Press, radio, television - The beginning of the information society

Exhibition view
Press, radio, television

Newspapers, radios and television sets are conspicuous examples of the history of mass media. They evolved thanks to previous development of the telegraph, the electron tube and the cathode ray tube, respectively. Most recently, the microprocessor and the memory chip became the hardware basis of information technology.
The telegraph and rotary printing are to be found at the beginning of modern newspaper production. By overcoming distance, telegraphy turned messages into commodities that could satisfy the hunger for news of a readership that was growing all the time. Newspapers became mass media in this way at the end of the 19th century.

Tubes and wireless telephony

We encounter the electron tube in the exhibition as the technical basis of both long-distance telephony and computers that were built in the 1940s and 1950s. However, amplifying electron tubes - the first patents were filed in 1906 - had their strongest impact on society when they were used in radio and broadcasting equipment. On the basis of "wireless telephony", Hans Bredow formulated his idea of establishing a new medium, broadcasting, in Germany, in 1919.

Instead of two people communicating with each other at each end of an electric wire, there would be a person speaking to a public of millions without any distance restrictions.

Short and long waves 

Progress in electron tube and amplifier technology led to the radio being mass-produced and becoming a household device in the 1920s. Mastery of ever higher frequencies - from long wave through medium wave and short wave to VHF and UHF - expanded the scope of broadcasting, and was finally one of the prerequisites for the transmission of television pictures.

It is almost the end of the road for analogue radio and television technology. The new digital media are increasingly merging with digital computer technology to create a new multimedia mass medium, broadcast via the internet and made available on a wide range of terminal devices. These include the PC and mobile devices from the laptop to the smartphone, in addition to conventional radio and TV sets.