A remote control for the television. A remote control for the stereo. A remote control for the Blue Ray Player and one for the DVD Player. And how about a remote control to find the remote control? Yes we have them all. And our thanks for this all important household device goes to Eugene Polley.
Eugene Polley, not exactly a household name we should remember, is it? In fact I bet many of us did not know who he was until sadly hearing of his passing this past week. Eugene Polley is best known for inventing the first remote control for Zenith back in 1955. Eugene died in a Downers Grove, Illinois hospital at the age of 96.
In 47 years as an engineer for Zenith, Eugene Polley has 18 U.S. Patents to his credit. Another important device developed by him: the push-button radio for automobiles, which I think is just as important as the remote control.
Though he was recognized with an Emmy in 1997 for his invention of the remote control, one can't help but wonder:
Did Eugene Polley receive enough financially as the actual inventor of the device or did Zenith reap most of the windfall profits?
Which leads me to another story of the gentleman who in the 1960's created the symbol for the Chicago Bulls. He sold it to the franchise for about $3,000. Today the Chicago Bulls logo is one of the more prestigious and marketable logos in all of sports, raking in more than a billion dollars so far.
Sometimes it's good to take a look at the small foundations that were created by the little people in the world such as Eugene Polley. If it weren't his creative ingenuity, there would be no channel surfing couch potatoes.
"Hey kid, get up and turn the channel for me,will ya?"