Historical and Preservation Society of Pottawattamie County
County Seat Council Bluffs, Iowa
The mystery object is a De Forest type 601 Vis-ion gas tube, invented by Lee De Forest and used a light source in an early scanning disc television. The television produced a picture about one inch square. Dr. De Forest was born in Council Bluffs in 1873 and has over 180 patents to his credit. He is often referred to as the "father of radio" and is certainly since his vacuum tubes made radio and later television possible. He is also creditied with inventing a key component needed to bring sound to motion pictures. His inventions provided the basis for the electronic age we live in today. De Forest School in Council Bluffs (pictured below) was named in his honor as is the De Forest building on the Iow Western Community College campus. Lee De Forest died in 1961.