A spider web of events – television history

A spider web of events – television history

Unlike all other inventions, television history involves several scientists who all made significant contributions, which were pivotal for the idea of having an electronic device reproduce moving images to materialize. Hence, the invention of the television cannot be credited to one person alone.

Television history
Notably, without the discovery of electromagnetism by Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry in 1831, the television device would not have been conceived. The television in itself consequently utilizes electromagnetism to produce and receive images from a broadcasting source. In 1862, Abbe Giovanna Caselli invented the Pantelegraph that enabled him to send a still image through wires. In late 1870’s, Eugen Goldstein’s description of the “cathode rays”, or the light emitted when electric currents are induced into a vacuum tube, was consequential to realize the device.

The first television set ever designed was a mechanical device, which was far different from modern television. The German scientist Paul Nipkow came up with the rotating disc technology (the Nipkow disc) able to transmit images through the use of wires in 1884 but was eventually discarded in television history when other inventors developed the electronic systems.

Karl Braun used the idea of the “cathode ray” to create what can be considered a modern television system with a picture tube, and called it the “cathode ray tube (CRT) oscilloscope” in 1897. Russian inventor, Vladimir Zworykin in 1929 likewise designed his own “cathode ray tube” called the kinescope, which was monumental in laying the foundations for the modern television system. His invention of the iconoscope in 1923 revealed the idea of a tube used in transmitting television images. This idea within the television history became the prototype of modern television cameras.

Of course, the early television systems produced only black and white pictures. However, the theory to reproduce colored images was a German patent in 1904. Zworykin filed a disclosure for this patent but failed to realize the concept. It wasn’t until 1946 to 1950 when researchers at RCA Laboratories created the first electronic colored television system that was monochrome compatible. But prior to that, television company CBS began working on a mechanical color television system based on the designs of John Logie Baird. The FCC in October of 1950 gave authorization to use CBS’ design as a national standard. The first authorized commercial broadcast of the color television system was on December 17, 1953, which was solely based on the RCA design.