In the summer of 1921, a 15-year old Idaho farm boy came up with an idea for how to make a truly electronic television system.
Until relatively recently (say prior to around 10 years ago), the majority of references – books, history programs on television, and so forth – typically neglected to mention a key player in the development of television as we know it today.
In the summer of 1921, a 15-year old Idaho farm boy called Philo T. Farnsworth came up with an idea for how to make a truly electronic television system including the camera and display. Flushed with enthusiasm, he sketched his idea on a blackboard for his high school science teacher.
Over the years, Philo solved the problems that had thwarted other contenders. By the early 1930s, Philo could transmit moving pictures with resolutions of several hundred lines, and all subsequent televisions are directly descended from his original designs.
You can read more about Philo in my Origin and Evolution of Computer Displays paper. The reason I'm bring this up now is that I just took delivery of a new book intended for kids. Published by Enslow Elementry – an imprint of Enslow Publishers Inc. (www.enslow.com) – this little rascal is called The Teen Who Invented Television (Philo T. Farnsworth and his Awesome Invention) (ISBN: 0-7660-2845-3).
I love books like this. It's perfectly suited to a younger audience (say 10 through 12 and even a bit lower/higher) – it's not too long (32 pages including the index), but it tells the story clearly, completely, and succinctly in a way that will appeal to kids.
The book includes useful "Timeline", "Words to Know", and "Learn More sections", where the latter presents books and websites containing more detailed information.
Of particular interest to me (because I'm a visual people person) are the photos of Philo as a boy and as a young man (in the latter case, to my eye at least he bares a striking similarity to James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life).
I just took a quick gander around the www.enslow.com website and I saw a lot of items I'd like to get for my stepson Joseph (after he's read this one on Philo I'm planning on donating it to his school). So if you are into home schooling (or you know someone who is), or if you know your local elementary/middle school librarian, you might want to pass the word around.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.