Philo T. Farnsworth

Inventor of Television


Philo Farnsworth was born 19 August, 1906 in Beaver, Utah, moving to Rigby, Idaho in 1918. He was a quick student in mechanical and electrical technology, fixing an electric motor and converting his mother's hand powered washing machine into an electric washing machine. He excelled in chemistry and physics at Rigby High School, there he showed his science teacher sketches of his idea for an electronic television, asking for advice. He moved to Provo, Utah in 1923, attending Brigham Young High School, graduating in 1924. He then attended Brigham Young University that year, there he met Elma “Pem” Gardner who he later married. His time at college was interrupted due to family responsibilities. He raised funds to go to San Francisco with his new wife in 1926, where he unveiled his first prototype, transmitting the first electronic television image in 1927. He joined Philco and moved to Philadelphia after refusing an offer to give the rights to his device to the Radio Corporation of America. In 1933, he left Philco creating his own company, the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation in 1938 at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Philo Farnsworth died on 11 March, 1971 from pneumonia.

The Television

Philo created his electronic television using an image dissector he sketched at Rigby High School. At the time there was only mechanical television that used spinning disks with punched holes and mirrors to convert light, Philo replaced the disks with cesium and eliminated the motor-generator, so it had no mechanical parts. The first image was a straight line the image dissector transmitted to a reciever in another room, the source of the image was a glass slide backlit by an arc lamp.