The Inventor Of Which Technology Thought Very Poorly Of His Invention?
If your mother frequently chided you for watching too much television because there was nothing worth watching and it was bad for your mind, she was certainly in good company. Not only has such opinion been widely held by more than quite a few parents, educators, and moral reformers over the years, but it was a sentiment shared by the inventor of the medium himself.
Although not the first to experiment with the idea of television, Philo Farnsworth is considered the father of the television because of his enormous contributions to the development of the device; he was the first to combine the different elements that comprised the modern television set into one cohesive unit. He also invented the first electronic video camera and was the first to demonstrate these technologies to the public.
Despite his crucial role in the creating devices of great importance to both the production and distribution components of television, he was not at all impressed with the content of television. Per his son Kent’s recollection, his father kept television out of the house when they were children and often said, “There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet.”
Although Farnsworth didn’t care for TV shows, his invention did have a chance to redeem itself before his death. In a 1996 interview, his widow Elma recalled the moment Farnsworth had his change of heart: when they, along with millions around the world, watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon all thanks to the video camera and television technology Farnsworth had pioneered. He turned to his wife and said, “This has made it all worthwhile.”
Image courtesy of San Francisco Public Library Historical Archives.