Vladimir Kosma Zworykin
Born Jul 30 1889 - Died Jul 29 1982
Patent Number(s) 2,139,296
Most people think of television as a development of the mid-20th century. But as early as 1929 Russian inventor Vladimir Kosma Zworykin was demonstrating a system with all the features of modern picture tubes.
On November 18,1929, at a convention of radio engineers, Zworykin demonstrated a television receiver containing his 'kinescope,' a cathode-ray tube.
Zworykin's 'storage principle' is the basis of modern TV.
Born in Murom, 200 miles east of Moscow, Zworykin at age nine started spending summers as an apprentice aboard the boats his father operated on the Oka River. He eagerly helped repair electrical equipment, and it soon became apparent that he was more interested in electricity than anything nautical.
At the Imperial Institute of Technology, Boris Rosing, a professor in charge of laboratory projects, became friendly with the young student engineer and let him work on some of his private projects. Rosing was trying to transmit pictures by wire in his own physics laboratory. He and his young assistant experimented with a primitive cathode-ray tube, developed in Germany by Karl Ferdinand Braun.
In 1910 Rosing exhibited a television system, using a mechanical scanner in the transmitter and the electronic Braun tube in the receiver.
The lure of theoretical physics drew Zworykin to Paris after he graduated with honors and a scholarship in electrical engineering in 1912. There he studied X-rays under Paul Langevin. Arriving in the United States in 1919, he soon joined the staff at the Westinghouse laboratory in Pittsburgh.
In 1929, Zworykin joined the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in Camden, New Jersey. As the director of their Electronic Research Laboratory, he was able to concentrate on making critical improvements to his system.