Philo Farnsworth Facts and Biography

Philo Farnsworth

Philo Farnsworth Biography Summary: Philo Farnsworth (1906 - 1971) was famous for his many contributions to early television innovations. His first truly exceptional invention was the creation of the video camera tube otherwise known as the all-electronic image pickup device. Later on he developed a nuclear fusion device known as the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor which used inertial electrostatic confinement.

Philo Farnsworth would also develop the “circular sweep” radar display which made it possible to safely control air traffic from the ground which would become the archetype for today’s air traffic control system. During his lifetime he listed over one hundred and sixty nine United States and foreign patents.

Philo Farnsworth Fact Sheet:  Who was Philo Farnsworth? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Philo Farnsworth.



Facts about Philo Farnsworth


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Philo Farnsworth Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1906 - 1971 *** Full Name: Philo Taylor Farnsworth *** Occupation: American Inventor and Television Pioneer *** Date of Birth: Philo Farnsworth was born on August 19th 1906 *** Place of Birth: Philo Farnsworth was born near Beaver, Utah, USA *** Family background: His father was Lewis Edwin Farnsworth and his mother was Serena Amanda Bastian. His parents were both Mormon’s and he was the oldest of five children. They lived in a log cabin built by Philo’s father before the family moved to a farm owned by a family member near Rigby in Idaho *** Early life and childhood: He grew up on the family farm with his parents and siblings *** Education: Philo Farnsworth was educated locally at Rigby High School and later attended Brigham Young High School *** Philo Farnsworth died on March 11,1971

Philo Farnsworth Fact 1: Philo Farnsworth was born on August 19th 1906 and during the 20th century period in history when there were world changing events happening including the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 2: When the family moved to their new home, young Philo was extremely excited to see that they farm house was already fitted with electricity and had a Delco generator which provided power both the lighting in the house and farm machinery.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 3: As a young student he was quick to learn mechanical skills and electrical technology.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 4: Philo Farnsworth seemed to develop a natural inclination towards repairing electrical appliances and even turned his mother’s washing machine from a hand powered machine to an electrical one.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 5: After his first telephone call with a relative some distance away he was completely hooked on the electronics of the device and was totally delighted when he found a hoard of technological magazines in the attic.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 6: While at school he also found he had an aptitude towards physics and chemistry.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 7: He sought advice from his science teacher, Justin Tolman, on diagrams and sketches he had been working on for the development of an electric television. His teacher was completely encouraging.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 8: Some years later one of his drawing would later become used in an patent interference case between Farnsworth and Radio Corporation of America.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 9: The family moved to Provo in Utah in 1923 and Philo was able to attend Brigham Young High School.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 10: Sadly the following year in January of 1924 his father died of pneumonia and as the eldest son it fell to Philo Farnsworth to look after his family but still managed to remain in school and he graduated in July of 1924.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 11: He was fortunately still to be able to attend Brigham Young University.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 12: Later in 1924 he was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis as the second highest scoring candidate in the country but with an eye on his future in television projects he applied for an honorable discharge because he didn’t want the government to own his patents as they would if he remained in the military. As the eldest son of a fatherless family he was granted the discharge on honorable grounds.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 13: While working and taking care his family Philo Farnsworth befriended Cliff Gardener, the brother of Elma “Pem” Gardener whom he would later marry.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 14: While in Salt Lake City he attended the University of Utah job placement service where he met Leslie Gorrell and George Everson both from San Francisco and philanthropists who became interested in Farnsworth’s research and agreed to back him.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 15: He married Pem and they moved to California where he continued his work on his electronic television.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 16: By 1927 he had demonstrated an image dissector camera tube which transmitted the first image. The next step was to demonstrate his system to the press followed by the public in August of 1934 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 17: In 1931 RCA offered to buy his patents on condition that he become an employee of theirs and Farnsworth refused. RCA would later bring claims against Farnsworth without the presence of any evidence.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 18: Farnsworth was in England raising funds for his legal suits against RCA when he met John Logie Baird with whom he collaborated with briefly.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 19: By 1933 his relationship with Philco was over, as a result of being denied the previous year, the time off to travel back to Utah to bury his son.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 20: In 1938 the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation in Fort Wayne, Indiana was established and would later be bought by International Telephone and Telegraph and while working for them developed the circular sweep radar display which was revolutionary for the safe air traffic control.

Philo Farnsworth Fact 21: Philo Farnsworth died of pneumonia on March 11,1971 aged sixty four. His body was laid to rest in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Influence & Legacy of Philo Farnsworth: Collier’s Weekly wrote "One of those amazing facts of modern life that just don't seem possible – namely, electrically scanned television that seems destined to reach your home next year, was largely given to the world by a nineteen-year-old boy from Utah ... Today, barely thirty years old he is setting the specialized world of science on its ears."

Short Facts about Philo Farnsworth for Kids
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