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In 1912, as the HMS Titanic was going down, Sarnoff was involved with using early radio equipment to transmit information about the ship’s demise. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis)

Before Steve Jobs: 5 Corporate Innovators who Shaped Our World

The former head of Apple comes from a long line of American innovators who changed society

David Sarnoff

David Sarnoff
(Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis)
In 1912, as the HMS Titanic was going down, Sarnoff was involved with using early radio equipment to transmit information about the ship’s demise. From then on, he realized the importance of the medium as a mass communication device, soon proposing a “Radio Music Box” so that wireless radio technology could enable enthusiasts to enjoy music at home.

“Sarnoff was always pushing and selling the next mode of communication,” says Allison. “He made a name in radio, but then was also the pioneer of color television in America.” At RCA, he drove engineers to perfect a color TV system that would become the standard for U.S. manufacturers and broadcasting.

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