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Chicagoan who invented wireless TV remote dies in Downers Grove

Perhaps we should power down as a tribute.
Perhaps we should power down as a tribute.

These are some inventions in life when we truly realize the genius of it. Take the remote control for the TV.

Without waxing on, it was a brilliant thing and now comes word that its inventor has passed away. Here is the news: Best known as the inventor of the first wireless remote control for television, Eugene J. Polley started his career with Zenith Radio Corporation (now Zenith Electronics LLC, a subsidiary of LG Electronics) in 1935. His 47-year engineering career spanned the pioneering days of radio, black-and-white television and color TV.

Sure, when his invention became popular so did praise and some trepidation. For example, did it turn folks in to a couch potato?

Polley died of natural causes on May 20 in Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Ill. He was 96.

His inventions, primarily in the field of television, earned 18 U.S. patents. Polley's best known invention, the "Flash-Matic" remote control, was the world's first wireless TV remote, introduced in 1955. It used a flashlight-like device to activate photo cells on the television set to change channels.

Eugene J. Polley was born in Chicago on Nov. 29, 1915. He attended the City Colleges of Chicago and Armour Institute. He was a longtime resident of Lombard, Ill., where he was active in village government, serving as a member of the village's Zoning Board of Appeals for 34 years.

He is survived by his son, Eugene J. Polley Jr., and grandson, Aaron, of San Diego, Calif. He was preceded in death by his wife, Blanche, and daughter, Joan Polley.

Visitation will be held May 22, 5-8 p.m., Brust Funeral Home, Lombard, Ill. A funeral mass will be held May 23 at 10 a.m., Sacred Heart Church, Lombard, followed by internment at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton. The above information was provide by prnewswire.


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