Who Invented TV? - History of Television
There is controversy surrounding the invention of one of the most popular 21st century devices: the television.
The difficulty in deciding who invented the television (TV) centers on the fact that there were several discoveries or inventions all of which together added up to the making of the TV.
Paul Gottlieb Nipkow of Germany developed the "Nipkow disc", a rotating-disc technology which was capable of transmitting pictures via cable, as long ago as 1884. However, it was decades later in the 1920s that the Scots inventor John Logie Baird patented technology for using arrays of transparent rods for transmitting images to be delivered to and viewed on a television set.
Baird's 30-line images replaced back-lit silhouettes with reflections of light. Baird also made it clear that he based his patented technology on the inventions of Nipkow.
Baird transmitted the first televised pictures of moving objects in 1924, the first televised human face in 1925, and the first real-time moving object in 1926.
But it was electronics inventor Philo Farnsworth who is credited with inventing the first completely electronic television. In 1927 Farnsworth transmitted a television image (a dollar sign) comprising 60 horizontal lines--double the resolution achieved by Baird.
Philo Farnsworth would found Farnsworth Television, Inc. in 1929. In spite of that, Farnsworth insisted to his friends and family that "there's nothing on [the TV] worthwhile", and told his children "I don't want it in your intellectual diet."
However, the pioneering work of Joseph Henry and Michael Faraday with electromagnetism in 1831, the 1862 invention of the pantelegraph (allowing the transmission of still images via cable) by Abbe Giovanna Caselli, and other work by scientists and inventors George Carey, Sheldon Bidwell, Eugen Goldstein, and Bell and Edison, among some others, all led up to Nipkow's 1884 invention.
It was in 1938 that the direct forerunner to the modern analog signal TV was first demonstrated, when German engineer Werner Flechsig patented and unveiled his "shadow mask" color television.
In 1939, television was first demonstrated at the New York World's Fair and the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition. At the World's Fair that year, RCA's David Sarnoff showed the world the first televised Presidential speech--given by FDR--while showing off RCA's new line of television receivers.
According to an IEEE Milestone Plaque, it was between 1946 and 1950 that RCA Laboratories invented the world's first "electronic, monochrome compatible, color television system."
But it was in 1938 that the Dumont company began manufacturing TV sets, and soon enough they were the standard against which all other TV sets were measured. DuMont Laboratories had begun researching and developing cathode ray technology in 1931. The Dumont Television Network would become the world's first TV network in 1946. The network was primarily created in order to sell TV sets.
However, anticipating RCA, in 1940 CBS scientists under the aegis of Peter Goldmark created a mechanical color television system based on Baird's later designs. The Federal Communications Commission made the CBS color television technology the American national standard in October of 1950.
In 1946, Goldmark first showed his proprietary color TV system to the FCC. Goldmark's set worked by having a red, blue, and green wheel spin in front of a cathode ray tube.
By 1948, at least one million TV sets had been sold in the U.S., and by 1960 people could buy the Zenith Space Command, the first TV remote control invented by Robert Adler (allegedly to help people avoid having to be subjected to commercials). The ability to tune in UHF stations became federally mandated for TV sets by 1962, and by 1967 the vast majority of U.S. TV broadcasts included a color signal.
Today, the American public is preparing for all TV broadcasts to be made in federally mandated digital signals.
Indeed, the historical development of the TV is a complex series of events, and proclaiming any one man the TV set's inventor seems inaccurate at best.