10 Facts About Philo Farnsworth

Philo Farnsworth, "Father of the Television"
Philo Farnsworth, “Father of the Television”

The television is an item that is now found in almost every home in American. It brings us information about the world around us and to keeps us entertained. Philo Farnsworth invented the electronic television.

1. Inventor of the Television

There were actually several people who contributed to the invention of the television, but the one most often given credit for inventing the television is Philo Farnsworth. Vladimir Zworykin also invented and patented a television set, but it was different than the one that was created by Farnsworth.

2. First Workign Prototype

Farnsworth created the first working prototype of the electric television in 1928, where Zworykin’s was a different technology which combined mechanical and electronic means.

3. A Bright Young Man

Philo, a very bright young man, began working on his invention when he was only 14 years old and his entirely electronic technology was considered the better of the two different technologies created.


4. RCA Corporation

The RCA Corporation offered to purchase and finance all the development of the television that Farnsworth was making but he rejected their proposal and decided to work on his own. RCA was the dominating company in the radio industry at the time and it controlled all of the significant patents for the technology. It was a very important decision that Farnsworth decided not to sell the rights of the television to RCA.

5. Working Independently

Instead of working with RCA, Farnsworth decided to work with several private investors to help him further develop his ideas and to market them to the public. Though the investors often had financial struggles that would have not been a problem for RCA, they were able to stay the course and successfully refine his ideas.

6. Lawsuit

RCA was disappointed that Farnsworth decided not to work with them and filed lawsuits against him stating that it was Zworykin, who worked for RCA, who invented the television, not Farnsworth. The action was viewed by many as malicious and it was understood that Farnsworth was in a significant position of power with his idea. Their objective was to either force Farnsworth to go bankrupt or to sell his ideas and patents to them.

7. Partnership With The BBC

Farnsworth developed good partnerships with the BBC in England and was able to stave off RCA, winning the fight against them.

8. Protecting His Ideas and Inventions

Philo Farnsworth fought throughout his life to protect his ideas and inventions. However, he didn’t have much interest in television and what was broadcast. His son, Kent, summarized his father’s views on television as follows: “there’s nothing on it worthwhile, we’re not going to watch it in this household and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet”.

9. Picture Transmission

Farnsworth attended Brigham Young University in Utah where he did a lot of the research on picture transmission that was applied to his television technology. The research that he did plays a daily role in the lives of millions, maybe billions all over the world.

10. Co-Founder Croker Research Laboratories

Farnsworth co-founded Crocker Research Laboratories in 1926 and the name of the company was eventually changed to Farnsworth Television, Inc. He also had a television and radio corporation that was founded in 1938.

Cite This Page

"10 Facts About Philo Farnsworth." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 8 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/1201/philo-farnsworth/ >.

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