Gray and light brown rectangular remote made of plastic with metal plate on top. Top has four oval buttons made of white plastic, labeled from left to right above "Channel lower, Volume on-off, Sound mute, Channel higher" leftmost button is labeled "red hue" below and rightmost "green hue" below underlined by box reading: "Adjust hue after pressing mute" Text across top reads "Zenith" text across bottom reads "Space commander six hundred, color TV" Metal screen covers four signal emitters on side of box.
In the 1950s, Zenith pioneered the first three models of television remote controls, including the first practical version, the ultrasonic Zenith Space Command introduced in 1956.
In addition to explanatory labels, the text on this remote also gives the remotes name "Space Commander, Six Hundred."
This television remote, invented and produced by Zenith Radio Company, represents the size and innovation of Chicago's electronics industry in the twentieth century. Zenith Radio Company was founded in 1919 by Karl Hassel and Ralph H. G. Mathews and grew rapidly; by the mid-1930s it employed 450 people at its Chicago factory, and by the mid-1960s it had 15,000 employees working in a number of Chicago area factories. This Space Commander 600 remote, introduced in 1956, was the first remote based on ultrasonic technology, which enabled it to work without being attached to the television by a cord as previous models had. This design remained the principle one for twenty-five years. Electronics manufacturing was a central part of Chicago's economy from the 1920s and 1930s, when a third of the nation's radios were produced in the area, to the 1950s and 60s when it controlled 40% of domestic television manufacturing.