When Philo T. Farnsworth appeared on the 1950s TV show, "I've Got a Secret," he leaned over and whispered his secret in the game show host's ear. When the secret was flashed on the screen for the audience and viewers at home, there was a lot of oohing and ahhing. Philo Taylor Farnsworth's secret was amazing. He had invented television. Perhaps even more amazing, he had done it when he was a high school student in Rigby, Idaho in 1922.
Farnsworth had recently heard radio broadcasts for the first time, and he was enchanted with the medium. But, wouldn't it be great if you could send pictures through the air, too? The young inventor sketched his idea for the cathode ray tube on a high school blackboard. That tube became the basis for modern television.
At the age of 20, Farnsworth produced the first all-electronic television image. In 1930, he received the first patent for television. The former Rigby High School student went on to invent the first simple electron microscope. He did pioneering work on radar, black light viewing, and the peaceful use of atomic energy.
In all, Philo T. Farnsworth held over 300 U.S. and foreign patents. In 1983 the inventor was honored with a postage stamp. He is one of only three Idahoans so honored.
You can visit the Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum in Rigby, if you’d like to learn more.