According to the Grolier Encyclopedia, the electronic television was successfully displayed for the first time on Sept. 7, 1927 in San Francisco. This predecessor of the modern television was invented by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a 21-year-old Utah native.
The first public demonstration of Farnsworth was in 1934, and his studio started broadcasting in 1936. These broadcasts were limited to 50 homes with receivers in the Philadelphia area, but they formed the foundation of broadcast systems. There were issues with RCA trying to break the patents that Farnsworth had on the system, but it lost and eventually began to pay royalties to use the system in 1939.
The company televised a speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939, making Roosevelt the first President of the United States to appear on television.
Television remained quite experimental during the following years, and in 1946, there were only 6,000 television sets in use, according to the Grolier Encyclopedia. Television grew by leaps and bounds after World War II, and commercial television as it is known today began in the late 1940s.