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Technology & Communications

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Technological Advancements at the White House:

  • 1866: The White House installed its first telegraph office.
  • 1880: The White House staff started using typewriters.
  • 1891: Electricity was installed in the White House.
  • 1922: Electric vacuum cleaners were used for the first time on White House carpets.
  • 1926: The White House acquired its first electric refrigerator.
  • 1933: Technicians installed air conditioning in the White House's private quarters.
  • 1952: President Truman used the White House as a film backdrop for presidential addresses and hosted a televised tour of the newly renovated White House with news reporter Walter Cronkite.
  • 1955: President Eisenhower gave the first televised presidential news conference; the first live televised news conference was broadcast during the Kennedy administration.

How have advances in communication technology contributed to the public's awareness of the inaugurations of the presidents?

  • 1857: President James Buchanan's inauguration was the earliest to have been photographed.
  • 1845:Samuel F.B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, sat on the inaugural platform and personally reported President James K. Polk's inauguration by telegraph. He transmitted only as far as Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1897: President William McKinley took the oath of office at the first inauguration record on movie film and gramophone record.
  • 1925: Calvin Coolidge's inauguration is the first broadcast by radio.
  • 1929: Herbert Hoover's inauguration is the first sound newsreel.
  • 1949: Harry S. Truman's inauguration is the first broadcast broadcast by television.

President Wilson talks with a pilot circling overhead in a demonstration of air-ground communication on November 22,1918.

National Archives

President William McKinley's 1897 inaugural.