Founded in 1919, the Radio Corporation of America originally was a venture between private investment and the US government for the development of wireless communications. The company made its name, obviously, in radio, then moved into "talking machines", or phonographs. From that came the famous RCA logo, of the Jack Russell terrier "Nipper" sitting attentively in front of the phonograph.
While RCA went on to help develop and popularize television and VHS recording, in the 1970s the company got a little too big for its britches and acquired Hertz rental cars, Banquet foods, Coronet carpeting, Random House publishing, and Gibson greeting cards. These moves failed to strengthen the company via diversification, and made it somewhat of a laughingstock in the business world while also diluting the consumer electronics brand strength it had earned over its glorious history. In the 1990s, RCA re-energized itself with the introduction of the first DSS (Digital Satellite System) system, powered by DirecTV. Today, controlled by a licensing mishmash of Audiovox, Thomson/Technicolor, and Telefield NA, RCA still remains a relatively strong brand which can be found in HDTV, telephony, A/V products, accessories, and appliances.