1967: The Summer of Love and the First CES
Attendees and especially exhibitors marvel at the minor miracle that occurs at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands and varying area hotel ballrooms each January. Overnight, the CES show floors magically morph from cacophonous construction chaos into the orderly, premier trade show in the country.
This annui miraculo was established at the first-ever CES, held 50 years ago, June 25-28, 1967. The event took place in New York at the midtown Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue and the Americana Hotel – now the Sheraton – around the block on Seventh Avenue, along with a small number of exhibits at the Warwick and the City Square hotels.
No one knew if a standalone "consumer electronics show" would work; the only other such confabs had taken place 30 years before, and had been open-to-the-public events. The miracle was the estimated 17,500 manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who showed up to check out the 117 exhibits occupying 150,000 square feet over the four locations, viewing 10,000 products ranging "from $8 radios the size of a pack of cigarettes to $15,000 room-length stereophonic units," according to coverage of the show in The New York Times.