Summarized by Leena Booth
Mormon Television Inventor Finally Gets Recognition
Salt Lake Tribune 20Mar00 P2
By Vince Horiuchi: Salt Lake Tribune
In 1921, Philo T. Farnsworth, a Mormon farmboy from Beaver, Utah, conceived
the idea of television. Fourteen-year old Farnsworth was working on his
uncle's ranch in Rigby, Idaho when it came to him. He'd been thinking about
the possibility of sending electronic pictures for some time, said his widow,
Elma Farnsworth. But he couldn't figure out how to get the picture scanned
and transmitted. The idea that hit him as he worked on the ranch that day was
that the picture could be scanned and sent line by line, instead of all at
once. This was the thing that had been holding the industry up. Thus, the
idea became a reality and television was born.
For decades, Radio Corporation of America (RCA), claimed that their
engineers, and not Farnsworth, had solved the TV puzzle. In the end,
Farnsworth beat RCA and received the patent, but he was prevented by RCA and
their vast resources from reaping any of the financial rewards. He died in
1971, relatively unknown and bankrupt.
Only now is he gaining some recognition for his invention. He was given an
honorary Emmy, his statue was erected in Utah and Washington , D.C. The peak
of a mountain in Utah, where the state's television antennas sit was named
after him, and the US Postal Service commemorated him with a stamp in 1983.
Last year, Time declared him one of the 20 most
important scientists and thinkers of the 20th century. U.S. News &
World Report called him one of the world's greatest inventors,
alongside the Wright brothers and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Brigham Young University has even made a stage play of his life called "A
Love Affair with Electrons."