Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device

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Circuitry schematic of the Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device, patented in 1948

The cathode ray tube amusement device is the earliest known interactive electronic game to use a cathode ray tube (CRT). Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann constructed the game from analog electronics in 1947.[1] The gaming device was never marketed or sold to the public,[2] but was patented in 1948.[1]

The cathode ray tube amusement device is a device that records and controls the quality of an electronic signal. The strength of the electronic signals produced by the amusement device is controlled by knobs which influences the trajectory of the CRT's light beam. The device uses purely analog electronics and does not use any memory device, digital computer, or programming.[2]


The CRT beam appears as a spot which traces a parabolic arc across the screen when a switch is activated by the player. This beam spot represents the trajectory of an artillery shell. At the end of its trajectory the beam spot defocuses, representing the shell exploding, as if detonated by a time fuze. There are several overlay targets on the screen, representing objects such as airplanes. The player turns control knobs to direct the beam spot's trajectory and the delay of the shell burst, with the goal of hitting one of the overlay targets with the shell burst within a time limit.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Patent #2,455,992
  2. ^ a b DS Cohen. "Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device". Retrieved 29 May 2012. 

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