A TELEVISION is something we all take for granted these days – with over 1.7 billion households worldwide owning one.
But just where did the humble TV come from? And who invented the very first one?
Who invented the first TV?
The first ever TV set was invented by Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, and debuted in the mid 1920s.
It was a mechanical TV, and nothing like the ones we know today.
It was made of an old hat box, a tea chest, old bike light lenses, needles, scissors, glue and ceiling wax.
It was called a televiser, and created moving images on a screen via a rotating mechanism, at five pictures per second.
The first image it showed was the head of Stooky Bill, a ventriloquist's dummy.
This was followed, accidentally, by an image of an office worker named William.
Although Baird's TV was an ingenious invention, there were at least 50 inventors around the world working on their own version of the first TV in the 1920s.
Baird's invention was superseded within a decade by the electric version of the TV.
He went on to invent the first publicly demonstrated colour TV system, and on July 3, 1928, he demonstrated the world's first colour transmission.
Baird also made the world's first colour over-the-air broadcast on February 4, 1938.
When was the first TV invented?
John Logie Baird’s televiser was formally demonstrated in 1926, but Stooky Bill’s head was televised in 1925, on October 2.
Around the same time, other inventors were working on their ideas for a fully electric television.
Vladimir K. Zworykin had applied for a patent for an electron scanning tube in 1923 – but could not get his television to work until 1934.
Meanwhile, Philo Farnsworth demonstrated the first successful electrical television transmission in 1927.
The first electric model won a face off against Baird’s machine in 1935, and the mechanical television stopped being made in 1937.
Next, a legal battle was fought for the patent priority of the electrical television.
Zworykin worked for the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which wanted to claim rights and royalties for the invention in the late 1930s.
But after a court battle, patent priority was given to Farnsworth.
Who was Philo Farnsworth?
Philo Taylor Farnsworth holds the patent priority for the first fully functioning electronic television.
He was born in 1906 to a family of farmers living in Idaho.
He is said to have fit the stereotype of an inventor pretty well, and declared inventing as his ambition aged six.
It is believed Farnsworth drew his inspiration for the electrical transmission of pictures at age 14, from the neat furrows of potato fields.
He realised that pictures could be broken into precise parts, sent on airwaves and reassembled at the other end.
Zworykin is said to have copied designs for the electron tube from Farnsworth to create the television for David Sarnoff’s company RCA.
With Sarnoff’s wealth and power behind it, the RCA forced Farnsworth’s television company out of business and Farnsworth had a nervous breakdown.
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