John Walson was one of the inventors of cable television. During the late 1940's, there were only a few television stations, located mostly in larger cities like Philadelphia. People who didn't live in a city, or in a location where signals could be received easily, were unable to see television. John Walson, an appliance store owner in Mahanoy City, had difficulty selling television sets to local residents because reception in the area was so poor. The problem seemed to be the location of the town in a valley and nearly 90 air miles from the Philadelphia television transmitters. Naturally, the signals could not pass through the mountain, and clear reception was virtually impossible, except on the ridges outside of town.
To solve his problem, Mr. Walson put an antenna on top of a large utility pole and installed it on the top of a nearby mountain. Television signals were received, and transported over a wire to his store. Once people saw these early results, television sales soared. It became his responsibility to improve the picture quality by using coaxial cable and self-manufactured "boosters" (amplifiers) to bring CATV to the homes of customers who bought television sets. And so, cable television was born in June 1948.
Further developments by Milton Shapp (later a governor of Pennsylvania) and Bob Tarlton improved cable television. Finally, in November 1972, Pay TV was born when HBO was first broadcast over the CATV system in Wilkes-Barre. This set the stage for cable television as we know it today.
This text paraphrased from History of Cable TV