Another Magical Tee Vee Moment ► Philo T. Farnsworth

Dateline September 7, 1927 – On this day Philo Taylor Farnsworth demonstrated his radical new invention: electronic television. Prior to this all televisions (which were still in the experimental stage) used a clunky mechanical system with a rotating disk. Farnsworth’s radical design used image dissection, an electronic scanning of a series of lines. He was only twenty-one.

More amazingly, he came up with the idea when he was just a 14-year old farm boy. The brainstorm came to him while plowing a field; the plow moves across a field, then back the other way for the next row. He drew his idea on a chalkboard for his science teacher John Tolman, who was so impressed with it that he made a contemporaneous sketch of it. This proved fortuitous years later when he was sued by RCA over patent infringment. The teacher’s sketch made in 1922 won the case for Farnsworth.

Indeed it was Another Magical Tee Vee Moment. Here’s just one more:

Electronic television is no longer with us, having gone the way of the horse and buggy. A whole generation has now grown up viewing tee vee on a cathode ray tube that necessarily made the living room tee vee deep in dimension. Now tee vees can be hung on a wall like a painting.



About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.