The David Sarnoff Library
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Welcome to the David Sarnoff Library

Welcome

The David Sarnoff Library has closed the doors at its Princeton location. The collections have been packed and transferred to other organizations.  The last tours conducted by Dr. Alexander Magoun took place on July 31, 2009.


The David Sarnoff Library documents David Sarnoff's life; the history of radio, television, electronics, and communications; and the history of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Incorporated as the David Sarnoff Collection, Inc., an unendowed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Library is located in Princeton, New Jersey. It is devoted to the study and understanding of the innovative spirit personified in the greatest technological visionary of the 20th century and realized in the accomplishments of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) employees at laboratories, factories, and offices in New Jersey and around the world.

Built in 1967 by RCA, the David Sarnoff Library contains a museum, an archives, a library, and this website. Besides Mr. Sarnoff's papers and memorabilia, the Library's holdings include 25,000 photographs and thousands of notebooks, reports, publications, and artifacts related to the histories of RCA Laboratories and RCA. At this site you will find exhibits, timelines, galleries, links, and references documenting

  • David Sarnoff's life;
  • RCA, Victor Talking Machine Company, and the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America;
  • The history of radio, television, broadcasting, audio and video recording and reproduction, electron microscopy, radar, electron (vacuum) tubes, transistors, solid-state physics, semiconductors, lasers, liquid-crystal displays, integrated circuits, microprocessors, computers, communications satellites, and other technologies RCA played an important role in inventing and developing;
  • Some of the many people beside Mr. Sarnoff who made these technologies work.

With this material you can satisfy your curiosity, indulge your interests, gather information, or consider some of the themes and questions in the history and business of innovation:

  • What is an innovator, an entrepreneur, an inventor, a genius?
  • What is a basic invention, an innovation, a disruptive technology?
  • What is required to make an idea a successful product and how long does that process take?
  • Who pays for the process of innovation?
  • How much innovation is good for a society?
  • What are the roles of patents and monopolies in encouraging or discouraging innovation?
  • How do those roles change under different circumstances?
  • What's the difference between science and technology?
  • Does that distinction change over time?
  • Can there be a "lone inventor" of a technological system?
  • What is the relationship between "lone inventors" and institutional inventors?
  • Can "lone inventors" exist or thrive in a corporate environment?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of corporate research and development (R&D)?
  • How do corporations change the nature and goals of R&D in response to economic, political, cultural, scientific, and technological changes?

We and our sponsors would like to know who uses this site, why, and what else you would like to see on it; please email us with your comments. Rest assured that any information you offer about yourself will not be distributed beyond the Library.

For more information regarding events at the David Sarnoff Library, please refer to the News section.

For further questions regarding the library, please refer to the FAQ section.

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2001-2007 David Sarnoff Collection. All rights reserved. Revised 070628