Walter Bruch

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The „Olympia-Kanone“ television camera at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, operated by Walter Bruch.

Walter Bruch (2 March 1908 – 5 May 1990) was a German engineer who invented the PAL color television system at Telefunken in the early 1960s. In addition to his research activities Professor Bruch taught at Hannover Technical University. He was awarded the Werner von Siemens Ring in 1975.


He was born at Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Palatinate, Germany. The early part of his professional career, in the 1930s, was spent in collaboration with Manfred von Ardenne and the Hungarian inventor Dénes von Mihály.

In 1935 he started to work in the Television and Physics research Department of Telefunken which was headed by Professor Fritz Schröter (de). In the summer of 1936 the Olympic Games were held in Berlin and became a milestone for audiovisual technology. Bruch was able to field test the first Iconoscope camera, developed by Emil Mechau (de) based on a tube by Walter Heimann (de).[1] One year later, at the Paris International Exposition, he introduced an iconoscope television unit that he had designed.[citation needed] During World War II he operated a closed-circuit television system installed at the Peenemünde launch site, so that the V-2 rocket launches could be watched at a safe distance from a bunker.

In 1950 Telefunken commissioned him to develop the first post-war television receivers. Some time later, he returned to physics research and later color television. He studied and thoroughly tested the American NTSC system and what would later become the French SECAM system. His work led him and co-workers like Gerhard Mahler (de) and Dr. Kruse to devise a new color television system that automatically corrected for the differential phase distortion that can occur along the transmission channel.

On 3 January 1963 he gave the first public presentation of the Phase Alternation Line System to a group of experts from the European Broadcasting Union in Hannover. This is considered to be the date of birth of the PAL-Telefunken system, which was later adopted by more than thirty countries (at present, more than one hundred). When interviewed by German talk show host Hans Rosenthal on why he had named it the "PAL system", Bruch replied that certainly no German would be willing to buy a "Bruch-System" (which literally translates to "broken system" in German).

He received the David Sarnoff Medal from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in 1971 and the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 1981.[2]


  1. ^ Redlich, Gert (2008-12). "Walter Bruch war weltweit bekannt geworden durch die Verbindung zum deutschen PAL Farbfernsehen". Deutsches Fernsehmuseum (1) Wiesbaden - Museum für professionelle Fernsehtechnik und Fernsehgeschichte im Internet (in German). 
  2. ^ "The Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor Recipients". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  • Moralejo, Manuel; Edelmiro Pascual (1975). La electrónica. Barcelona: Salvat. ISBN 84-345-7458-6. (Spanish)

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