Oct 112017

In 1948, Mahanoy City became the first municipality in the country to have Cable TV.
But in 1947, Mahanoy City, PA was not a booming market for television sets because televisions of this era required a clear “line-of-sight” from transmitter to receiver to ensure reception. At 1,256 feet, Mahanoy City was hemmed in by an almost impenetrable ring of 1,400 to 1,700- foot mountains, which blocked the signals coming from the major transmitting stations in Philadelphia. Who would want to buy an expensive new television set when there was nothing to watch?

In June 1948, Walson decided to bring the mountaintop down to his Service Electric store at Main and Pine Streets. To do so, he ran a length of heavy duty, twin-lead Army cable, purchased at a surplus store in Philadelphia, from the top of the mountain into his store, and then fixed it to what he called an “ordinary antenna.” For a month Walson strung the cable in trees; later he secured permission to use PPL’s transmission poles in Mahanoy City. Because the signal had a tendency to lose power as it descended the mountain, Walson attached modified “boosters” at 500-foot intervals to amplify the signal. In 1949 local engineer Luther Holt improved the amplifier design.