Tech History Today
November 6, 1928: New York Times flashes motograph news headlines
The New York Times started to flash electronic news headlines outside its Times Square office on this day in 1928.
It used an electronic sign that wrapped around the 4th floor called the Motograph News Bulletin or the zipper. It extended 380 feet around the fourth floor of what was then the Times Tower at One Times Square–the second tallest building in Manhattan when it opened in 1904. With a band five-feet tall, the moving letters, comprising 14,800 light bulbs, were visible from a distance of several city blocks.
November 6, 1928, also happened to be election day in the United States, and the zipper’s first message was “Herbert Hoover defeats Al Smith.”