The Inventors of the Television

History of Television

The History of Color Television

Television Facts

Inventors of Television


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Television was not invented or created by any one person. There was no single ‘Eureka’ moment in the invention of television, instead there were many such moments for various people. The ideas and innovations of several people led to the invention of television. 

Although it is virtually impossible to say who invented television, there were significant contributions by some people in this field, because of which they have got the distinction of being called pioneers in the invention of TV. Here’s a look at some of these early inventors of TV.

  • Paul Nipkow: In 1884, Paul Nipkow was the first person to create a rotating disk as a mechanical scanner, which was the chief basis of mechanical television. He conceptualized the idea of the rotating disk that was used as a scanning device to scan images. One rotation of the disk was equal to one frame on television. The picture resolution was only 18 lines and thus very poor. Whether or not Paul actually developed a working model of a mechanical television is still unclear, but what is certain is that the Nipkow disk was the very foundation of mechanical television systems.
  • Charles Jenkins: This man is known as the father of mechanical television in America. Charles Jenkins and his association with television began in 1894, when he first described a method to electrically transmit images and pictures. By 1920, Jenkins had developed a device known as the prismatic rings, which was the main aspect of his Radiovisor television kits. This invention was basically a radio that had visual capabilities and projected pictures with a resolution of 40 to 48 lines. Charles Jenkins also started the first television station in Maryland.
  • John Logie Baird: Baird also used the Nipkow disk principle to invent a practical model of a mechanical television. He was the first person to succeed in transmitting live images on TV. It can be said that Baird did for British television what Jenkins did for American television. In 1925, Baird created the first televised image of a human face. For his many inventions since then, he is considered as one of the pioneers of the mechanical television system.
  • Alan A. Campbell-Swinton: Swinton, a British engineer, came up with the idea of using cathode ray tubes in the invention of television. Although he envisaged the idea, he could not develop a working model of his ideas, which were eventually used by Vladimir K. Zworykin and Philo T. Farnsworth to create practical systems of electronic television.
  • Philo Farnsworth: Philo was an American inventor who was born on August 19, 1906, in Utah. When Philo was in high school, he experimented with transmission of TV images and became keenly interested in electronic television invention. Farnsworth is the inventor of the dissector tube, which is still the foundation of all electronic televisions. Vladimir Zworykin, the inventor of the iconoscope in 1923 and the kinescope in 1929, is said to have been inspired in his creations from the designs of Philo Farnsworth.

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