First TV Set in Area
May 27, 1949
Ankeny's First Television Party

"Is it really true?" and "Oh gee, isn't it wonderful!" could be heard among the enthused and anxious spectators as many of our local residents sat on the edge of their chairs Sunday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Hull and watched and enjoyed Ankeny's first television party.

The Hulls report that this was the best and clearest steady reception received to date. It was most unusual in the fact that from 5:30 to 7:15pm they received a direct pickup from the CBS station in New York City, coming in on Channel 2. Previous reception has been drawn from a St. Paul, Minnesota station. Needless to day, the Hulls were thrilled and being anxious to share this first really big thrill, they rushed to the phone and invited in the following friends and neighbors: Mrs. Art Hildreth, Theo Ann, Ardith, and Jane Lawrence, Mr. and Mrs. Myron Schrafroth, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Gilbrech and Earl Patrick, Mr. and Mrs. Walt Struthers, Mr. and Mrs. William Randolph, Linda and Anita Birdsall, Vern Strain, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Cade and Claudia, of Maxwell, and Mrs. Hull's mother, Mrs. Howe of Des Moines

The shows televised were a short story entitled "Wesley", "The Lincoln Mercury Hour," and, last, but far from least, the popular "Fred Waring Show."

This preview "peek" into a new era was a memorable and exciting thrill for these folks and especially another step forward for Clifford Hull, our expert and most efficient radio service man, for he has anxiously been waiting to hang out his new sign reading: "Television Sales and Service" Mr. Hull has done radio work for several years and after his service release, he returned again to radio work. Four years ago, he oped the Ingersoll Radio Sales and Service Shop, which is located at 3709 Ingersoll in Des Moines. He is at his Des Moines shop during the day and also operates a shop at his home here in town (Ankeny), so when in need of general radio repair service, (all makes, including car radios) or if you would be interested in a new Westinghouse radio and home appliances, or if it is information about that television set you are dreaming about, Clifford C. Hull is your man to contact.
Clifford C. Hull, Again Credited with Another "T-V First"
Apr 13, 1956
Ankeny, IA Newspaper

Clifford C. Hull, Ankeny's pioneer television retail dealer, has again taken the lead and is credited with another "TV First." Last week marked the arrival of the first color TV in Ankeny.

In a recent trade publication put out by the Westinghouse Corporation, Mr. Hull, veteran operator of the Ankeny Radio and Television Sales and Service, was named as having purchased the first Westinghouse black and white TV set in the state of Iowa. With an eye to the future, Mr. Hull has now installed a 15-inch color set in his home for study and technical training.

"Cliff" is indeed enthusiastic over the arrival of the new machine, but he readily expresses the following personal observation as a qualified and experienced technician views the the color medium: "The arrival of color is an interesting advancement in study contrast to the black and white picture. However, at the present stage, the color sets of all the TV industry are undeveloped, lacking perfection to be advisable for the average consumer.

He predicts a possible two years of improved reserch is yet needed to perfect color TV into a recommended public consumer item, both in operation and cost. A 21-inch sized screen now ranges from $700-$1,000, depending on the various cabinet styles, and the need for service adjustment is estimated to be many times greater than the general repair on the average black and white sets.

As Cliff studies the new mchine he comments, "Color TV is great...but keep an eye on its real possibilities for tomorrow."
Clifford Hull, 1967
First TV Set in Area

Here'n' There
August 24, 1967
Ankeny, IA Newspaper

It was a brave new world in the late forties when television was talked about but still a remote, unbelievable dream in the middle west. A few pioneers looking to the future were purchasing combination radio-phonographs with an empty compartment which they would proudly open up to show visitors the little window where the television would be placed "when it gets here."

This was the era of new ideas when the Bendix Automatic Washer salesman was extravagantly telling the housewife her laundry wasn't clean if she didn't use fresh water for each load and the lady scoffed at the suggestion that her dark clothes couldn't be washed clean in the same water she had used for the rest of the family laundry. This was the era of detergents with suds that lasted and lasted. This was the era of the GI loan that would span a bounding boom baby that would grow and swallow up the farms around cities. It was an era of new homemakers eager to try out the new products that were being presented.

Clifford Hull had been in the Air Force during World War II and came home to start a radio repair shop at 37th and Ingersoll in Des Moines and also one here in Ankeny.

In January, 1949, he purchased the first Westinghouse TV set sold west of the Mississippi and attended night classes at the wholesale house to learn to repair this new gadget. His table model TV had a 10" screen and retailed for $369.95. Since there were no TV stations in this area, any picture or sound was the result of freak conditions. A man in Ames bought a TV and the Hulls visited with him comparing notes on programs they were able to receive and the quality of the reception.

On May 22, 1949, the Hulls received a clear and steady picture, and the sound was good coming from a CBS station in New York City. The family was so thrilled that they called friends in to share this magic. According to the Ankeny Times, "the enthused and anxious spectators sat on the edge of their chairs." Guests were Mrs. Art Hildreth, Theo Ann, Ardity, and Jan Lawrence, Mr. and Mrs. Myron Schafroth, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Gilbrech, Earl Patrick, Mr. and Mrs. Walt Struthers, Mr. and Mrs. Williams Randolph, and Linda, Anita Birdsall, Vern Strain, Mr. and Mrs. Wade Cade and Claudia of Maxwell, and Mrs. Hull's mother, Mrs. Howe, of Des Moines. The shows they watched were "Wesley", "The Lincoln Mercury Hour" and the "Fred Waring Show".

WOI-TV came on the air in 1950, and Mrs. Hull said they had a crowd of children and adults there every evening, but, one by one, they stopped coming, and the Hulls knew they had bought a set at home.

Cliff sold the shop in Des Moines and because the Ankeny people regularly called for repairs at the Hull home at 202 Cherry, he gave up his shop uptown and hung his sign at home, where he still has his office and repair shop. When color TV was developed, Cliff bought one of the first sets to learn to repair them, although Mrs. Hull says she would rather have gotten a clothes dryer.

The Hull family still enjoys television, but like any repair man's wife, Mrs. Hull says, "There isn't a set in the house that works."
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