Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Inventor Of Television

On September 7, 2002, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the invention on modern television broadcasting. Philo Farnsworth is the first inventor of television because he was inventor of the electron beam device that scanned an image at 8.000 dots per inch and transmitted it to a receiving device that then converted it back into an image and displayed it on a screen for viewing, His device could transmit images at 20 images (frames) a second which could accurately record and display motion. Farnsworth demonstrated this device in 1927. He received a patent for it in 1930. Farnsworth, the first inventor of television, was 21 years old.

But another inventor named Vladimir Zworykin, an employee of RCA, had patented a device called the RCA iconoscope in 1925 that was basically a very primitive video camera. After Farnsworth�s successful demonstration, David Sarnoff, president of RCA, immediately sued Farnsworth, the first inventor of television, for patent infringement. Sarnoff didn�t want to have to pay Farnsworth a royalty for his invention, especially when he owned a patent for a similar device.

When Farnsworth, the first inventor of television, was 14, the world knew that if a picture could be transmitted frame by frame, the human eye would see it as moving as long as enough frames were sent fast enough. The existing technology was based on breaking up the picture using mechanical disks with holes drilled in concentric patterns that would spin and capture the light coming off the object. The light was sent to a selenium device connected to a device that could turn the light into sound and it was broadcast to a receiver where the process was reversed and the picture projected onto a screen.

The technology worked but it had a serious limitation. The amount of light needed for the mechanical devices to work generated so much heat, it wasn�t practical to use with living subjects. Actors could only safely stay near the lights for a few minutes at a time. The cathode Ray Tube had already been invented and young Farnsworth was convinced that it was the solution to the problem. While plowing the family field he realized that a picture could be scanned line by line similar to the rows in the field. He made a sketch of his camera tube when he was 15 years old that he gave to his science teacher. His teacher kept the original sketch and produced it years later to help Farnsworth, the first inventor of television, to win his legal battle with RCA.

By the time the World War II was over and television became the thing to have, Farnsworth�s patents were about to expire and he sold his patents and Farnsworth, the first inventor of television, devoted the rest of his life to the study of nuclear fusion.

The thing that is really puzzling is why RCA didn�t just buy Farnsworth�s patents and then develop the commercial applications for television. After all, Farnsworth was the first inventor of television, not a businessman and eventually did sell his patents. Sarnoff spent millions to have himself and Zworykin declared the first inventor of television. I guess some people just have very serious ego problems.

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