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100 Years of RCA

100 Years of RCA



On November 20, 1919, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America officially became the Radio Corporation of America, and on November 17, 2019, we’ll celebrate RCA’s 100-year birthday with a series of events and activities that celebrate the company and the culture of innovation it engendered, and (of course) birthday cake!

Do you have an RCA collection that you’d like to show off during this event? The Sarnoff will have a limited number of tables for people to show off their collections to other RCA fans. Contact the Sarnoff Collection curator at for more information.

Schedule of Events

11:15: Paper circuit birthday card: Make a birthday card for someone you love (or for yourself—no judgment!). Join us for a demonstration of how paper circuits work, and make a light-up greeting card with copper tape and an LED.

12:00: Crystal set construction: Join longtime Sarnoff Collection volunteer Jonathan Allen as he builds a crystal set radio, a simple radio receiver that was popular in the early days of radio, and learn how, using only the power of the received radio signal, a crystal set can produce sound. Be sure to visit our c.1900 crystal set in the museum!

1:00: The TVs of Tomorrow: In the 1950s, RCA was hard at work on developing a television so thin that it could hang on the wall like a picture. Join historian Benjamin Gross as he explains how a group of RCA scientists and engineers developed the first liquid crystal display. Gross’ talk is based on research conducted in the former David Sarnoff Library for his 2018 book, The TVs of Tomorrow: How RCA’s Flat-Screen Dreams Led to the First LCDs. This talk is co-sponsored by the IEEE Life Affinity Group.

2:00: Book signing and birthday cake

All Day events:

  • From World-Wide-Wireless to Chipper: RCA Memorabilia from the Sarnoff Collection: View our collection of RCA-themed memorabilia in our pop-up exhibit, and learn about RCA logos through the years.
  • RCA Photobooth: Take some photos in our photobooth with an RCA backdrop and some RCA-themed props.
  • Color Our Collections: Since 2017, museums and libraries around the world have been sharing coloring sheets based on materials in their collections. We’ve converted a few Sarnoff Collection highlights into coloring sheets so you can make them your own.
  • Studio II: Challenge your friends to a high stakes game of bowling on our RCA Studio II. Experience for yourself what several people have called the worst video game console of all time!
  • Innovations That Changed the World: View our long-term exhibition that traces the history of telecommunications from the invention of radio to the dawn of the information age.
  • In the Groove: A Century of Sound: View our temporary exhibit that traces the history of recorded sound from Edison’s first phonograph in 1876 to the country’s first computer music festival in 1977.

Sunday, November 17
The Sarnoff Collection
The College of New Jersey
2000 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08618