Monday, May 15, 2006


Elma Gardner Farnsworth, who helped her husband, Philo T. Farnsworth, develop television and was among the first people whose images were transmitted on TV, died in Bountiful, Utah. She was 98.

Her death was reported by Mary Rippley of the Avalon Care Center, where Ms. Farnsworth lived.

The Farnsworths married in 1926, and Ms. Farnsworth worked by her husband's side, then fought for decades to assure his place in history after his death in 1971.

Other inventors developed precursors of television in the 1920's, including mechanical transmission of images, but it was Mr. Farnsworth's work that led to the electronic television we know today.

His first transmission was in his San Francisco laboratory on Sept. 7, 1927, when he was 21. He sent the image of a horizontal line to a receiver in the next room. He said he had realized seven years earlier, while plowing a field on his family's farm, that an image could be scanned onto a picture tube row by row.

In his book "Philo T. Farnsworth: The Father of Television," Donald G. Godfrey wrote that the first human images transmitted by Mr. Farnsworth were of Ms. Farnsworth and her brother, Cliff Gardner. A 3.5-inch-square image of his wife with her eyes closed was transmitted on Oct. 19, 1929, Mr. Gardner wrote. The book lists her as the "first woman on TV."

As Elma Farnsworth could be considered "the mother of Television", I should have posted this yesterday for Mother's Day......


No comments: