In 1955 Polley invented the Flash-Matic which pointed a beam of light at photo cells on each corner of the TV, turning it on and off and changing the channels. This first TV remote was a luxury extra when invented in the days before there were hundreds of cable television channels.
Polley was born in Chicago in 1915 and began a career in engineering in 1935 when he was 20. Over 47 years of work at Zenith saw him earn 18 US patents. Before Polley's invention, Zenith's first remote was connected to the television by a wire cord. Polley and another Zenith engineer, Robert Adler were honoured in 1997 with an Emmy for their work.
The Flash-Matic remote used light to operate the television which caused it to be temperamental when other light sources interfered with its signal. The remote control Polley invented was followed by a sonic-contolled remote which was then followed by infrared and radio frequency models.
Zenith spokesman John Taylor told how Polley had always been proud of his invention and was pleased to show his Flash-Matic to visitors after his retirement.
"He was a proud owner of a flat-screen TV and modern remote," Mr Taylor added. "He always kept his original remote control with him."
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John Rees via Wikipedia.