The Remote Control

June 29th Celebrates The Remote Control

Do you remember the old days where you had to get up from the couch and turn on the television set?

Well if you haven’t figured it out yet?

“This blast from the past intro,” is about on June 29th 1964, the remote control to the television was invented.

Serious electronics connoisseurs like myself, have a dozen remotes scattered all over the house. There’s one that goes to VCR, the DVD player, the stereo, and one I can’t seem to remember where it goes too?

The practical television remote controller first entered the American home, as far back as 1893; a remote control for television was described by Nikola Tesla in U.S. Patent number 613809, but wasn’t on the market yet for consumers to buy.

However the Germans used remote control motorboats during WWI. In the late 1940’s the first non-military uses for remote controls appeared for example, automatic garage door openers.

The Zenith Radio Corporation created the very first television remote control in 1950 called “Lazy Bone.” The Lazy Bone could turn a television on and off, and change channels, hence the name for not leaving the couch.

The Lazy Bone remote control was attached to the television by a bulky cable. It turned out that consumers did not like the cable because it was accident waiting to happen because of so many people tripping over the cable.

There were other remote controls came out from different television companies but none of them seemed user friendly to the consumer.

Today’s YouTube video clip shared by user name shaggy locks, show you a television commercial from 1961 introducing the television remote to the consumer.

So, if you can imagine the great fanfare during that time, in all its black and white glory, the video exhibits the grandeur of this bulky looking remote control meant to make life so much easier!

Where did the term couch potato come from?

When I explored the history of vegetable metaphors, it leads me to the story about a man named Tom Iacino, the man credited with coining the phrase couch potato.

The phrase came up originally to phone call he made to his friend in the early 1970’s.

When his girlfriend’s friend answered the telephone, he asked, “Hey is the couch potato there?”

And the rest is history, as this vegetable metaphor reminded people of the fact, what one looks like stationed in front of the television set for many hours.

In lieu of todays story, when you surf the channel’s today without getting up from your sitting. If you’re a baby boomer like me you’ll remember the days where you had to get up and change the channels. Among other things like moving the rabbit ear antennas around to get a clear picture.

As we remember the good ole days, we celebrate this wondrous invention called the remote control.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


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