Tom Swift’s Three Inventions of Television: Media History and the Technological Imaginary

Doron Galili


This article draws on fictional depiction of television in three novels in the Tom Swift series of boys' books, published in 1914, 1928, and 1933, in attempt to come to terms with different aspects of what sociologist of technology call the “technological imaginary” of television. As the novels’ depictions of the various television inventions demonstrate, the period of the first decades of the twentieth century was typified by a great deal of permutations in the very conception of what is television and what would it be good for. In particular, the article highlights the fast-changing intermedial context that surrounded the project of realizing television technology during this era.


Television; technological imaginary; popular fiction; intermediality

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