Television was not so much an invention as the placing of existing parts into a system. For instance, by 1910 most the components were in use, including the cathode ray tube and the amplifying triode. By
the 1920s some fifty inventors were working on the principles of television. But the successful inventor was Scot, John Logie Baird. His breakthrough came when he remodelled the spinning disc at the heart of the system, invented by Paul Nipkow in 1883. The original disc broke down an image scanned through a number of holes into horizontal lines. But the picture produced was of pure quality. Baird’s innovation was to replace the holes with lenses. By 1925 he was able to mount the first demonstration of television at Selfridges in London.
Television still had many problems to overcome. US inventor Philo T Farnsworth realized the importance of electronics to television, demonstrating the first model with no moving parts in 1929. Vladimir Zworykin, a Russian who ended up in the US, went on to invent an electronic receiver to allow television to receive pictures, and the iconoscope, the forerunner of the television camera, which allowed images to be made.
These inventions affirmed that television could be a practical system, recording, transmitting and receiving images in a systematic way. And at an EMI factory in Middlesex, England a team led by Isaac Shoenberg developed the first practical television camera in the 1930s called the emitron. By the 1950s this new novelty invention took off, leading to the digital television age of today.
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