Today in 1927, 21-year-old Philo T. Farnsworth succeeded in transmitting through purely electronic means an image of a line with a device he called an “image dissector.”
From the IEEE Global History Network:
“Farnsworth’s Image Dissector worked pretty well, but it was not sensitive enough to capture scenes unless there was lots of light. Very hot and bright arc lights sometimes had to be used, and these made it hard for people to stand near the camera. Although Farnsworth improved the tube later and showed how it could be used for TV, his competitors at RCA, most notably Vladimir Zworykin, were working on a different tube they call the Iconoscope. When commercial broadcasts began in the late 1930s, Farnsworth’s tube was left behind. However, it had certain advantages over the Iconoscope, and it remained in use for many years, but not for regular TV. There were certain uses of closed-circuit TV where an Image Dissector was useful, such as when engineers wanted to monitor the bright, hot interior of an industrial furnace.
Eventually, Farnsworth won a patent battle with RCA over his claim to have invented the first “all electronic” television camera, but that victory would have been more glorious if his technology had become the standard in TV broadcasting.”
Today in 1957, the original version of the animated NBC peacock logo, used to denote programs “brought to you in living color,” made its debut at the beginning of “Your Hit Parade.” Quoting Wikipedia: “In a 1996 videotaped interview by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Elma Farnsworth recounts Philo’s change of heart about the value of television, after seeing how it showed man walking on the moon, in real time, to millions of viewers:
- Interviewer: The image dissector was used to send shots back from the moon to earth.
- Elma Farnsworth: Right.
- Interviewer: What did Phil think of that?
- Elma Farnsworth: We were watching it, and, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Phil turned to me and said, “Pem, this has made it all worthwhile.” Before then, he wasn’t too sure.
- In March 2013, Philo Farnsworth was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.