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Philo Taylor Farnsworth: Inventor of Television
Philo Taylor Farnsworth, the man behind the television was born 19 August 1906 in Beaver Utah, to Lewis Edwin and Serena Bastian Farnsworth. His natural curiosity on how things work was first noticed by his dad. Philo’s amazement with the telephone which allowed him to talk to a relative who lives miles away stirred his curiosity and resolute himself of becoming an inventor after his father explained that men like Bell and Edison are called inventors because they were the ones who invented new things—i.e. Bell invented the telephone and Edison invented the light bulb (“Philo Taylor Farnsworth.: Mathematician, Inventor, Father of Television”).
At the Age of 11, after he and his whole family moved to a relative’s farm, Philo began to experiment with electricity. He was a keen observant and would examine how electricity can help in various tasks that people in the farm would perform. At 13, after finding a technical manual for the Delco power system, the utility company of the farm, Philo was able to apply electricity in operating equipments in the house such as washing machine, sewing machine, barn lights & the farm’s generator using only spare parts (“Philo Taylor Farnsworth: Mathematician, Inventor, Father of Television” & “Science Hero: Philo T. Farnsworth”).
The Making of a Scientist
To expound his knowledge on science and technology, Philo began reading science magazines and books. And at the age of 13, he was a 'self-thought electrical engineer.' He began fixing equipments in the farm that no one else could. Through his research, he also came upon an article about an innovative idea that would be able to transmit electronic pictures. It was just natural that his innate curiosity leads him to attempt and build one himself (“Science Hero: Philo T. Farnsworth”).
A key part of the success of Philo was his chemistry teacher and mentor at Rigby High school, Justin Tolman. With his guidance, Philo was able to draft the blue print for an electric television. With Tolman's help, Philo was able to acquire his knowledge in science through advance courses and access to books. It was also Tolman who have helped Philo won a patent against RCA for the rights of the television system (“Philo Taylor Farnsworth.: Mathematician, Inventor, Father of Television”).
In 1923 however, Philo and his family moved to Utah and in 1924, he graduated from Brigham Young high school. He then enrolled in Brigham Young University in the fall of 1924. But after he finished his second year, he left school due to the death of his father. But before he left, he met Pem Gardner, who soon would be his wife and ardent supporter of his innovative ideas (“Hall of Fame: Philo Taylor Farnsworth”).
As the oldest son, Philo became the bread-winner of his family. As such he worked various odd jobs on logging crews; repaired and delivered radios; sold electrical products door to door; and worked on the railroad as an electrician. He also has a brief stint in the military for a more steady income but left after a few months to pursue his dream of becoming an inventor (“Philo Taylor Farnsworth.: Mathematician, Inventor, Father of Television”).
07 September 1927, at just 21 of age, Philo demonstrated, for the first time, his invention that made it possible to transmit electrical image. “Farnsworth replaced the spinning disks and mirrors with the electron itself, an object so small and light that it could be deflected back and forth within a vacuum tube tens of thousands of times per second. Farnsworth was the first to form and manipulate an electron beam, and that accomplishment represents a quantum leap in human knowledge that is still in use today” (Reconciling the Historical Origins of Electronic Video).
In 1938, a patent right battle ensued between Philo and RCA but Tolman was able to prove that the television system was Farnsworth’s idea. Fransworth, the clever man that he was, filed for patents for all of his inventions including the camera tube and the television system as well. (“Science Hero: Philo T. Farnsworth”,“Scientists & Thinkers: Philo Farnsworth”, and “Reconciling the Historical Origins of Electronic Video”).
Brigham Young High School. Philo Taylor Farnsworth.: Mathematician, Inventor, Father of Television. N.d. Web. 08 November 2009. <http://abc.eznettools.net/byhigh/History/Farnsworth/PhiloT1924.html>
Dave. Science Hero: Philo T. Farnsworth. Science Heroes. 06 August 2004. Web. 08 November 2009. <http://www.myhero.com/myhero/hero.asp?hero=philoTFarnsworth>.
National Inventors Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame: Philo Taylor Farnsworth. 2002. Web. 08 November 2009. <http://www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/56.html>.
Postman, Neil. Scientists & Thinkers: Philo Farnsworth. Time. 29 March 1999. Web. 08 November 2009. <http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/farnsworth.html>.
Schatzkin, Paul. Reconciling the Historical Origins of Electronic Video. The Farnsworth Chronicle. 2001. Web. 08 November 2009. < http://www.farnovision.com/chronicles/tfc-who_invented_what.html>.