Who Was the First Person to Invent Television?

Gary Lund/CC-BY-2.0

The first person to invent a fully functional television was Philo Taylor Farnsworth, an amateur inventor from Idaho. He publicly displayed his invention in 1927 but had conceived of the technology as early as 1921, when he was only 14 years old.

Farnwsworth grew up in rural Idaho, and his household did not have electricity until he was 14. Nevertheless, he was an engineering prodigy. While in high school, he won a national contest for the invention of a tamper-proof lock. According to New York University, it was during this time he came up with the idea for a vacuum tube capable of transmitting images captured in radio waves onto a screen. Farnsworth’s image dissector camera tube transmitted its first image on September 7, 1927.