You look down at the tracks left by your tractor in the dirt.
If you are Philo T. Farnsworth, you think about electrons and magnetic deflection
and cathode ray tubes.
You imagine that light could be trapped
in a vacuum tube and then scanned,
one line-at-a-time, like rows in a field,
with a beam of electrons.
You are inspired to invent television.
Farnsworth “ I’ve Got a Secret” July 3, 1957 CBS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHlAr2hD2Qs
Philo T. Farnsworth All-American Boy Nomadic Family of Farmers An Outsider A Prodigy A Dreamer A Genius Farnsworth to his children: "There's nothing on it worthwhile, and we're not going to watch it in this household, and I don't want it in your diet, your intellectual diet."
Farnsworth Philo Taylor Farnsworth was born in a log cabin in Indian Creek Utah on August 19, 1906.
Farnsworth “ This place has electricity!” His family moved to Rigby, Idaho when Philo was 11. Hidden in the attic were stacks of science and radio magazines. His imagination was fired by Einstein and Marconi and the fantasies of science fiction writers. He began devising gadgets to hook up to the new generator, including a mechanism to run the family washing machine
1922 - Farnsworth draws this sketch for his high school science teacher, showing an optical image, an electrical image, an aperture, and magnetic coils -- the basic elements of his Image Dissector (camera) tube. The concept replaces all the spinning wheels and motors of the earlier concepts with the electron itself.
He is 14 years old.
Vladimir Zworykin 1923 - On the other side of the country, Vladimir Zworykin, working for Westinghouse applies for a patent for an electronic television system. The actual patent remains unissued - standard practice with inventions that cannot be "reduced to practice" - i.e. made to work
Vladimir Zworykin Russian Émigré Wealthy Highly Educated Highly Trained Experiments Extensively Funded Company Man "I hate what they've done to my child...I would never let my own children watch it."
Zworykin - Iconscope 1919 - Zworykin begins working for Westinghouse 1923 and 1925 - Vladimir Zworkin files for patents of his "Television Systems, ” describing cathode ray tubes as both transmitter and receiver. The devices are not successfully demonstrated. 1928 and 1931 - Patents are awarded.
In 1926 after Farnsworth had repaired George Everson's 1926 Chandler Roadster, Everson asked the young man what he planned to do with the rest of his life, and learned of his ideas for something called "television."
During an investor presentation, Farnsworth is asked if Vladimir Zworykin -- at Westinghouse -- hadn't filed a patent application for an electronic television system in 1923. "Yes, Farnsworth says yes, "but it doesn't work. ”
The tubes required by Farnsworth's work would stretch the art of glass blowing to its limit. His glass blower would prove to be indispensible.
Farnsworth January 1927 - Patent # 1,773,980 is filed. Claim 15: “ An apparatus for television which comprises means for forming an electrical image, and means for scanning each elementary area of the electrical image, and means for producing a train of electrical energy in accordance with the intensity of the elementary area of the electrical image being scanned. ”
1929 - RCA controls radio by owning everything, the transmitters, the studios, and the licenses to build radios. David Sarnoff has ensured that RCA owns all radio patents. No company can manufacture radios without paying a license fee to RCA.
1929 - Sarnoff meets with Zworykin and offers to finance his work to the tune of $100,000. Zworykin remains with Westinghouse until the middle of 1930, but he ’ s essentially working for RCA and Sarnoff.
April, 1930 - Zworykin visits Farnsworth, who believes him to be working for Westinghouse, a company with a history of licensing patents, and a potential customer of Farnsworth's patent portfolio. Running short on funds, Farnsworth is therefore very open with Zworykin, who may have been sent by Sarnoff.
When he is handed the completed Image Dissector tube, Zworykin says: "This is a beautiful instrument, I wish that I might have invented it."
1930 - David Sarnoff visits Farnsworth's laboratory in San Francisco; Farnsworth is out. He offers $100,000 to Everson for the whole enterprise. When Everson refuses, Sarnoff storms out saying "then there is nothing here we will need. ”
Farnsworth sails to England and meet John Logie Baird. After a demonstration, Baird is silent, realizing that mechanical television is finished. Baird purchases a license from Farnsworth, saving Farnsworth from bankruptcy.
1939 - The New York World ’s Fair. Sarnoff and RCA introduce television to the world. Farnsworth’s earlier exhibition is forgotten.
"We have added radio sight to sound." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVLejeO707Q
Farnsworth 1939: After seven years of crippling litigation, Farnsworth wins his case against RCA. In October, Sarnoff is forced to admit defeat. For the first time in RCA's history, royalties would be paid to an outside inventor. The story goes that the RCA lawyer has tears in his eyes as he signed the agreement.
Farnsworth Pyrrhic Victory - A victory gained at too great a cost. King Pyrrhus of Epirus gained victory over the Romans in 279 BC at the battle of Asculum. Pyrrhus ’ forces, although they won the battle, suffered severe losses of the elite of their army.
Farnsworth Farnsworth was shoved aside and RCA, the corporation, was the one that got the credit for developing and presenting television to the American people. Farnsworth's patents were set to make him a fortune, but just as television sales were about to take off, production was suddenly halted by the government. 1941. World War II lead to a four-year blackout for commercial TV. Television technology was needed for radar and defense research. Farnsworth ’ s company contributed to the war effort. His key patents would expire in 1947, and his hopes of making money from television ended.