Great Adventure of televisionGrenoble, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, coll. “Industrial History”, 1997.BOURDON Jérôme, CHAUVEAU Agnès, DENEL Francis, GERVEREAU Laurent and MEADEL Cécile (dir.) I> The Great Adventure of the small screen. French Television 1935-1975, Paris, Museum of Contemporary History-BDIC - INA, 1997.BROCHAND ChristianGeneral history of radio and television in France, volume I “1921-1944” Paris, La Documentation Française-Comité d'Histoire de la Radiodiffusion, 1994.CHAUVEAU Agnès and TETART PhilippeIntroduction to media historyParis, Armand Colin, 1999.JEANNENEY Jean-Noël (dir.)The Echo of the Century Dictionary of radio and television in FranceParis, Hachette-Arte-La Cinquième, 1999, second updated edition, coll. “Pluriel”, 2001 MARCILLAC Raymond (dir.)Television ChronicleBassillac, Editions Chronique, 1996 MOUSSEAU Jacques and BROCHAND ChristianThe Great Television AdventureParis, Nathan, 1987.

To cite this article

Philippe TETART, "April 14, 1931: The first public television demonstration in France"

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