Guillermo González Camarena

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Born on February 17th 1917 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Camarena was a Mexican Engineer who was the inventor of the color-wheel type of color television. He was the first to patent the color television in the USA and in Mexico. His technology is still used to this day by NASA.

He was the son of Arturo González & Sara Camarena who were originally from Arandas Jalisco. One of his older brothers Jorge Camarena (1908-1980) was a great Painter, Muralist and Skulpter. When Camarena was two years of age his family and him made the move to Mexico City, this is where Camarena would spend the majority of his life. He was a very inventive young man and by the age of 7 he showed his talent by fabricating all kinds of electrical toys. By the age of 12 he build his own amateur radio. Camarenas family was not poor but they were not rich either so Camarena from a young age learned to find the parts for his inventions in local markets like the infamouse “Tepito”.  He new how to turn old broken trash into true working treasures.

In 1930 he enrolled in the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, where two years later he obtained his first radio license. Camarena was working for the radio station of the Secretary of Public Education while he continued to work on his inventions in his laboratory. Then in 1934 he fabricated his own Television Camara, he was only 17 years old.

At the age of 23 Camarena invented the “Chromoscopic adapter for television equipment”, this was an early color television transmission system A U.S. patent application. This invension was meant to be simply adapted to black and white television equipment. He then obtained a patent number 40235 for his system.

He loved to gaze at the stars so he built his own telescope, and he was also a member of the Astronomical Society of Mexico.

In 1941 Camarena was named chief of the radio stations XEQ-AM & XEW-AM.

He continued to perfect his invention and in 1942 he passed the first transmission through closed circuit television coming from the laboratory in his home.

In the field of broadcasting he also contributed when in 1945 the Ministry of Communications and Public Works commissioned a study on the volume, noise and attenuation of electrical communication systems in order to establish the legal units of reference in quadrant of the radio.
The work of Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena extended to the field of medicine when it began to employ black and white television, then to color as a means of teaching the subject.

In 1950 Columbia College in Chicago, requested the production of the television system the young Mexican researcher had created. In January 1951 he was commissioned by Radio Panamericana, SA, to identify and locate the first relay station for Mexican television, which was installed in Atzomoni between Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, in the place known as Paso de Cortés.

Also in 1951, he married Marie Antoinette Becerra Acosta, whom he met in the XEW-AM when he went to ask for autographs of  famous speakers of the time. Camarena Becerra’s family had two sons, William and Joseph Arthur.

The mid-1950s boom raised the purchase of TVs, so the engineer Camarena emerged with Channel 2 and was appointed technical advisor of  ”Telesistema Mexicano”. In 1960 he conducted the first tests in Guadalajara for the transmission of the color image, which was received with great welcome by viewers Guadalajara.

In January 21st 1963 Camarena began broadcasting in color on Channel 5 with the series “Children’s Paradise.” The engineer insisted that the television in the evenings should serve primarily children, who always showed great interest.

The main concern of the engineer was that his inventions could be enjoyed by the general public, including people with limited resources. There was still no  official international standard color television, on May 6, 1963 the Mexican inventor presented his Bi color System Simplified, which was well received internationally. This system solved the problem of the economic aspect for future buyers. Camarena wanted to make the color television accessible and in 1964 they began large-scale manufacturing. The following year he established an agreement with Majestic factory, owned by Emilio Azcarraga Vidaurreta, and in May 1965 launched the sale of color television sets made in Mexico.

Camarena’s main interest was that his system would be used to teach literacy, and in coordination with the Secretariat of Public Education (Mexico), projected what would later become known as the Education System “Telesecundaria” (Tele Junior High).

A few days before his death Camarena presented his system of simplified bicolor at the World’s Fair in New York. On April 18, 1965, he returned to inspect the repeater transmitter at Channel 5 in the hills of Las Lajas, Veracruz. Camarena was killed in a car accident at the age of  48.

In 1995 a  group concerned with the scientific and technological research in Mexico, formed the Foundation Guillermo González Camarena, AC, which seeks to promote the talent and creativity of national inventors. By putting his name to the Foundation, it pays homage to the creativity of this Jalisco distinguished scientist who managed one of the greatest inventions of global impact: the color television.

The National Polytechnic Institute, honored his name by building the Intellectual Property Center “Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena”

Camarena was a true pioneer he not only was a creative inventor but he always saw the potential of his invention as a way to teach children. Education was always very important to him. I also admire the fact that when he felt there were adjustments to be made to his invention they were to make his television more economical so that all of the people could enjoy the benefits of having a color T.V. His life was one that was taken to soon.


This is a video of Camarenas life, it is in Spanish so if you do not speak it I hope you can understand it because this video is full of great information and wonderful photos and interviews.




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