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date: 05 March 2021

Farnsworth, Philo Taylorlocked

(19 August 1906–11 March 1971)
  • Joseph H. Udelson


Farnsworth, Philo Taylor (19 August 1906–11 March 1971), electronic television inventor, was born in Indian Creek (now Manderfield), near Beaver, Utah, the son of Lewis Edwin Farnsworth and Serena Amanda Bastian, farmers. After moving several times, the family eventually settled on a ranch near Rigby, Idaho. As a boy, Farnsworth became fascinated by the photoelectric cell and the cathode-ray tube, and at the age of fifteen he devised a system for the all-electronic transmissions of images over distances (that is, television) by combining the two devices. In February 1922 he showed a sketch of his design to his high school chemistry teacher, who provided key testimony more than a decade later in a television priority patent suit Farnsworth launched against the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). After high school Farnsworth joined the navy but was discharged on the advice of the base chaplain so that he might continue his academic studies. To support himself while pursuing his engineering training, Farnsworth established a radio repair shop in Salt Lake City in 1926 in partnership with Clifford Gardner. Their small business enabled him to enroll in courses at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. On 27 May 1926 he married Elma “Pem” Gardner, sister of his partner. The couple had four children....

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