Philo T. Farnsworth

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Who invented television?

Philo T. Farnsworth

Kid inventor Philo T. Farnsworth was only 14 years old when he came up with the idea for the television. Although his parents hoped that he would become a concert violinist, Farnsworth's interests lay in electronics and science. Before he invented the television, he outfitted his family with their first mechanical washing machine and sewing machine, and set up electric lights in the barn.

Farnsworth was born in 1906 in Utah, but lived on a farm in Rigby, Idaho, when he came up with the idea for television. He credits his high school chemistry teacher, Justin Tolman, for encouragment and special lessons that helped him develop his ideas.

Although Farnsworth developed his first working television at the age of 21, this kid inventor wasn't recognized as the father of television until many years later. He spent much of his life in a battle for patent rights with the giant corporation RCA. Early court decisions were for Farnsworth, but as he began to lose money and patents neared expiration, RCA won out.

Now Farnsworth is recognized as the inventor of television, a title he showed ambivalence towards in his later years. His invention may have become one of the most popular devices of modern life, but Farnsworth was disappointed at how it was used to waste time.



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