The Society of Television Engineers
A Brief History of STE

On July 1, 1940; Fred Wolcott, technical director of Gilfillan Brothers, and Irwin Stanton of RCA discussed the desirability and the need for an organization which would further the interests of television in the Los Angeles area and in this Country.  Harry Lubcke, director of television for the Don Lee Broadcasting System, was contacted because of their pioneering efforts in transmitting television programs, dating back to 1931. The preliminary groundwork for establishment of this organization was done by these three men. A group of people were invited to the first meeting on July 8, 1940. The name of the new organization would be the "SOCIETY OF TELEVISION ENGINEERS." At a meeting held October 14, 1940, a constitution was adopted unanimously by the charter members. The aims and purposes of the Society were defined as follows:


  • To advance the theory and practice
  • To enlarge the use of television
  • To promote harmony and cooperation within the television industry


On November 11, 1940, the temporary officers were elected as permanent officers. Fred Wolcott became President and Irwin Stanton, Secretary-Treasurer.


STE work included studies into the possibility of control of diathermy interference on television channels. A letter recommending Standards of Good Engineering Practice for high frequency electro-medical equipment as compiled and approved by the Society was sent to the Federal Communications Commission for their consideration.  During the following months much work was done enlisting support of the industry on the proposed NTSC Standards. A letter was sent to the FCC urging their acceptance and letters were sent to organizations in the television industry requesting their support. This work continued up to the acceptance of those Standards by the FCC, which became effective April 30, 1941.


During these formative stages Phillip CaIdwell and Harry Lubcke participated actively in committee meetings at which various proposals put forth by the membership. It is noteworthy that despite the many pressing wartime activities of the individuals comprising STE membership, the group found it possible to continue holding monthly meetings throughout the war years in the interests of television.