I used to get an e-mail from somebody like every other week reminding me that John Logie Baird demonstrated a mechanical television system in 1926, and that he should be therefore regarded as the "inventor of television." But until this morning It had been so long since I’d gotten one, I thought maybe the Baird crowd had finally seen the light (as it were). So imagine my surprise when this showed up in my e-mail this morning:
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From: "Bernard V. de Lara"
just a few questions
inventor of television, I found this British website that seems even
more convincing about Baird being the real inventor of television. I’m really
honest in trying to find the truth, but how do you account for the following
Logie Baird. And what he showed on screen, 19 months before Farnsworth, was far
superior to Farnsworth’s "blob of light", as it was famously described by
Albert Abramson in The History
— When Neil Armstrong set
foot on the moon, the camera used to transmit the live pictures was based on
Baird’s Field Sequential Colour System, because this was the best and most
— Virtually nothing of Farnsworth’s technology is
delivered to our living rooms today.
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To which I have replied:
As the website you mention points out, Baird’s system was mechanical. It was obsolete the moment it was demonstrated. Saying Baird invented television is sorta like saying that the first guy who hooked a horse up to a cart invented the motor car. Or that the first person who put a match to a candle invented the light-bulb.
Farnsworth’s contribution was seminal: it removed all the mechanical contrivances, and demonstrated a mastery of quantum physics previously unknown. I like to call it "the leap from parts to particles." I find Abramson’s assessment of a "blob of light" particularly laughable. That "blob of light" proved a principal, and had Abramson’s own patrons — Zworykin, RCA — clamoring for the patent rights to that principal.
I don’t question that Baird produced a television picture in 1926. But
all that did was prove the need for a millennial breakthrough, and that
is what Farnsworth achieved; his "blob of light" paved the way to the
television industry as we know it.
— When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the camera used to transmit
the live pictures was based on Baird’s Field Sequential Colour System,
because this was the best and most reliable available.
what good would a "Sequential Colour System" have been…. for a black
and white picture?? I cannot say for certain what video technology was
carried aboard Apollo 11; I have tried to figure that out but the
information is not readily available. When I first met the Farnsworth
family in 1975, they told me the camera on the Eagle was Image
Dissector based, but I don’t frankly believe that, either. But "Baird
Field Sequential" I find pretty absurd.
— Virtually nothing of Farnsworth’s technology is delivered to our living rooms today.
that statement was not so ignorant, it would be truly offensive. While
it is true that television technology has advanced considerably in the
past 80 years — LCDs, DLPs, plasmas — Farnsworth built a portfolio of
patents during the 1920s and 30s that were absolutely fundamental and
indispensable to the launch of the commercial medium. The simple fact
is, were it not for Farnsworth’s contributions — the breakthrough of
steering and focusing of electrons — nothing would be delivered to
your living room today.
Well, there’d still be radio.
don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s how I see it.
Parts and particles. Without the latter, it’d still be radio.