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RCA (Radio Corporation of America) was founded in October 1919, as a subsidiary company by General Electric, after the US government urged General Electric to take over the American branch of the British Marconi Company. For some time American Telephone & Telegraph (AT & T), Westinghouse Electric Company and United Fruit Company were co-owners of this company. Its original purpose was to protect US interests and patents in radio technology from foreign companies.

Led by Owen D. Young, but especially by David Sarnoff (who led RCA for 50 years), the company was a major producer in the field of radio and later on television. Sarnoff was one of the first who saw the unlimited possibilities of radio as a public communication tool and as a source of entertainment. For this, a new company was created by RCA in 1926, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), providing radio broadcasts.
In 1928, RCA was the driving force involved in the creation of the film company RKO Pictures in order to create a market for their sound-on-film system, RCA Photo Phone. In 1929 RCA bought the Victor Talking Machine Company, manufacturer of the Victrola, for $ 154 million, and began with the production of radios and radio phonograph combinations under the name RCA Victor.
In the early 1930s, RCA continued as an independent company, after GE, AT & T and Westinghouse were forced by the US justice to sell their common interests in the company. RCA retained full control of NBC and of her patents. The headquarters were located at Rockefeller Center (the present GE Building) shortly thereafter. Under the leadership Sarnoff, radio sales boomed. After several years RCA dominated the radio and music market in the United States.
Despite the crisis years of the 1930s, RCA spent millions of dollars on the development of television, including buying patents. Under the leadership of Russian immigrant Vladimir Zworykin, a television system was developed. In 1939, visitors at the World Fair in New York City saw television for the first time. Because of the outbreak of World War II, the first television sets were sold in 1946. RCA had a leading role in the development of colour TV. In March 1954 RCA started the production of the first colour TVs in their factory in Bloomington.
In the 1950 RCA, in addition to developments in the field of radio and television, the military and defense activities that it had been involved in during the Second World War, continued. In the late 1950s/early 1960s, RCA also focused on satellite technology and space travel.
In June 1986, RCA and NBC were acquired by General Electric (GE), the company from which it was originally formed. GE maintained the trade name RCA and NBC was set up as an independent company. Most record labels from RCA were sold and are now owned by Sony BMG. The remaining components of RCA were merged in the various divisions of General Electric. In 1987 the French group Thomson acquired RCA along with the consumer division of General Electric.

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