Igniting Innovation Since 1924

Celebrating CTA’s 100th Anniversary

For 100 years, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® has played a leading role as an advocate for the technology industry and a catalyst for innovation.

From radio, color TVs, and the first computer to digital health and AI, CTA has been at the center of advancing tech for a century, evolving to meet the industry’s needs and solving the world’s biggest challenges to benefit society.

In 1924, CTA began as the Radio Manufacturers Association bringing together a group of Chicago radio manufacturers in response to patent fights and looming legislation. Today, our membership represents 1300+ companies of every size and sector, all working to move technology forward, together.

Join us in celebrating 100 years of igniting innovation and as we look forward to what the next century will bring. 

100 Years of the Consumer Technology Association

Learn more about our association's history and influence on the technology industry by exploring the timeline below.

[These anniversary celebrations are] also a moment for us to look ahead to the next 100 years and share our vision for how technology can and will shape our future.
Gary Shapiro CEO, CTA
Featured Interview

Reflecting on a Century of Innovation: A Q&A with Gary Shapiro on CTA's 100th Anniversary

Gary Shapiro, CEO of CTA, has led the organization through four decades of transformation. We sat down to discuss the association’s 100-year history, how CTA works to advance innovation, and what the future will bring.

The Radio Era

In 1924 when CTA began serving U.S. tech interests, Johnson & Johnson had just begun mass producing Band-Aids. IBM was founded, and the first television pictures were successfully transmitted. The average house cost about $2500. A dozen eggs cost 25 cents. Radio was the nation’s most powerful medium, helping to bridge cultural divides. With radio, audiences from coast to coast listened to the same programs at the same time, an experience that fostered appreciation for the sounds, tastes, view points and experiences of the nation’s myriad communities. From 1924 to 1949, CTA as the Associated Radio Manufacturers was working to assure the medium’s integrity.

The Television Era

While the American middle class was captivated by the emerging medium’s programs and stars, society was becoming more polarized, politically and culturally. From the 1950s through the 1970s, daily life was altered by events that included the Korean War, the Warsaw Pact, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Liberation Movement, Woodstock and the Watergate scandal. Each of these transformational milestones – and many, many more - deeply shook traditionalist norms. Those years were also pivotal for CTA as the association contended with impacts to its constituency caused by post-WWII economics and politics, the advent of TV and early computing.

Consumer Tech Takes Off

Technological innovations contributed in extraordinary ways to keep the music, sports, fashions and fresh voices going in people’s minds, hearts, homes and offices. CTA backstopped many of these innovations, largely through the halls of Congress. The organization helped legalize video recording at home. Also, CTA successfully championed the closed-captioning standard that, since the 1990s, has helped the hearing impaired join in the cultural and political events of the time.

Digital Transformation

From 1995 to 2014, the tech landscape experienced a sweeping transformation driven by digital innovations. Amazon and eBay launched in 1995. Also that year, Holiday Inn opened the first hotel web site that enabled online bookings. Wi-Fi became publicly available in 1997. Two years later, the first version of Bluetooth debuted and, by 2000, some 60% of households owned at least one computer. Just seven years later, Apple revolutionized the mobile-phone industry with its release of the iPhone. By 2014, use of paper had plummeted as businesses and marketers turned to digital alternatives to inform and sell.

Present and Future Era

Building on a 100-year track record, CTA continues to spearhead conversations and collaborations around the benefits of technology and its life-changing applications. These include over-the-counter hearing aids and alignment with United Nations Human Security goals. Here’s a snapshot of pivotal events across recent years that saw the tech industry and communities worldwide buffeted by civil unrest, a global pandemic and turbulence in major financial markets.

Putting Members First for 100 Years

Join our community of innovators and see what we can do the next 100 years.