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Here, on the corner of Channing and Emerson Street, was once a laboratory that paved the way for modern television and radio communications. Once the site of the invention of the first vacuum tube amplifier and oscillator, sadly nothing remains of the lab today. Tourists still sometime stop by to get a look at what was once a source of important scientific development. A plaque now stands where the laboratory once did.


  • The marker is located on the corner of Channing and Emerson Streets.

In the town of Palo Alto, there was once a notable research and development lab. In 1909, Cyril F. Elwell founded the Federal Telegraph Company at this location. Within a few years, with the assistance of two colleagues, including Dr. Lee Forest, the inventor of the three-element radio vacuum tube, created the world's first vacuum tube amplifier and oscillator. This invention led to the eventual development of radios and televisions.

Sadly, all that remains of this laboratory is a plaque, placed in 1970, that explains the history and importance of the laboratory and it’s work.  

"Electronics Research Laboratory." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed June 9, 2017. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=2604.

Photo: Leticia A. Kohnen, via The Historical Marker Database