• "Marshall Hine's Family," 1962. Courtesy Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, via The Portal to Texas History. 

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    "Marshall Hine's Family," 1962.
    • Date
    • 1962-10-04
    • Description
    • Marshall Hine's wife and children siting together watching television.. 1 photographic negative, b&w; 4x5 in.
    • Rights
    • The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms o... more
      The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms of use, see http://texashistory.unt.edu/terms-of-use/ less
    • Partner
    • The Portal to Texas History
      Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth.

  • "Davison's television set promotion," 1951. Courtesy Georgia State University Libraries, Special Collections, via Digital Library of Georgia. 

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    "Davison's television set promotion," 1951.
    • Date
    • 1951-08-03
    • Creator
    • Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers (Atlanta, Ga.)
    • Description
    • Local identification number: LBCB047-112a. Envelope description: Fairchild's Publishing [Company]. Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976
    • Rights
    • The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State University Library.... more
      The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State University Library.
      LBCB047-112a, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976. Photographic Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. less
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    • Digital Library of Georgia
      Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections
    • Contributing Institution
    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

  • "Mr. and Mrs. Middleton and family watch Television," 1954. Courtesy Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth via The Portal to Texas History. 

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    "Mr. and Mrs. Middleton and family watch Television," 1954.
    • Date
    • 1954-01-28
    • Description
    • Photograph of Mr. S.J. Middleton, Mrs. Middleton and their two daughters sit in the living room and watch television in January 1953. The room has a window with a curtain over it; carpeting; a sofa; a coffee table with ashtrays, a table lighter, some... more
      Photograph of Mr. S.J. Middleton, Mrs. Middleton and their two daughters sit in the living room and watch television in January 1953. The room has a window with a curtain over it; carpeting; a sofa; a coffee table with ashtrays, a table lighter, some books and some Life magazines on it; a magazine rack; a wall heater; and a television with a ceramic cougar on top of it.. 1 photographic negative: b&w; 4 x 5 in. less
    • Rights
    • The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms o... more
      The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms of use, see http://texashistory.unt.edu/terms-of-use/ less
    • Partner
    • The Portal to Texas History
      Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth.

TV: A member of the family 

The 1950s signaled a change in the Golden Age of radio, with the development and quick popularity of the home television set. The television had been in development since the late 1920s, throughout the rise and dominance of radio. RCA, one of the biggest companies behind the popularization of the radio, poured millions of dollars into developing the television. By 1939, RCA was televising the New York World’s Fair, speeches by President Roosevelt (FDR becoming the first president to appear on a television screen), and baseball games. Still, the technology was primitive. Segments were only about 15 minutes long and used just a single camera to film.

World War II, with its freeze on commercial television and general technology shortages, delayed the rise of the medium. Before 1947, only a few thousand American homes owned television sets. Just five years later, that number jumped to 12 million. By 1955, half of American homes had a TV set. 

A study conducted by CBS and Rutgers University during that time, which interviewed families with television sets, found that Americans enjoyed the new experiences television brought them. Families said they felt unified around their new TVs, that it helped parents and children socialize and connect in new ways and helped the family spend more time together. Some described their new TV sets as members of the family. Almost as quickly, the question was raised whether the time that families—particularly children—spent in front of the TV was really such a good thing.