Fascinating facts about Philo T. Farnsworth
inventor of Television in 1927.
invent. First to patent. First practical. Entrepreneur.
1906 in Beaver,
1971 in San Francisco, California
Taylor Farnsworth, American inventor and pioneer in television technology. Farnsworth
developed a television system complete with receiver and camera, but he failed to produce
his system commercially.
Farnsworth was born in
Beaver, Utah. His family moved to Rigby, Idaho, when he was 11 years old, where Farnsworth
began experimenting with electricity. In 1920, when Farnsworth was 14, he showed his high
school chemistry teacher a design he had made for an electronic television. The next year
Farnsworth entered Brigham Young University as a special freshman. Farnsworth soon left
school and worked at odd jobs until he met a willing investor who lent him money to start
building his television.
The television systems
being experimented with at that time consisted of a system of spinning disks with holes
punched in them and mirrors designed to convert light to electricity. These disks and
mirrors could give only poor resolution. Farnsworth called his device an image dissector
because it converted individual elements of the image into electricity one at a time. He
replaced the spinning disks with cesium, an element that emits electrons when exposed to
light. Farnsworth applied for a patent for his image dissector in 1927. The development of
the television system was plagued by lack of money and by challenges to Farnsworth's
patent from the giant Radio Corporation of America (RCA). He spent his career as head of
the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation, which he founded in 1929.
In 1934, the British
communications company British Gaumont bought a license from Farnsworth to make systems
based on his designs. In 1939, the American company RCA did the same. Both companies had
been developing television systems of their own and recognized Farnsworth as a competitor.
World War II (1939-1945) interrupted the development of television. When television
broadcasts became a regular occurrence after the war, Farnsworth was not involved.
Instead, he devoted his time to trying to perfect the devices he had designed.
Farnsworth also worked
as a consultant in electronics and later as a researcher in atomic energy. He conducted
research on radar and on nuclear energy. Farnsworth held 165 patents, mostly in radio and
Invention of Television from The Great Idea Finder
from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Stories of Twenty American Kid Inventors
by Tom Tucker, Richard Loehle / Paperback - 144 pages / Sunburst (1998)
The stories of twenty ingenious young Americans who have filed patents with the
United States Patent Office, including Chester Greenwood who invented ear muffs, Ralph
Samuelson, originator of water-skiing, and Vanessa Hess who created colored car wax
Vision: Romance and Discovery on the Invisible Frontier (Limited Availability.)
by Elma G. Farnsworth / Hardcover (August 1990) / Pemberly Kent Pub
Want to know more about Philo T. Farnsworth then read this book by his wife. This is Elma
Farnsworth's personal account of the life she shared with one of this century's most
inventive scientists. Filled with intimate details, this is the book that Mrs. Farnsworth
spent 15 years compiling and writing in order to "set the record straight."
TV's Forgotten Hero: The Story of Philo Farnsworth
by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson / Library
Binding (October 1996) / Carolrhoda Books
Interestingly reconstructing the drama of Farnsworth's life, McPherson
incorporates anecdotes that personalize the precocious youth and inventive adult. A
generous supply of photographs punctuates a very readable biography.
The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of
by Evan I. Schwartz / Paperback - 352 /
Perennial; (May 13, 2003)
Vividly written and based on original research, including interviews with surviving
Farnsworth family members, The Last Lone Inventor tells the story of the struggle between
two utterly mismatched but equally determined adversaries, one a genius inventor and the
other, a diabolically clever businessman, and how this fight symbolized a turning point in
the culture of innovation.
Farnsworth: The Father of Television
by Donald G. Godfrey, Christopher H. Sterling / Hardcover - 307 pages (August 2001) / Univ
of Utah Pr
The only competition he faced was RCA and RCA tried to stop him. What followed were
years of intense work and bitter frustrations. But in the end, Fransworth was proven to be
the creator of television. Although forgotten today, this biography brings back to the
public the importance of Philo T. Farnsworth and how the technology he developed back in
the 1920s is till used today.
The Boy Genius
and the Mogul: The Untold Story of Television
by Daniel Stashower / Hardcover: 288 pages / Broadway Books; ISBN: 0767907590; (April 9,
The book jacket asserts that it will tell the story of television's "real"
inventor, Philo T. Farnsworth, a 14-year-old Idaho farm boy.
ON THE SCREEN:
Television - Window to the World
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
/ Also VHS
Chronicles the incredible story of television, from the vision of Philo
Farnsworth, a Utah farm boy who developed the first working system in
1925, to the technological breakthroughs that are transforming the
medium as we head into the 21st century.
ON THE WEB:
Invention Dimension -
Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual
awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
Featured Farnsworth for his invention of the Electronic Television.
Inventors Hall of Fame
Located at Inventure Place, the online home of creative minds. Philo Farnsworth
was inducted in 1984 for his Television System, Patent Number 1,773,980.
The Farnsworth Chronicles
A true and compelling story of the forgotten genius who invented electronic
The online version is your gateway to 16,000 abriged references, articles and
Historian Leonard J. Arrington credits Farnsworth with 150 U.S. patents
and "more than 100 foreign patents on various foreign inventions."
(URL: www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/farnsworthp/farnsworthp.htm )
A listing of the patents issued to Philo Farnsworth at this site dedicated to his memory.
Engineer - Philo Farnsworth
The key to the television picture tube came to him at 14, when he was still a farm boy,
and he had a working device at 21.From Time Magazine: 100 Greatest Scientists &
Thinkers Lots of COOKIES.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Farnsworth held 165 patents, mostly in radio
- Farnsworth invented the Isolette, an enclosed, sterile crib
for isolating premature babies too frail to survive in a normal environment.
- He developed a radar system used by the military.
- He perfected an Iatron, which assisted air traffic controllers
in monitoring aircraft.
- He spent his later years researching the peaceful uses of
Sources in BOLD Type
October 9, 2006.
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
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