What is a Presidential Teleprompter?

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Presidential Teleprompting at the UN

What is a Presidential Teleprompter?

The 1956 Democratic National Convention introduced glass teleprompters. Hubert Schlafly, who came up with the teleprompter, said that he wanted to make a less obtrusive system than the ones that were being used at the time. He said, “We made a device called the Speech View system that is a one-way mirror.” The prompter, which was hidden in the base, showed the speaker what was written on the glass while the audience looked through the glass and didn’t see the writing. Two of these prompters, one to the speaker’s right and one to his left, allow him to transition from one to the other and appear to address the entire audience..

Shot of presidential prompter at Conde Nast Traveler show

This led to the development of a speaker’s lectern by Schlafly’s company, which had an adjustable-height speaker platform, air conditioning, and two synchronized glass teleprompters. For television cameras, a new model was developed with the glass placed directly in front of the lens in response to its success. The performer looked straight at the TV audience and was able to read the text word for word. This device is now used all over the world.

A screen on either side of the speaker often displays mirrored text from upward-facing floor monitors at the base of a stand supporting a one-way mirror at the top, oriented down towards the screen. The speaker sees a reflection of the text on the screen in the mirror, while the audience sees what appears to be tinted glass on each side of the speaker.

Schlafly’s glass teleprompters were also used at the Republican National Convention in 1956 and at the conventions of both parties after that. Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General in the Kennedy and early Johnson administrations (1961–1964), used glass teleprompters to make his 1964 convention speech.(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Teleprompter”,1 June 2022.)

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