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The Greatest Inventor No One Has Ever Heard Of

By Tim Muprhy 1 years ago No comments

Philo Farnsworth is a name not many people know. He is the man who invented the television.

Farnsworth was born in 1906 in a log cabin in Utah. He was uncommonly bright and devoured everything
he could read and find on science and technology.

In the summer of 1921, while plowing his father's field, the fifteen year old Philo had a scientific epiphany.

He had been reading Einstein's theory on electrons and the photoelectric effect. It occured to him that the beams of electrons could be scanned onto a screen in a back and forth pattern, much in the same way as he was plowing hi father's field.

Within months of this epiphany, Farnsworth created a design to transmit images electronically. He made a sketch of it and showed it to his chemistry teacher, Justin Tolman.

Farnsworth did not have the money to create his invention. He left the idea alone and instead went on to finish high school, marry his sweetheart, and enrolled at Brigham Young University in Utah.

One day, Farnsworth fell into a chance cnversation with two young businessmen from San Francisco. These two men were so impressed with Farnsworth's idea of creating a televison that they offered to invest $6000 in support.

Farnsworth set up a small lab in San Francisco and began to work on his idea with the money invested.

By January of 1927, Farnsworth filed a patent for the Television. In September of that year, he was able to make the first ever Television image happen in his lab.

Farnsworth had technical and inventive skill. What he lacked was marketing skill.

Enter a man named David Sarnoff. Sarnoff's world was radio. He was the one man who could transform television from an interesting novelty into something that everyone would want to have within 10 feet from their sofa due to his great marketing personality.

Sarnoff made radio popular as a radio broadcaster because he decided that in order for people to want to buy a radio, they needed to want to hear what was on the radio. He realized that entertainment would sell. If people were entertained,they would want the gadget that was entertaining them.

He applied this concept when he discovered that Farnsworth invented the television.

In 1929, Sarnoff attended a conference of radio engineers in Rochester, NY. This is where he saw a presentation by a man named Vladimir Zworykin.

Zworykin had the same concept and idea to create television but he was missing a few specs to make it fully work. Sarnoff wanted to invest in this idea and patent it, only to find out that all the vital patents belonged to Farnsworth.

Sarnoff and Zworykin who both worked for RCA wanted to make the television in order to mass produce and sell them. But they could not do it without Farnsworth who owned the vital patents.

Zworykin decided to visit Farnsworth and pretend that RCA wanted to pay him to liscence his patents.So Farnsworth showed Zworykin every single detail and spec on how to make the television work.

Zworykin wrote down detailed notes upon his visit to Farnsworth and created televisions for RCA to produce and sell.

This sparked a lawsuit between RCA and Farnsworth for patent infringement. In 1935, the courts ruled in Farnsworth favor. He was ruled as the undisputed inventor of television.

When all was said and done,RCA paid Farnsworht 1 million dollars and a royalty on every television sold.

However, Farnsoworth's most valueble patents ran out in the late 1940's just as television was about to take off. He never received the full wealth he was rightly entitled to.

In 1950, Sarnoff secured a promise from the Radio and Television Manufacturers Association of America that it would refer to him hence-fort as "the Father of Television" and Vladimir Zworykin as the "Inventor of Television." Farnsworth was effectively expunged from the record. This is why you have never heard of him.

Sadly, Farnsworth retired to Maine and became an alcoholic. He died in March 1971, drunk, depressed and forgotten.

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