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Rich History: Harrison, The First Silicon Valley

May 22, 2023
RCA Tubes Advertising Photograph

In the bustling heart of Harrison, New Jersey lay the industrial fortress that once belonged to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), a pioneer in radio and television technology and a beacon of American industry in the 20th century.

Under the watchful eye of its dynamic president, David Sarnoff, RCA stood as a cornerstone of the American technological landscape. An immigrant who had risen from office boy to corporate titan, Sarnoff was a symbol of the American dream. His astute business acumen and visionary foresight propelled the company to previously unimagined heights.

The RCA plant in Harrison was a symbol of this ambition. It was here that the seemingly magical processes of innovation took place, the manufacturing of tubes for radios and televisions that would, in time, revolutionize how people interacted with the world.

These tubes were marvels of technological ingenuity, their production a careful, labor-intensive process. Each tube was a result of countless hours of design, refinement, and assembly. At a time when radio was still a novelty and television a distant dream, these tubes stood as a testament to RCA's dedication to pushing the boundaries of what was possible.

Under Sarnoff's guidance, the Harrison plant became a hub of innovation, a place where ideas took form and became reality. It was at this plant that RCA developed and produced the very first electronic television system. This invention heralded a new era in home entertainment and transformed the way people consumed news, culture, and information.

Tubes were eventually replaced by transistors which were also developed in New Jersey at the Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey.  Transistors lead to the closure of the RCA plant in Harrison.  The Harrison Plant is now the Harrison Plaza Mini Mall.

The invention of the transistor marked a significant milestone in the history of electronics. These small, semiconductor devices were capable of amplifying or switching electronic signals and electrical power, leading to the miniaturization of electronic devices and paving the way for a myriad of modern technologies.

Under Sarnoff's stewardship, RCA became one of the first companies to commercialize the transistor, turning what was once a novel invention into a cornerstone of the modern electronics industry. The company's work in this field helped fuel the post-war boom in consumer electronics and laid the groundwork for the digital age.

As the decades passed, the RCA plant in Harrison, under the vigilant leadership of David Sarnoff, became a symbol of American ingenuity and industrial might. The products it manufactured and the innovations it spurred changed the face of technology and shaped the world we live in today.

The story of the Radio Corporation of America, its plant in Harrison, and its visionary President David Sarnoff is one of ambition, innovation, and relentless pursuit of progress. It is a story that continues to inspire and influence, echoing through the annals of technological history.

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The Rich History of the Harrison Plaza Mall

Extension RCA Redevelopment Rights on HRA Agenda

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