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Fred L. Bechly papers

Creation: 1944-2004
Accession: 2586


Fred L. Bechly (1924-2004) was an electrical engineer who worked for RCA's Camden, New Jersey, plant, where he aided in the invention of the Tricolor Kinescope Monitor, which became the standard for color television. His papers describe his work with RCA in television and video recording from 1944 to 1983.


  • Creation: 1944-2004



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Biographical Note

Fred Lorin Bechly (1924-2004) was an American electrical engineer and inventor in the field of color television. Born in May 1924 in Watseka, Illinois, Bechly received his college degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1944. In the same year, he joined the Radio Corporation of America’s (RCA) Camden, New Jersey, plant where he, along with H.J. Benzuly, developed the Tricolor Kinescope Monitor. The invention superseded RCA's earlier technology, which used a cumbersome mirror system with three kinescopes to form a single color image. The new Tricolor Kinescope system was considered RCA’s secret weapon versus its competitor, CBS, during the establishment of the NTSC standard for color television by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 1953. Shortly thereafter, the Tricolor Kinescope Monitor was commercialized, becoming the prototype for subsequent versions of the cathode ray tube color monitor. In 1975, Bechly received a special achievement award for his work on an RCA color video recorder, and was later awarded two United States patents for his work in the field of color television broadcasting, copies of which are included in his papers. In 1958-1959, Bechly was a member of an electronics team who received an Emmy for their work in the television arts for the development of color video tape. Bechly died on October 31, 2004 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


The Fred L. Bechly papers are arranged in chronological order beginning with the first date of each of three groupings of records.

Scope and Content

The brief records of Fred L. Bechly's papers describe his career with RCA and his work in television and television recording. The records include copies of patents awarded for his work at RCA, and information about his work beginning in 1944.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

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Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Fred L. Bechly papers
Dave Burdash
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Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA