Britian's CEEFAX (phonetic for "See Facts") was the world's first teletext system.
     The foundation was laid at the British Broadcasting Corp., and it may have been invented by anonymous technicians at the BBC who used it to communicate among themselves at the various transmitter sites around Great Britain, according to anecdotal data collected by the author in Britain.
     The first written mention of the possibility of generating alphanumeric characters and the storage of one line of script by electronic means comes in a note accompanying a memorandum on facsimile dated Dec. 14, 1970, from P. Rainger, head of the designs department, to the chief engineer, research and development at the BBC.
     The note suggests that a "magazine" of some 30 pages of information could be created, stored magnetically and continuously updated.
     The name "Teledata" was chosen and a patent application entitled "The Transmission of Alphanumeric Data by Television" was filed on Feb. 9, 1972 under the names of P. Rainger, I. Miller and F. Parker.
     Teledata was later renamed CEEFAX, which was announced to the public on Oct. 23, 1972 and first demonstrated on Jan. 4, 1973.
     On Jan. 13, 1976, CEEFAX, Oracle and the forerunner of Prestel, called Viewdata, were displayed at a conference on teletext. This was the first public appearance of Prestel.
     After the Independent Broadcasting Authority announced it would launch a competing teletext system called ORACLE and the British Post Office announced its videotex system called Prestel, all three negotiated a common protocol, which was adopted in March, 1974 and entitled Broadcast Teletext Specifications.
     The Ceefax system was well received throughout the world and more than a dozen countries began testing, then operating, teletext systems based on the model.
     Ceefax still operates today on BBC channels 1 and 2 in the United Kingdom.

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