Perhaps none of you would guess that the person behind the first television set was a 15 year-old boy who hardly knew anything about electronics. It all began as a science project in the year 1922. He proposed the rather unthinkable idea to his science teacher who soon turned out to be one of his greatest supporters. When he moved to a farm in Idaho, his work began. The main idea of his project was to create something that could do what a radio did by using moving images. He drew inspiration from various science fiction books until one day he found the solution. He thought that if he could use a jar to capture light, it would work by transmitting electronic beams to form moving pictures. It turns out that the seemingly easy task took years to develop.
Young Inventor at Work
The young boy soon made it to Brigham Young University where he began learning about vacuum tubes and cathode ray tubes. Financial constraints kept him from conceptualizing his idea. Soon, he was forced to drop out of college. Fortunately he met a man named George Everson who was particularly interested in his idea for a television. The young man was initially given $6000.00 to develop his idea. Due to unforeseen circumstances, his project ended up costing more than expected. His boss helped him get more investors to participate in the project. In Sept. 3, 1928, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Phil’s television looked like “queer looking line image in a bluish light which smudges and blurs frequently, but the basic principle is achieved and perfection is now a matter of engineering.”
Evolution of the Tube
Though the young scientist’s plan was slowly being actualized, it took a lot of work for the new invention to turn out into the way it is today. The Great Depression posed an even greater challenge to the young inventor and his colleagues. There was less money to fund the project and less people to provide services. But against all odds, the dedicated team persisted with their project. Many of the young inventor’s supporters agreed to donate funds to help him continue with his project. Once the invention was complete, the young inventor now had to contend with patent issues. But they were soon able to sort things out to form a company called Farnsworth Television and Radio Corp. Unfortunately the Second World War posed as another barrier to the progress of the company. The demand for television sets skyrocketed but the company was hardly able to keep up. With all the trouble the company went through, he wondered if his invention was even worth it. But when the first man on the moon was witnessed throughout the world with his invention, he knew it was all worth it.
The Man Behind It All
Philo T. Farnsworth was the man behind it all. What began as an idea for a science project became a revolutionary piece of equipment. He gave us what we know today as the television. Philo T. Farnsworth died in 1971. He was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Greatest Scientists and Thinkers of the 20th Century.