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Iowa History Daily: March 29 - Iowa Inventor John Winegard

Iowa History Daily: On March 29, 1921, innovative Iowan John Winegard was born in Burlington. A critical inventor and innovator in the realm of antennas, radio, and television, Winegard left a technological and business legacy which stretched from eastern Iowa to the moon.

Winegard developed an interest in radios while growing up in eastern Iowa. As a seventh grader, Winegard constructed a one-tube radio. He furthered his knowledge by reading large numbers of technical articles and building radios for others. Winegard graduated from high school in 1939 and moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to apprentice at Collins Radio Company. 

After receiving additional communications training from the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Winegard established a radio shop in Omaha, Nebraska, but eventually returned to Burlington. In 1948, Winegard began making TV antennas, one of which was used to receive Burlington’s very first TV picture. In fact, he constructed an antenna that enabled large numbers of Burlington residents to watch the 1949 inauguration of President Harry Truman.

Soon after, Winegard started manufacturing and selling television antennas. In 1952, John Winegard developed the first antenna capable of receiving more than one channel. Over time Winegard Company created commercial and governmental communications products, including contributions to the Apollo 11 space mission in 1969 which landed on the moon. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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