TV Viewer

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


From 1950 to present, television has made a huge impact in American homes.  Television influenced the way people thought about social issues.  It brought major events into homes.  It entertained and educated.  Advertisers used television to convince Americans that their lives would be better if they bought certain products. 

A television uses sound, light, and electricity.  John Baird is the Scottish inventor who has been credited as the inventor of the first practical television.  On January 26, 1926, he demonstrated the first working television by transmitting images to a viewing screen.  But there were many inventors and inventions that made the television possible.

Wireless Telegraph 1895 – Guglielmo Marconi invented a way to transmit sound for a distance of more than a mile.

TV Picture Tube 1889 – Vladimir Zworykin was a Russian-American inventor known for the iconoscope (a forerunner of the TV camera).

Video Camera Tube – 1927 – Philo Farnsworth – Demonstrates his invention of a working television.

In 1947 there were 44,000 black and white televisions in the USA.  By 1960, 3/4 of American families owned a TV.  In 1970, color TVs outsold black and white TVs.

When television first became popular, there were 3 stations that came into your house through an antenna on the roof.   Early televisions were big and bulky with small viewing screens.  There was an antenna attached to the TV.  Dads were constantly moving the antenna to get a better picture.  Also, when your dad snapped his fingers and pointed to the TV, you had to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel or adjust the volume.   

Some areas, especially mountainous and remote areas, got weak over-air signal and poor TV reception.  In 1948, John Walson, came up with the idea of cable television to carry the TV signal through a cable wire.  But the cable TV industry wasn’t fully approved until 1979.  Cable brought many TV channels and viewing choices into American homes.


This TV Viewer project works best if page one is printed on heavier paper and pages 2 and 3 are printed on regular 20lb paper.  Students can use the blank page (page 3) to create a documentary about a historical event that happened in the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).  Below are some suggestions of historical events from this time period.

Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon, The Korean War, Disneyland Opens, Laika the Russian Dog Goes into Space, Segregation Ruled Illegal in the U.S., Brown v. Board of Education, The Freedom Riders Protest, Jim Crow Laws in the South, First Man on the Moon, Martin Luther King Jr. Gives “I Have a Dream” Speech, Vietnam War, Woodstock Music Festival, First Super Bowl, The Apollo 13 Mission, First Test-Tube Baby is Born, Terracotta Army Discovered in China, Tangshan Earthquake – Biggest Natural Disaster, Skylab Orbits the Earth, Berlin Wall Falls, Chernobyl Disaster, First Sheep Cloned, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Mt. St. Helen’s Erupts, Persian Gulf War, People Fear Y2K Bug, World Trade Center Terrorist Attack