Election Night, live on TV! New York City newsrooms, 1952

Above: The CBS news broadcast was sponsored by Philco, an early radio and television manufacturer. In the photos of the ABC newsroom below, you’ll notice they are also sponsored by a television manufacturer, Admiral.

The candidates are now at our mercy.

Election Day comes in two phases. The first is in the hands of the voter and those that tally their decisions. The second comes from the media, a frenetic and exciting evening (and early morning) of theorizing, prognostication and jump-the-gun prediction.

As we prepare to be assailed with CNN’s latest high-tech graphic presentations, appreciate these images of a less sophisticated but no less thrilling place — the newsrooms of CBS, NBC and ABC during the 1952 election, a contest between Adlai Stevenson and Dwight D Eisenhower. These photos were taken for Life Magazine by Al Fenn. The CBS Studio was at Grand Central Terminal, NBC at Rockefeller Center and ABC

By the way, Eisenhower was of course the winner, becoming the first Republican in the White House since 1928. The Republicans also won control of the House that year, the last year they would do so until 1994.

Below: NBC’s Monrobot, a “computer used to tabulate votes on election night,” made by the Monroe Calculating Machine Company.

Another voting tabulation device, an “Electric brain”, the UNIVAC Electronic Computer. This was, in fact, a ‘dummy set’ as the actual UNIVAC was quite a bit larger. The machine accurately predicted an Eisenhower victory, but CBS producers presumed it unreliable and did not initially report the results.

From the ABC newsroom:

Walter Winchell, enjoying a smoke as the votes roll in.

Photos courtesy LIFE Google images