80 years ago today, on September 7, 1927, 21-year-old television inventor Philo Farnsworth transmitted his first electronic television image using an image dissector camera tube created in his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. The first image, a single straight line (on a glass slide), was one of the early successes in the race to create electronic television.
In her Archive of American Television interview conducted in 1996, Farnsworth’s widow, Elma Farnsworth discusses her life with Philo Farnsworth and the trials and tribulations of his invention of electronic television. Click here to view Elma Farnsworth’s interview segments.
Elma Farnsworth (1908-2006) was interviewed for seven hours in Salt Lake City, UT. Farnsworth discussed at length Philo’s first television invention – the Image Dissector Tube – and the excitement of seeing its first moving image. While Philo toiled to create the first electronic television, RCA and Vladimir Zworykin worked on a similar invention, both trying to finish before the other. Farnsworth talked about the heated competition and the ensuing patent fights between Philo and General David Sarnoff, then President of RCA. The interview was conducted by Jeff Kisseloff on June 25, 1996.