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Philo T. Farnsworth


This statue of Philo T. Farnsworth was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Utah in 1990. Farnsworth is known as the "Father of Television."

James R. Avati

Given by Utah in 1990
Emancipation Hall
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Philo T. Farnsworth

Philo T. Farnsworth was born on August 19, 1906, on Indian Creek in Beaver County, Utah. His parents expected him to become a concert violinist, but his interests drew him to experiments with electricity. At the age of 12, he built an electric motor and produced the first electric washing machine his family had ever owned.

Farnsworth is called "the father of television" for his invention of an early electronic television system, which he first visualized when he was in high school. He transmitted his first electronic television picture in 1927. Although he won an early patent for his image dissection tube, he lost later patent battles to RCA. He received some 160 patents during his career for many important inventions, which played roles in the development of radar, the infra-red night light, the electron microscope, the baby incubator, the gastroscope, and the astronomical telescope.

Farnsworth died on March 11, 1971, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Television receivers in production at that time carried approximately 100 of his patents.

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Last Updated: February 24, 2014