Who invented television
The invention of television was a lengthy, collaborative process—one that changed our lives forever.
We truly have become obsessed with our television sets—large screen, flat screed LCD, plasma—you name it and we've got to have it!
The earliest U.S. patent for an all-electronic television system was granted in 1927 to a young Philo T. Farnsworth, who transmitted a picture of a U.S. dollar sign using his so-called image dissector tube in the laboratories of the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company (Philco). However, an early milestone in the invention of television was the successful transmission of an image in 1884 by German inventor Paul Nipkow.
His mechanical system, known as the rotating or Nipkow disk, was further developed by Charles Francis Jenkins, who made a telecast of a short film to U.S. government officials in Washington, D.C., in 1925, and by Scottish scientist John Logie Baird, who broadcast a televised image in 1926 to an audience at the Royal Academy of Science in London. In 1928 Herbert Ives, an engineer working for AT&T, offered what was perhaps the most spectacular demonstration of mechanical television to that point, transmitting color images of a bouquet of roses and an American flag to two audiences simultaneously in New York City and Washington, D.C. However, the proven capability of the electronic tube system that had been developed for radio turned financial and scientific attention toward that technology and away from research on the rotating disk.
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.
The three radio technology powerhouses—General Electric, Westinghouse, and RCA—were cooperating closely with each other. General Electric and Westinghouse owned substantial shares of RCA stock, and the companies shared a collection of radio patents valuable to the development of television. In 1930 they consolidated their television research efforts at an RCA facility in New Jersey under the direction of Russian immigrant scientist Vladimir Zworykin. Historians usually credit Farnsworth, Zworykin, or both when questions arise about who invented television.
RCA unveiled television to the American public in grand style at the 1939 New York World's Fair, with live coverage of the fair's opening ceremonies. This included a speech by President Roosevelt—the first televised appearance of an American president. Daily telecasts were made from the RCA pavilion at the fair. Visitors were invited to experience television viewing and were given the opportunity to walk in front of television cameras and see themselves on monitors. With the American entry into World War II at the end of 1941, television experimentation in the United States was virtually suspended,
Four companies stood ready to initiate network television broadcasting in the United States immediately following the end of World War II in 1945. Two of the companies, NBC and CBS, had made vast fortunes from radio broadcasting and were well prepared to dominate the television industry. ABC had been created in 1943 when the government won a lawsuit forcing RCA to sell off one of its two national radio networks. When television broadcasts became a regular occurrence after the war, Farnsworth who invented television according to most people, was not involved. Instead, he devoted his time to trying to perfect the devices he had designed. In addition to his television system, Farnsworth invented the first simple electronic microscope and the cold cathode-ray tube, which was used in some early televisions. A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is an electron tube that converts electrical signals into a pattern on a screen and forms the basis of the television receiver. Unlike most cathode-ray tubes, cold cathode-ray tubes produce electrons without being heated.
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 television.