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The Story Of Philo Farnsworth: The Kid Who Invented TV

Ever wondered what life before TV must have been like? No movies, no Internet, not even a radio sight – what did kids do for fun? One boy who lived at a time like this was Philo Taylor Farnsworth - and he is credited with inventing TV.


Philo lived in Utah in 1906 in a log cabin. He loved mechanical things like trains that pulled into the local station every so often. He often drew pictures of the insides of motors and other machines. He was also amazed by his neighbor’s new crank telephone and phonograph (an old-school record player). The people who invented these machines became his heroes.


One day Philo’s family decided to move to Idaho. As they traveled to their new home Philo looked up and saw his first power lines in the sky. In fact, the family’s new home was completely wired for electricity, unlike the old log cabin. A generator ran lights, a water heater, hay stacker, grain elevator and other farm equipment.


Checking out the attic of the new house Philo found a stack of old Popular Science magazines. He read all about magnetism, electricity and radios. One of the magazines mentioned a word he’d never heard before: “television.” It didn’t exist yet but scientists were racing to invent a machine that was kind of like a radio but sent pictures instead of sounds.


Philo Farnsworth

As Philo filled his head with ideas the old generator at his house kept breaking down. He loved talking to the repairman who came to fix it. Eventually, he learned enough to fix the generator himself. After that he spent a lot of spare time tinkering with broken motors, reels of wire and old tools, creating mechanical inventions and machines to help make his regular chores – like laundry – easier!


At 13 Philo entered one of his inventions in a contest. It was a lock that could be used on one of the new Ford automobiles to make them harder to steal. He won the contest and went on to think more about television – the machine everyone wanted to be the first to invent.


It was while he was plowing one of the fields on his family’s farm that a huge idea came to him. Looking at the straight rows of dirt he was making in the ground he suddenly saw how he could invent a television – by breaking down images into parallel lines of light, capturing them and transmitting them as electrons, then reassembling them on a screen for people to view.


But Philo’s plans would have to wait – high school started and the teenager got caught up in studying, especially in science class. But when his dad died he had to drop out of school and take on extra work fixing radios. When he shared his idea for a television with his new girlfriend, she encouraged him to make it happen.


Philo grew a moustache and started calling himself Phil to seem more grown up. He traveled to California to discuss his idea with two businessmen, who gave him $6,000 and one year to build a first model. After a few failed attempts and various other investors Phil finally made a TV set that worked. He gathered a group in his San Francisco office, turned on the TV and broadcast the very first image – his girlfriend, who had since become his wife. Phil Farnsworth was 22 years old at the time and, thanks to him, we have TV.


Pem Farnsworth

Video: How TV Works


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Random In The Forums

-Gwen9--
-Gwen9-- posted in New Users:
I commented Jordan about it. I found it a great idea. 
reply 9 minutes
Black_Rose_19
Black_Rose_19 posted in Debating:
Haha, I guess after looking at your facts, you win. I still am pretty bad at this, so I'm quick to give up, but you've actually successfully changed my opinion on this, so props to you. Well, that's what I get for messing with the master.
reply 10 minutes
naruto200
naruto200 posted in New Users:
Yeah, i'm not blaming you for that. Just, they might find it annoying. But kw should make a tutorial video for kw though. That would be so appreciated by new users.
reply 19 minutes
-Gwen9--
-Gwen9-- posted in New Users:
I don't mean for it to be spread out into posts, but there is a character limit. 
reply 26 minutes
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
"Black_Rose_19" wrote:I originally got this story from a source that most people wouldn't exactly call credible , a comedy/politics TV show, but after checking their sources, I believe I have a strong case with decently strong sources.  I hope so. I'm using the same source that John used for debate's sake.  "Black_Rose_19" wrote:You are incorrect when you said you'd only have to pay for labor and materials, as several other factors come into play. Factors...such as? "Black_Rose_19" wrote: Also, where I said 1000 feet, I very much apologize, more like 1000 miles. It should cost about 10 billion for the concrete panels, and although concrete is cheap, it's not dirt cheap, and 1000 miles of concrete will add up to a pretty good amount.  It's okay, I adjusted ## ####### to miles, but somehow still said feet. The same estimate I gave is found in the article, which is around eight million cubic yards of concrete. This would total out to roughly thirty two billion pounds of concrete, which totals out to 533 million bags of concrete, each weighing sixty pounds. The average cost of a sixty pound bag of concrete is $2.83, which we them multiply by 533 million to get 1.5 billion.  This is where I messed up. I used the standard price of unmixed concrete, when I needed to use the standard price of precast slabs. Oliver's source does the rest:  "A cement manufacturer said prices are now running $85 to $90 a cubic yard, so that works out to about $700 million just for the concrete" However, in an update, they nixed the math all together and went with an anonymous economist's unevidenced estimate:  "He worked through some of the math, though he did not want to be identified publicly. Roughly, he said a wall of this type would cost at least $25 billion" This is what John Oliver used on his show. As the unknown economist cites no reason for us to think that the cost would be anywhere near his estimate, I see no reason to think his estimate is valid.  So, effectively, we've reduced the cost from 3 billion to 700 million. Let's the keep the billion dollar safe fund though. Total so far: 1.7 Billion "Black_Rose_19" wrote:Next it should cost 5-6 billion dollars for steel columns to hold the panels, including labor. Really? Including labor? Fine with me. I'm honestly not sure how much steel would be needed for each panel, so I'll defer to this estimate.  Total Cost so far: 6.7 Billion "Black_Rose_19" wrote:Add another billion for concrete footing and foundations, and that's sixteen billion dollars. The Washington Post article included foundation in their total assessment of the concrete required. "Black_Rose_19" wrote:But, transport is required to inaccessible areas. It will cost about another 2 billion dollars to build roads that will allow 20 ton trucks to carry materials to the wall. At ten million dollars per mile, a road spanning the entire length of the wall would require ten billion dollars. Why do you think a fifth of this cost would be required?  The average cost of a road which would allow such transport is 5 million per mile. Let's overestimate the length that would be required to two hundred miles. That gets you to 1 billion.  Total cost so far: 7.7 Billion "Black_Rose_19" wrote:We also need engineering, design, and management, which brings us up to the magic number of 25 billion dollars, on average considering all factors. The Congressional Budget office also says that wall management costs will exceed the original cost to build the wall in as little as seven years. From your previous estimate of eighteen billion, I'll assume that you're factoring in seven billion dollars worth of engineering, design, and management? Why do you think it'll cost that much? To pay every engineer, designer, and manager who would ever work on the wall...I'd put aside about 1.5 billion. Total cost: 9.2 Billion Well what do you know. About a sixth of the annual trade deficit with Mexico, and almost a third of your original estimate.  "Black_Rose_19" wrote:With the Mexico paying for it part, as John Oliver, the host of this show, says, "People don't exactly love it when you make them pay for [expletive] they don't want." The current Mexican treasury secretary states, "Mexico, under no circumstance, is going to pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing." 2 former Mexican presidents that only recently left office also say, in a nutshell, that Mexico will never pay for the wall.  They won't love it, but they will pay for it. If they refuse, Trump plans to put a 35% tariff on all Mexican import. In other words, every company in Mexico will have to pay 35% the value of whatever they're bringing into The United States. Mexico will lose more money paying this tariff than they would by financing the wall, so either way the United States gets the money it needs to build the wall from Mexico. 
reply 39 minutes