Born on November 29th 1914, Eugene Polley awoke to a world that slowly dipping into World War I. His love for electronics grew at the City Colleges of Chicago and Armour Institute of Technology, but he left before graduating. Despite not having many physical qualifications, he was offered a job Zenith Electronics in 1935 as a stock boy.
After a couple of years working for Zenith, his skills grew and he transferred to engineering where he began work on the Radar during World War II. His first invention however arose in 1955 when he created the world first television remote control. Named the ‘Flash-Matic’ the device used visible light to remotely control a television outfitted with photo cells in the screen. First marketed at $149.95, the device was a luxury item, saving those who could afford the high price tag of a walk to the television.
John Taylor, spokesman for Zenith Electronics, said: "He was a proud owner of a flat-screen TV and modern remote. He always kept his original remote control with him."
During his career Polley held 18 patents for his inventions and was presented numerous awards for his achievements in engineering; including an Emmy award in 1997.
Mr Eugene Polley died on Sunday 20th May 2012 of natural causes at the Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Illinois, USA. He is survived by his son, Eugene J Polley Jr, and grandson Aaron who lives in San Diego.