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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Fri 28, 2004 3:57 pm 
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Hi, Iain,<P>I think you've hit the nail on the head. Anyone who's really interested in the accurate details of how television was invented can easily obtain the right information by undertaking proper research using the Internet. With judicious and thorough research, the true story does become apparent, almost shining through the biased histories and nationalistic viewpoints. I'm actually becoming less concerned that this film will cause any lasting damage to the real history of television, as there is so much accurate information around.<P>As for mechanical television, I really think that its time is in the future and not in the past. This is apparent by looking at both its past capabilities and its future developments. Contrary to popular belief, mechanical sets were capable of matching (and surpassing) the quality of the electronic sets many years ago. A particular example is the Scophony set built in 1938, which offered 405 lines of resolution on a 32 inch screen. No CRT could achieve this at this time. This system can be seen in the link below;<BR> <A HREF="http://www.earlytelevision.org/yanczer_scophony.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.earlytelevision.org/yanczer_scophony.html</A> <P>This site also shows many other ingenuous mechanical scanning methods, each offering advantages over CRT's in their time.<P>Also, because of the flexibility of using light, television images can be made as large or as small as required. They can be shone onto the side of a building, or in the latest developments, shone directly onto the retina. It's unbelievable, but Baird's system has been shrunk small enough to wear on the head and project a virtual image directly to the eye of the wearer, thereby creating a 'heads-up' display for normal vision. (Think 'Terminator', when seeing through his eyes). This system is shown at this link, and yes, it is definitely mechanical, using scanning mirrors and altering laser light intensities;<BR> <A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3647437.stm" TARGET=_blank>http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3647437.stm</A> <P>Also, the 3D applications of this system will be astounding! Basically, mechanical light based systems do not have the fixed tube length restriction of CRT both in terms of electron travel deflection and the need to hit a phosphor screen at a fixed distance. However, I think the term 'mechanical television' does not help it and places an unfair bias against it in the eyes of the public. It should be known as 'Light-Based' or even 'Photon' television. I suppose this name has been given with the advent of DLP and GLV.<P>Incidentally, I had the pleasure of seeing a working Baird television at a museum of science and technology and it was amazing to see! Seeing your image on one of these systems is very strange indeed - you're moving image seems to exist against the laws of physics because there is no glass screen. It seems to exist when there is nothing it should exist on! - Almost floating in space. I can imagine seeing this in 1926. It must have looked like magic!<P>As to your mention of U-571, I think it is generally known to be inaccurate and revisionist, so its impact has been reduced. I think if the same type of liberties are taken with 'The Farnsworth Invention', it will be treated in the same way. Perhaps taking an accurate approach to this film would be best for the producers.


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Fri 28, 2004 6:30 pm 
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What a great thread, and history lesson. Even if Farnsworth gets too much credit, he deserves a nod for helping to spawn a new frustrating and esoteric service industry to keep the newly-minted WWII techs busy. And what would Madison Avenue have been without TV? Fade to analogy between Mr. Baird and Apple, while Sarnoff and Bill Gates hold hands in hell... <IMG SRC="http://antiqueradios.com/forums/smile.gif"><P>Richard<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jun Mon 21, 2004 6:16 am 
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Where does this guy fit in?<P>Among Ernst Alexanderson's achievements: <P><BR>On June 5, 1924, he transmitted the first facsimile (fax) message across the Atlantic. <P>In 1927, he staged the first home reception of television at his own home in schenectady, New York, using high-frequency neon lamps and a perforated scanning disc.<BR> <BR>He gave the first public demonstration of television on January 13, 1928. <BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jun Mon 21, 2004 6:53 am 
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Alexanderson was one of many who experimented with mechanical TV. However, John Logie Baird and Charles Jenkins predated him by a year or more in transmitting images. <P>In March of 1928, Baird sent TV pictures across the Atlantic:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.earlytelevision.org/across_atlantic.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.earlytelevision.org/across_atlantic.html</A> <P><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jun Thu 24, 2004 7:30 pm 
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I was just alerted that you'd been discussing the Farnsworth issue and my presentation "The Case Against Philo Farnsworth and Claims He Invented TV." I'll be repeating the presentation for the New Jersey Antique Radio Club this coming Fall.<P>If I were asked to write the Farnsworth screenplay, I'd play up the tragedy that Philo put so much of his energy into dead-end inventions. The bookends of his career, the Image Dissector he invented as a 14 year old and the basketball-sized nuclear power generator for every home he worked on until his passing, were dead ends.<P>Some facts about inventing electronic TV:<P>Did Farnsworth think up an all-electonic system first? No, Campbell Swinton thought it up first in 1908, 14 years before Farnsworth. I have a copy of Swinton's 1908 diagram which looks just like the system we ended up with.<P>Did Farnsworth have a working electronic system first? No, Zworykin had the first working system, demonstrated to Westinghouse brass in 1925, two years before Farnsworth. Neither Farnsworth's nor Zworykin's first demos were impressive.<P>Did Farnsworth file the first patent on all-electronic TV? No, Zworykin did in 1923, four years before Farnsworth. (Zworykin patent #2,141,059.)<P>Was Farnsworth the first to be awarded a patent on all-electronic TV? No, Zworykin was, in 1928, two years before Farnsworth. (Zworykin patent #1,691,324.)<P>Farnsworth's purported "first all electronic" TV patent had a mechanical, not an electronic receiver. (Farnsworth patent #1,773,980 filed 1927, awarded 1930.)<P>In my assessment, Farnsworth loses to Zworykin (or Swinton) on EVERY count that matters.<P>The fundamental problem with the Farnsworth Image Dissector was it solved only one of the two drawbacks of mechanical television. It solved the scanning speed problem, but not the wasted light problem. Storage solved the wasted light problem, and Zworykin was the first person to get storage to work. All of today's video camera technologies, including digital CCD's, use Zworykin's (Swinton's) storage principle. None of them use any of Farnsworth's principles as far as I can tell.<P>I will give credit to Farnsworth for a few miscellaneous inventions, like the flyback high voltage power supply (not a fundamental invention, just a cost-reduction), but I cannot justify painting him as the lone inventor of electronic TV. The facts just don't support that rendering.<P>Did Zworykin steal from Farnsworth? Inventors typically find out what their competitors are doing and try to duplicate their results. This is a fundamental part of the scientific method all modern science is based on. Zworykin had a duplicate of the dissector made, and after careful study, recognized it as a dead end and abandoned it. The dissector was not worth stealing!<P>The Farnsworth story is a great David vs. Goliath tale with a tragic, not a Hollywood, ending. We will hiss at the villains (Sarnoff, Zworykin), cheer for the heroes (Mr. and Mrs. Farnsworth), and leave the movie with tears in our eyes. What I'd hope would be "The Story of Inventing TV" will probably end up being "The World According to Pem."<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Sun 04, 2004 9:53 pm 
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Any attempt to apply the appellation of "inventor" to an entire industry will at the least disappoint and at most enrage. Each contributor in science and technology adds to the cumulative heap of knowledge. Should we not include Einstein in the dogpile of television inventors? Naaah. His Nobel was for the photoelectric effect, which is included in all subsequent embodiments; necessary but not sufficient. We technical wizards, wonks, and ivory-domed intellectuals will continue to research and ruminate the bits of history we have been left. Our journals and blogs will continue the discussions -- there is no one correct answer.<P>We can hope that Mr. Sorkin will ply his art into the development of the character of those involved in the development of television. (Recall that the early seasons of The West Wing dealt more with the interplay of the personalities of its players, and less on the political machinations of DC.) We can hope that technical minutiae -- the West Wing scene about which character knows all fourteen punctuation marks comes to mind -- of the film will only add and not detract from an entertainment production.<P>As they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.<P>Charles Osborne<BR>Portland, Oregon<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Sun 04, 2004 11:15 pm 
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Originally posted by Charles Osborne:<P>"As they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story."<P>Who said that? The same person who said, "Truth is stranger that fiction?"<P>I'll grant that not everyone feels the same way about filmed dramatizations. I really like true stories brought to the screen. When I learn of mistruths in biographical films I downrate then film and resent the filmmakers for misleading me.<P>They might get away with a "story within a story" format. Dramatize Pem telling people how her husband was the true inventor of TV and how he was robbed by those scoundrels at RCA, with dramatized flashbacks. That way we don't need to be inconvenienced by any facts. Just a hint that she is delusional would be sufficient.<P><BR>------------------<BR>Scott


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Mon 05, 2004 12:59 pm 
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"Any attempt to apply the appellation of "inventor" to an entire industry will at the least disappoint and at most enrage."<P>Oh, you mean like;<P>The Wright Brothers inventing the aeroplane industry.<P>Edison inventing the record industry, not to mention the electric lightbulb industry.<P>Marconi inventing the radio (broadcasting)industry.<P>And the list goes on...<P>Television is no different. When people try to treat it as such, that's what 'enrages' me.<P>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Mon 05, 2004 8:08 pm 
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I think Charles Osborne is addressing the issue that electronic television required dozens of inventions to become practical, and that these inventions came from many individuals in many laboratories from many countries.<P>I also observe that when people manifest disagreement about "who" the inventor of something is, they hide a latent disagreement on how they choose to define "inventor" and about exactly what is invented.<P>Was the "inventor" the one who first thought it up, made it work, was on the practical path, filed the patent, or was granted the patent? Advocates of different TV inventors choose different definitions of "inventor" and the invention itself to justify awarding credit to the individual (or country) they like.<P>The issue of mechanical vs. electronic television is worth review. David Sarnoff was a pro-electronic, anti-mechanical ideologue. For example, he put tons of research into developing a refrigerator with no moving parts. The result, in 1956, was a way to make "the world's most expensive ice cubes." Sarnoff's insistence on electronic television resulted in the system that today is vastly improved upon by chips using a million vibrating mirrors and a spinning color wheel. A vindication of Baird?<P><BR>------------------<BR>Scott


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Tue 06, 2004 8:01 pm 
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Sounds like Sorkin and Schlamme are in for plenty of criticism--no matter which way they play it...<BR>I think it'll be fun to watch, in any event.<P>------------------<BR>OZ


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Tue 06, 2004 9:34 pm 
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"I also observe that when people manifest disagreement about "who" the inventor of something is, they hide a latent disagreement on how they choose to define "inventor" and about exactly what is invented.<P>Was the "inventor" the one who first thought it up, made it work, was on the practical path, filed the patent, or was granted the patent? Advocates of different TV inventors choose different definitions of "inventor" and the invention itself to justify awarding credit to the individual (or country) they like."<P>Scott, I think you've really nailed it there and this has been the problem with attempting to credit the invention of television. My take on this is that I try to apply the same rules to television as have been applied to most other inventions. For example, few people argue that the aeroplane was invented when the Wright Brothers flew for just under a minute at Kitty Hawk in 1903, or that the Gramophone was invented when the words 'Mary had a little lamb' were heard from the device, or that the telephone was invented when the words 'Mr. Watson, come here, I want you' were heard on a telephone (although the latter has been recently open to question).<P>Following this rule (which appears to be that the invention is credited to the first actual realisation of the required event), television was invented in October 1925, when the first true television image was created. To quote Baird himself,<P>'Funds were going down, the situation was becoming desperate and we were down to our last £30 when at last, one Friday in the first week of October 1925, everything functioned properly. The image of the dummy’s head formed itself on the screen with what appeared to me almost unbelievable clarity. I had got it! I could scarcely believe my eyes, and felt myself shaking with excitement.’<P>This is when television was invented. Anything after this was improvement and engineering.<P>I fully agree that the development of "electronic" television required many technologies that were developed by many individuals in many countries, but for me the point is moot. No amount of development from October 1925 onwards could have a claim to be the invention of television, as this was when the first true television image was created.<P>As you say in your post, the electronic approach has now been improved upon by mechanical means. There are now a lot of high definition mechanical televisions out there in the marketplace offering major improvements over electronic television. No parts of these televisions can be attributed to Farnsworth, Zworykin or Sarnoff. Instead, the credit must go to Baird as this technology is a return to where it all began.<P>Jason.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Wed 07, 2004 7:29 pm 
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All's I know is, when I was 12 my sister gave me an old tube type radio chassis (portable) sans cabinet, to fix. Since it needed a cabinet, I figured why not one big enough to house a couple of nice big 6X9 car speakers, for "Stereo" and some decent bass. So I built one.<BR>I never thought to patent a "boom box", I just used to play it loud in the back yard. I never noticed those Japanese guys sneaking around in the alley watching me until I saw the first Panasononic on store shelves a few years later, and put 2 and 2 together. Oh well...<P>------------------<BR>OZ


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Thu 08, 2004 12:34 pm 
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Hi OZ132HOME,<P>Reading your earlier post with your latest, I'll bet that your system was quite radical in 1957! What a shame you didn't take a patent out on it. Bet every kid in the street was envious!!


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Jul Mon 12, 2004 7:59 pm 
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Ah, yes, RECOGNITION. It's not the money, it's the recognition.<P>------------------<BR>OZ


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Aug Mon 30, 2004 10:06 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Iain Logie Baird:<BR><B>Hello everyone,<P>Thought I should update everyone that may not be aware of it, that for the past 2-3 weeks there has been a chat about this film on the main Aaron Sorkin fan site at yahoo newsgroups, which is to include a contribution(s) by my father. It is necessary to register. <BR> <BR></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I was one of the instigators of the discussion there, and concluded that the group was for the most part an Aaron Sorkin fan club and didn't want to question the accuracy of Mr. Sorkin's upcoming feature film.<P>To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Sorkin's movie "The Farnsworth Invention," is largely based on Evan Schwartz's book "The Last Lone Inventor."<P>BTW, my favorite candidate for "last lone inventor" is Cinerama's Fred Waller, who's work peaked in the late 40's and early 50's.<P>For the most part, I've found it easiest to convince technical people that the movie's title is a mistruth.<P>My research on the subject continues, and I'm still discovering more angles to this debate.<P>My latest realization has to do with the patent interference hearing that Farnsworth advocates most often suggest is the U.S. government's certification that Farnsworth invented television.<P>In that hearing's decision, it was decided by the patent office that the electronic image, as defined in Farnsworth's disclosures, was not a part of Zworykin's earlier disclosures. Based on that largely semantic decision, priority of the "electronic image" was awarded to Farnsworth.<P>The irony of this claim is that the electronic image, as defined by Farnsworth himself, was not a part of the Iconoscope-based systems used for the first regularly scheduled commercial broadcasts in the late 30's and early 40's, plus the guided missles during WWII. In fact, I'm told that Farnsworth Radio and Television manufactured Iconoscopes for the war effort, using RCA inventions.<P>Most workable TV camera systems (even today's digital CCD's) are based on a "charge image" which was an invention of not Farnsworth nor Zworykin, but Swinton.<P>I'm all for Mr. Sorkin (author of the wonderful courtroom drama "A Few Good Men") making a gripping, accurate courtroom drama of Sarnoff vs. Farnsworth. But please, PLEASE without the inaccurate title!<P>Scott<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Aug Tue 31, 2004 3:38 am 
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I totally agree with you Scott. I was very disappointed at the poor treatment of the very knowledgable people on the board who tried to put forward pertinant views regarding the story of television and its accuracy. I am not inclined to post on that board at all. Discussion of this nature is far too important to allow people who don't actually care to take the moral high ground. They should be flattered that people like yourself who can contribute effectively to the discussion are taking the time to talk about the issues surrounding a major part of Sorkin's writing career. Perhaps they can't handle that someone knows more about this subject than Sorkin himself. However I'm more inclined to think that they just want to know what the colour of Farnsworth's suit will be..<P>Interestingly, 'the Perfessor' is posting more on that board than his own. I am awaiting a discussion with him on 'Farnovision' but he's not responding....the misinformation the man is peddling is unbelievable. Shame he doesn't know about this board ;-)<P>Jason.<P>------------------<BR>


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