RCA Harrison records1924-1987
RCA’s plant in Harrison, New Jersey was (originally founded in 1882) was acquired by RCA in 1930 and was the company's primary producer of receiving tubes for consumer, industrial, and defense electronics until the plant closed in 1976. The records consist primarily of the papers of engineers Ralph R. Fichtl (1918-2014) and Otto H. Schade, Sr. (1903-1981) on television and receiving tube development. Files include reports, ephemera, photographs, patents, and correspondence on their work and RCA Harrison in general.
- RCA Corporation (Organization)
2.5 Linear Feet
General Physical Description (AVD portion only)
(AVD portion only) 39 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 8 in. 13 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 1 photographic print : color ; 8 x 10 in. 105 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. paper documents.
RCA’s plant in Harrison, New Jersey was originally founded by Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931) for the production of light bulbs in 1882. The General Electric Company purchased the Edison Lamp Works in 1892 and converted it to the production of radio tubes in 1918. As part of RCA’s entry into manufacturing, the company acquired the plant in 1930.
Harrison remained RCA’s primary producer of receiving tubes for consumer, industrial, and defense electronics until it closed in 1976. By this time the introduction of solid state devices had resulted in an almost 80% decline in the sale of receiving tubes from its 1966 peak.
The RCA Harrison records are arranged into three series:
Series I. Ralph R. Fichtl papers
Series II. Otto H. Schade, Sr. papers
Series III. General
Files are arranged alphabetically.
Scope and Content
The RCA Harrison records consist primarily of the papers of engineers Ralph R. Fichtl and Otto H. Schade, Sr. on television and receiving tube development. Files include reports, ephemera, photographs, patents, and correspondence on their work and RCA Harrison in general.
Ralph R. Fichtl papers include files from his work at RCA Harrison, as well as information on a range of RCA products and services. The Fichtl papers are arranged in two subseries: General and RCA product manuals, specifications, and related materials. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically.
The Otto H. Schade, Sr. papers are composed of articles, correspondence, patents, photographs, and reports related to Schade’s research on improving television definition and resolution.
General series consists mostly of photographs by Fred Foerth, Joseph Kmiec, and others. Images feature aerial photographs, electronic components, and social gatherings. Several pamphlets and labor agreements are also included.
This collection contains material from the Manuscripts and Archives Department (M&A) and the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department (AVD). Box prefixes indicate which department holds an individual file or item.
Language of Materials
In 2009, along with the rest of the archival collections of the David Sarnoff Library, the RCA Harrison records were donated to the Hagley Museum and Library.
- RCA Corporation (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- RCA Harrison records
- Daniel Michelson and Kenneth Cleary
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
- The collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.