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75 Years of Cable: A Panel Discussion

November 30 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us for a panel discussion moderated by Donna Acerra, Northampton Community College Professor of Communications with long-time Service Electric Cable TV and Communications employees as we dive into the history of cable television! This program is in conjunction with our latest exhibit, New and Improved! The Age of Convenience in the Home, presented in partnership with Service Electric.

Non-members: $5

Members: FREE

SECTV employees & their families: FREE

Please register HERE.

Service Electric, a trailblazing cable television and communications company, is commemorating its 75th anniversary this year. Originally established as a modest appliance store, Service Electric experienced a transformative journey under the leadership of its founder, John Walson, ultimately revolutionizing the world of communications.

Seventy-five years ago, in 1948, John Walson ascended to the summit of New Boston Mountain in Mahanoy City, PA, where he erected an antenna. This was no ordinary antenna; it marked the dawning of a new television era, reshaping the world as we know it and giving birth to cable TV.

John Walson’s visionary quest was to bring television to the residents of Mahanoy City, a town nestled in a valley that rendered over-the-air signals inaccessible. He brought the signal down the mountain to his appliance store, eventually connecting homes in the town. This marked the inception of cable television, which rapidly captivated audiences far and wide.

The growth of Service Electric was swift, extending its services to neighboring communities. Throughout the subsequent decades, the company maintained a commitment to innovation, introducing new services that left an indelible mark.

In 1969, Service Electric introduced TV2, a channel delivering local sports, news, and events to subscribers. The nightly evening newscasts were the first live color news shows produced by a cable television company in the country. Just three years later, in 1972, Service Electric became the first cable TV company to offer Home Box Office (HBO) pay TV channel, forever changing the television landscape.

Following the passing of Mr. Walson in 1993, his eldest son, John E. Walson Jr., assumed the helm of the company, further expanding Service Electric’s reach into broadband and fiber optic technologies. In 1994, Service Electric spearheaded the creation of PenTeleData, a partnership between five regional companies, which has since created a fully redundant fiber optic network with more than 10,000 miles of fiber optics.

A year later, Service Electric introduced the Internet to the Lehigh Valley with ProLog dial-up service. In 1998 they began offering telephone service and in 1999 introduced two-way cable modems for Internet service.

Simultaneously, Walson Jr. fostered a culture of philanthropy within the community. Today, under the guidance of John M. Walson III, Service Electric proudly celebrates its 75th anniversary, flourishing as the largest privately held internet provider to homes and businesses in the Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Hunterdon County, NJ.

The company’s enduring legacy is firmly entrenched in the Greater Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre, where it thrives as both a business leader and a community partner.






November 30
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


National Museum of Industrial History
602 East Second Street
Bethlehem, 18015 United States
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