1 : the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the nadir and vertically above the observer
2 : the highest point reached in the heavens by a celestial body
3 : culminating point : acme
Like many others (or at least, I hope) when I see the word ZENITH, I think immediately of that little reflective lightening bolt of a "Z" that appears at the bottom of many a television set. I'm sure at some point my family owned a ZENITH brand TV; we went through many sets, and not so much as a day passed between the death of one set and a the purchase of a new sale item from Sears. Entering a living room sans television set felt like a arriving at a major intersection without a traffic signal. Something obvious was missing. A hole needed to be filled.
I find out this morning that ZENITH electronics is most famous for their invention in 1956 of the world's first practical remote control, aptly called: Space Commander. The bulky handheld relied on ultrasonic sound as a trigger mechanism (eventually replaced by modern remotes which use infrared light), sending frequencies between remote and television hub. The device reminds me of a Twilight Zone prop, perhaps something actually used in fictional space travel—a real historical object which resembles an imitation of a false historical object. Hmm. I suppose that kitsch for you.
ZENITH electronics derived their name from their call sign "9ZN," but I'm sure the fact that ZENITH connotes "the acme of everything" at least partially swayed their decision away from other words containing the letters "Z" and "N," like zinnia or zenana. ZENITH says success, these guys are at the top of their game, of everybody's game, actually.
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