Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
series 1: Personal Life
This section contains information about the personal life of Philo and Elma Farnsworth. Box 1 holds various biographies written by Elma Farnsworth and relatives, Arch L. Madsen's eulogy at Farnsworth's funeral, and copies of family photographs. Farnsworth's BYU student notebooks are located in the last two folders of the box. Box 2 contains a chronological assortment of Farnsworth's awards and honors, along with stories, correspondence, and news clippings. Box 3 contains chronologically-arranged correspondence in the form of personal letters and family newsletters. Arranged chronologically, box 4 contains the Farnsworth family's financial records from their move to San Francisco as newlyweds in 1926, to the depletion of their financial resources in Utah during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Boxes 4-5 contain the records of Fernworth farm, from its purchase in 1938 until much of it was sold to pay expenses after his death.
box 1: Biographical Information and Awards and Honors
folder 1: Outline of the Life of Philo Taylor Farnsworth
This box contains an Outline of the life of Philo Taylor Farnsworth, and Philo T. Farnsworth III's biographical paragraphs, "Neglected Inventors."
folder 2: Writtings on Farnsworth
This folder contains Ceazan's "Highlights from the life of Philo Farnsworth," Morgan's "The Green Street Lad" from , and Eddy's "Television, The Young Man's Game."
folder 3: Patents, Journals Excerpts
This folder contains Patents and excerpts from early Farnsworth journals, and "The Jim Branch Report #6028."
folder 4: Philo T. Farnsworths Death
This folder contains Business cards, obituary, letters of consolation to Elma Farnsworth, and Arch L. Madsen's eulogy of March 16, 1971.
folder 5-6: Photographs and Notebooks
Copies of photographs, as well as college notebooks.
box 2: Awards and Honors
This box contains a variety of awards and other materials that document Farnsworth's achievements as an inventor. These include National Radio Institute and other early certifications, university programs, Philo T. Farnsworth Day Memorabilia, various plaques and tributes, documents from the dedication of the Farnsworth statue in Washington, posthumous recognitions, and associated correspondence.
box 3: Personal Correspondence (1925-1965)
box 4: Personal Correspondence and Financial Records (1929-1969)
series 2: Professional Records
This section contains material stemming from Farnsworth's professional career. In addition to documents, boxes 6-9 contain information concerning Crocker Research Laboratories,records for Television Laboratories, Inc., Farnsworth Television, Inc., and Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation. Box 10 contains material from 1939-1948 when Farnsworth became involved in Farnsworth Wood Products along with his brothers, Lincoln and Carl Farnsworth. Boxes 11-17 contain records that reflect International Telephone & Telegraph's purchase of Farnsworth Television and Radio Corp. in 1949 until Farnsworth's termination and disability determination in 1967. Boxes 17-19 contain records, 1968-1970, that provide information on the organization and development of Philo T. Farnsworth Associates in Salt Lake City, Utah. Boxes 20-26 contain Farnsworth's professional correspondence with associates A. A. Ahmed, George Everson, Frederick "Fritz" Furth, Robert Hirsch, Hans Salinger, and Claude ZoBell. Miscellaneous correspondence from 1945-1968 concludes this section.
box 6: Professional Records (1926-1949)
box 7: Farnsworth Television and Radio Corp. (1938-1949)
box 8: Farnsworth Television and Radio Corp. (1941-1950)
box 9: Farnsworth Television and Radio Corp. (1940-1949)
box 10: Farnsworth Wood Products (1939-1943)
This box contains financial records, loan documents and deed records, meeting minutes, technical documents, and other corporate records are arranged chronologically.
box 11: International Telephone and Telegraph, Operations and Advertising (1949-1950)
This box contains Organizational charts, advertising, press releases, technical manuals, and other documents are arranged chronologically.
box 12: International Telephone and Telegraph, Operations and Advertising (1952-1967)
This box contains Manuals, press releases, organizational charts, and development reports are arranged chronologically
box 13: International Telephone and Telegraph (1949-1967)
folder 1-2: Meeting Records (1949-1967)
folder 3-4: Stock Records, Annual reports and correspondence (1949-1966)
folder 5-8: Finances and Inventory (1950-1967)
These folders contains expense reports, a financial review, a budget, earnings statements, an employment agreement, and an overhead analysis.
box 14: International Telephone and Telegraph, Technical Drawings (1950-1952)
These folders contains descriptions of Farnsworth models and components, maintenance information, and other documents concerning the Capehart Models, cathode ray tubes, and Project 9001.
box 15: International Telephone and Telegraph, Technical Drawings (1952-1962)
These folders contains drawings, instruction manual for power supplies, and a technical proposal for a television inspection system, along with documents concerning the Iatron tube.
box 16: International Telephone and Telegraph, Technical Drawings (1963-1967)
This box contains blueprints and drawings of a vacuum drying process and laboratory.
box 17: International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), and Philo T. Farnsworth Associates (1967-1970)
folder 1-4: ITT Technical Drawings, Mark II fusor and Iatron flood gun elements (1967)
folder 5-7: Philo T. Farnsworth Associates, Inc., Operations and Advertising (1968-1970)
These folders contain company history and objectives, patent correspondence and applications, marketing reports, and status reports.
box 18: Philo T. Farnsworth Associates Inc. (1968-1970)
box 19: Philo T. Farnsworth Associates, Inc. (1969-1970)
box 20: Professional Correspondence (1926-1941)
box 21: Professional Correspondence (1941-1953)
box 22: Professional Correspondence (1954-1965)
box 23: Professional Correspondence (1965-1970)
box 24: A. A. Ahmed Professional Correspondence (1962-1966)
box 25: Professional Correspondence (1924-1969)
series 3: Research and Writing
This section provides information about Philo T. Farnsworth's activities through news clippings as well as his research writings, journal entries, speeches, and patents. Boxes 27-28 contain a chronological arrangement of news clippings (1928-1991) that report on both Farnsworth's professional achievements and personal events such as the destruction by fire of Fernworth Farm. Some articles are the results of interviews with Elma Farnsworth. Speeches made by Farnsworth from 1929-1968 are in box 28, along with associated invitations. Boxes 28-31 contain research articles written by Farnsworth and his associates from 1930-1968, and boxes 32-36 contain documents relating to the application and receiving of U. S. patents. Research notes, workbooks, and journals from throughout Farnsworth's career are housed in boxes 37-69. Included are those of Farnsworth's associate, Gene Meeks (box 48). Miscellaneous literature discussing Farnsworth's work, published by professional organizations and in weekly magazines, is contained in boxes 69-74. This group of documents also contains technical writings.
box 27: Newspaper Clippings (1928-1977)
box 28: Newspaper Clippings, and Speeches and Articles by Philo T. Farnsworth
folder 1-4: News Clippings (1978-1990)
folder 5-6: Speeches (1929-1968)
folder 7-8: Articles (1930-1961)
These folders contain "An Electrical Scanning for Television," "Television by Electron Image Scanning," "High Intensity Cathode Ray Tube for Projection of Large Television Images" (undated), "Nuclear Fusion Utilizing Ionic Confinement within a Spherical Electrostatic Field," and "Self-sustained Nuclear Fusion by Inertial Confinement in a Poisson Bi-polar Electric Field."
box 29: Articles by Philo T. Farnsworth, A. A. Ahmed, and James A. DeShong, Jr.
box 30: Articles by James A. DeShong, Jr. and Robert L. Hirsch
folder 1: Articles by James A. DeShong, Jr. (1958-1965)
This folder contains "Spark Chamber Track Measuring System," "Spark Chamber and Magnet System for Photographing Cosmic-Ray Tracks at Balloon Altitudes," and "Optimum Design of High-Pressure, Large-Diameter, Direct-Nuclear-Pumped, Gas Lasers."
folder 2-8: Articles by Robert Hirsch, (1964-1967)
These folders contain "Experimental Investigations of the Mark II Fusion Tube," "Bremsstrahlung Sources in the Mark II," "On the Use of Screens or Open Areas on the Cathodes of Inertial Confinement Machines," and "On the Feasibility of an Economic Fusion Reactor Based on the Inertiald Containment Principles."
box 31: Articles by Robert L. Hirsch, Gene A. Meeks, Hans Salinger, and Miscellaneous Authors
This box contains "Pressure Balance in the Saturated Thermionic Diode," "Addendum to Unsolicited Proposal to Perform Basic Physical Research in the Inertial Containment of Ionized Gases," "Inertial-electrostatic Containment of Ionized Gases: Status of the Research."
folder 1-3: Articles by Robert Hirsch (1967-1968)
These folders contain "Pressure Balance in the Saturated Thermionic Diode," "Addendum to Unsolicited Proposal to Perform Basic Physical Research in the Inertial Containment of Ionized Gases," "Inertial-electrostatic Containment of Ionized Gases: Status of the Research."
folder 4: Articles by Gene Meeks (1966)
This folder contains Articles by Gene Meeks, 1966
"Project Work Performed During the Year 1966," and "Miscellaneous Bell Jar Studies of Virtual Electrode Formation."
folder 5: Articles by Hans Salinger (1940-1964)
This folder contains"Photo-cell Multiplier Tubes," "A Coaxial Filter for Vestigial-Sideband Transmission in Television," "Wave Propagation through a Space Charge in a Magnetic Field," and "Experimental Transport Pump as of November 1962."
folder 6: Articles by Miscellaneous Authors (1953-1958)
This folder contains "Photoconductive Camera Tube Theory," "On the Multipactor," and "The `Straticharge' Combustion Process."
box 32: Patent Correspondence and Applications (1928-1972)
box 33: Patent Applications (1958-1967)
This box contains Space charge device for producing nuclear reactions, process for the rapid drying of green lumber, method and apparatus for producing nuclear-fusion reactions, and ion gun improvement.
box 34: Patent Applications and Patents Received (1940-1971)
folder 1-3: Patent Applications for Philo Farnsworth, Robert Hirsch, and Gene Meeks (1967-1971)
folder 4-8: Patents Received (1940-1971)
This folder contains Image dissector, cathode ray amplifier, image amplifier, television projection system, television image analyzing tube, cathode ray tube, ion transport vacuum pump, and process and apparatus for drying and treating lumber.
box 35: Patents Received and Patent Notes (1927-1965)
volume 1-2: Issued Patent Cases (1930-1939)
folder 1-4: Patent Notes (1927-1965)
These folders contain Television related patents from other inventors, electronic patents of employees of Farnsworth Television & Radio Corp., lumber drying patents from other inventors, a listing of "Philo T. Farnsworth's most basic patents used in modern television receivers," a listing of "Farnsworth Patents," "Use of Farnsworth Patents in Modern Television Receivers," and a "Summary of Farnsworth Patents Covering Television Transmitters."
box 36: Patents Interference, Farnsworth v. Zworykin
This box contains Brief on behalf of Philo T. Farnsworth, brief on behalf of Vladimir K. Zworykin, and final hearing of Farnsworth v. Zworykin.
box 37: Research Notes and Workbooks (1927-1955)
box 38: Research Notes and Workbooks (1955-1957)
box 39: Research Notes and Workbooks (1957-1959)
box 40: Research Notes and Workbooks (1959)
box 41: Research Notes and Workbooks (1959-1960)
box 42: Reasearch Notes and Workbooks (1960)
box 43: Research Notes and Workbooks (1960-1961)
box 44: Research (1961)
box 45: Research Notes and Workbooks (1961-1962)
box 46: Research Notes and Workbooks (1962-1963)
box 47: Research Notes and Workbooks (1963-1964)
box 48: Research Notes and Workbooks of Gene Meeks and Miscellaneous Research Notes and Workbooks (1964-1968)
box 49: Miscellaneous Research Notes and Workbooks
box 50: Research Notes, Workbooks, and Journals (1926-1928)
box 51: Research Journals (1929-1933)
box 52: Television Labororatories, Inc., Vol. II (1930)
box 53: Television Laboratories, Inc. Vols. III-IV (1930)
box 54: Television Laboratories Ltd., Research Journals (1931-1933)
box 55: Television Laboratories, Ltd., Research Journals (1931-1935)
box 56: Television Laboratories, Ltd, Research Journals, Vols. XIV, XV, and XVII (1933-1942)
box 57: Television Laboratories, Ltd., Research Journals and Daily Notes, Vols. XIX, XX, and XXIV (1934-1938)
box 58: Research Journals
box 59: Farnsworth Television, Inc., Research Journals, Vols. XXIX, XXXI, and XXXIV (1935-1941)
box 60: Farnsworth Television, Inc., Research Journals, Vols. XXXVII, XL, and XLI (1937-1941)
box 61: Farnsworth Television & Radio, Inc., Research Journals, Vols. 48, 50, and 52 (1939-1942)
box 62: Farnsworth Television & Radio, Inc., Research Journals, Vols. 53, 56, and 57 (1939-1948)
box 63: Farnsworth Television & Radio Inc., Research Journals, Vols. 60, 83, and 84 (1939-1941)
box 64: Farnsworth Television & Radio Inc., Research Journals, Vols, 86, 89, and 92 (1940-1943)
box 65: Research Journals
box 66: Research Journals
box 67: Research Journals
box 68: ITT Farnsworth Research Corp., Research Journals (1963-1966)
box 69: Research Journals, and Miscellaneous Literature, (1924-1968)
volume 1: ITT Farnsworth Research Corp., George Bain, Book No. 9 (1966-1967)
volume 2: T Farnsworth Research Corp., Robert L. Hirsch, Vol. VI (1967-1968)
volume 3: ITT Farnsworth Research Corp., Gene Meeks (1963-1967)
folder 1: Miscellaneous Literature (1924-1929)
This folder contains Langmuir's and Blodgett's "Currents Limited by Space Charge Between Coaxial Cylinders," Lubcke's "Vacuum-tube Voltmeter Design," and Langmuir's "The Interaction of Electron and Positive Ion Space Charges in Cathode Sheaths."
folder 2: Miscellaneous Literature (1929-1931)
This folder contains Langmuir and Compton's "Fundamental Phenomena in Electrical Discharges."
folder 3: Miscellaneous Literature (1936-1938)
This folder contains The Improvement Era, Literary Digest, and Thompson's "Review of Ultra-high-frequency Vacuum Tube Problems."
box 70: Miscellaneous Literature (1935-1946)
volume 1: Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers, Vol. 23 (1935)
folder 1: Miscellaneous Literature (1939-1944)
This folder contains Time and Raytheon technical information.
folder 2: Miscellaneous Literature (1944)
This folder contains Wilson's proposed report to the National Patent Planning Commission, "Stimulating Discovery and Invention."
folder 3: Miscellaneous Literature (1945-1946)
This folder contains Compton's "National Security," and Raytheon Technical Information."
folder 4: Miscellaneous Literature (1946)
This folder contains Miller's "Mathematical Tables: Part-Volume B, the Airy Integral," and Rieber's "The Rieber Sonograph, R-G-2."
box 71: Miscellaneous Literature (1947-1955)
folder 1: Miscellaneous Literature (1947-1949)
This folder contains Senior Scholastic, McCulloch's "The Brain as a Computing Machine," and Newsweek.
volume 1: Report of the Joint Technical Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission.
folder 2-3: Miscellaneous Literature (1950)
These folders contain Hornyak, Lauritsen, Morrison, and Fowler's "Energy Levels of Light Nuclei," Hazeltine Electronics Corp.'S Report No. 7113 "An Analysis of Color Television," and Knoll's "Electron-lens Raster Systems."
folder 4: Miscellaneous Literature (1951-1952)
This folder contains Brigham Young Alumnus, and Jekelius' "Fundamentals of Permanent-magnet Focusing Systems for Cathode Ray Tubes."
folder 5: Miscellaneous Literature (1952-1953)
This folder contains Davis's "Proposal to Adapt the Iatron to Radar Indicators," Brigham Young Alumnus, Reader's Digest, and the Bridge of Eta Kappa Nu.
folder 6: Miscellaneous Literature (1954-1955)
This folder contains Outdoor Life, Farnsworth News (vol. 1, no. 1), and Science News Letter.
box 72: Miscellaneous Literature (1955-1959)
folder 1: Miscellaneous Literature (1955-1956)
This folder contains Farnsworth News (vol. 1, no. 2), the Brigham Young Alumnus, the International Review of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. (Vol. 10, no. 1).
folder 2-3: Miscellaneous Literature (1956)
Thes folders contain Krebs and Meerback's "The Electron Density and Velocity Distribution of Secondary Electrons in Multipactors," Farnsworth News, Adair's "The Way of the Eagle," Electronic Week, and Science News Letter.
folder 4-5: Miscellaneous Literature (1957)
These folders contain RCA Laboratories Technical Information, Veksler's "Principles of the Acceleration of Charged Particles," Thornton's "Responsibilities in Atomic Energy Education of the Public," and Farnsworth News.
folder 6: Miscellaneous Literature (1958)
This folder contains Stephens and Smith's "Fast-neutron Surveys Using Indium-foil Activation," and Office of Naval Research Technical Information.
folder 7: Miscellaneous Literature (1958-1959)
This folder contains Silberg and Bachman's "Diffusion of Hydrogen in Palladium," Farnsworth Technical Newsletter, and ITT Laboratories' In the News.
box 73: Miscellaneous Literature (1959-1972)
folder 1: Miscellaneous Literature (1959-1960)
Pike's "A Survey of System Parameters Applied to Closed-circuit Industrial TV" and ITT Laboratories' "Technical Library, Recent Accessions."
folder 2: Miscellaneous Literature (1960-1962)
Nottingham's "The Thermionic Energy Converter" and ITT Laboratories' In The News and Within the ITT System.
folder 3: Miscellaneous Literature (1962-1964)
Furth's and Post's "Advanced Research in Controlled Fusion" and Vlaardingerbroek's "Excitation of Ion Oscillations in Beam-plasma Systems."
folder 4: Miscellaneous Literature (1964-1966)
Search at Esso Research and Engineering Company and ITT Worldwide Management Conference.
folder 5: Miscellaneous Literature (1966-1972)
Derjaguin's "Effect of Lyophile Surfaces on the Properties of Boundary Liquid Films," ITT Industrial Laboratories, The Bridge of Eta Kappa Nu, and San Francisco.
folder 6: Miscellaneous Literature (1972)
Elmore, Tuck, and Watson's "On the Inertial-electrostatic Confinement of a Plasma," and Mcfarlane's "A Summary of Available Data on the Physical Properties of Synthetic Sapphire."
folder 7: Metals Research
United States Patent Office "Method of Producing Titanium" and "Stabilizing Molten Material During Magnetic Levitation and Heating Thereof."
box 74: Miscellaneous Metals Research
This box contains United States Patent Office documents, including "Zone Melting Apparatus," "Suspension of Liquid Material," "Induction Heating Apparatus," "Method of Producing Titanium Metal, "Titanium Base Alloys," and "Heat Treatable Beta Titanium-base Alloys and Processing Thereof."
series 4: Elma G. Farnsworth
This section contains material documenting the life of Farnsworth's wife. With the exception of a few photographs in which she is shown next to her husband, Elma Gardner Farnsworth (or "Pem," as she was nicknamed) is missing from most of the previous three sections. Box 75 contains biographical material and correspondence, 1971-1981. Included is her organization of the Philo T. Farnsworth Foundation and lobbying of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to consider 202 Green Street as a State of California historical landmark commemorating the first electronic television transmission. Box 76 contains correspondence from 1981-1992, along with notes and other written material. This box also contains information on the commemoration of Philo T. Farnsworth's inventions by the U. S. Postal Service in 1983. The efforts necessary to have the state of Utah promote installation of a statue of her husband in the Hall of Statuary in the U. S. Capitol rotunda are also shown. Box 77 holds articles, miscellaneous information, and a copy of Elma G. Farnsworth's biography of her husband, Distant Vision.
box 75: Biographical Material and Correspondence
box 76: Correspondence, Notes and Written Material (1981-1992)
folder 1-4: Correspondence (1981-1992)
folder 5-7: Notes and Written Material (1980-1986)
These folders contain a list of individuals to be taped in oral interviews, Elma Farnsworth's talk for a church meeting (1980), biographical information by Elma Farnsworth, "A Few Thoughts on the Inner Man," and outline of a talk to Ridgecrest Elementary School (1986).
Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971) was born on 19 August 1906, to Lewis Edwin and Serena Bastian Farnsworth in a log cabin at Indian Creek, near the town of Beaver in Southwestern Utah. He was the namesake of his paternal grandfather who built the log home in 1856 while settling the area at the request of Mormon Church leader Brigham Young.
Philo was six years old when the hand-cranked Bell telephone and Edison gramophone became well known, just old enough to become inquisitive about motors, magnets, coils, armatures, and other components of the newly popular electric power. By the time his family moved to his Uncle Albert's 240 acre ranch near Rigby, Idaho the thirteen-year-old was reading everything about electricity that he could get his hands on, including instructions to the farm's Delco power system. However, Philo's avid reading of Popular Science and other technical magazines found in the attic, soon had him using the power system to operate the family's washing machine, sewing machine, and barn lights.
Philo's appetite for knowledge gave him a mental grasp of such developing concepts as Einstein's theory of relativity, sub-atomic particles, radio waves, and mechanic disc-operated television. He was also well ahead of his classmates in most math and science subjects by the time he entered Rigby High School. In fact, it was in his first chemistry class that he disclosed his idea of an "image dissector tube." Such a vacuum tube, he suggested, was capable of operating a television unit electronically by shooting a stream of electrons toward a fluorescent screen, thereby accurately reflecting pre-designated images.
With the loss of his uncle's farm in 1922, Philo's family moved to Provo, Utah. For the next two years, Philo attended Brigham Young University. It was there that he was introduced to Elma "Pem" Gardner in 1924. However, just three months later, he was forced to leave school to assume the role of family provider when his father died.
Farnsworth's attempts to provide support for himself and his family were many and varied during this period. He labored on logging crews, repaired and delivered radios, sold electrical products door to door, and worked on the railroad as an electrician. His acumen in math and science helped him pass the Navy's Officer Candidate School Examination, but after being assigned to Annapolis as a first-year midshipman he decided a military career was not his goal. He returned home to work on a Salt Lake City street cleaning crew. It was his knowledge of Salt Lake City's street plan that eventually earned him a supervisor position for an out-of-state charitable organization managed by George Everson and Leslie Gorrell.
Everson and Gorrell were professional fundraisers from California who were impressed with Farnsworth's ability to organize a job, dedicate himself to completing the tasks involved, and motivate other team members, They listened to him recount his ideas of electronic television as they performed the mundane work of folding, stuffing, sorting, and stamping bulk mailings of fundraising letters, and became convinced of the investment possibilities such a venture could bring. So impressed were these two men with Farnsworth's knowledge of current television literature and his own innovative concepts, they offered to financially support the venture under a formal partnership know as Everson, Farnsworth & Gorrell. Three days later, on 27 May 1926, Philo and Pem were married.
On 7 September 1927, George Everson watched with staff members as Farnsworth slowly turned on the controls. An unmistakable line appeared across the small bluish square of light on the end of the Oscillite tube. Although fuzzy at first, it became distinct with adjustment, and through the visual static each could see the side of a black triangle previously inserted by Pem's brother, Cliff Gardner.
For the next three years support was provided by a group of bankers and investors calling themselves Crocker Research Laboratories. In March 1929, Jesse McCarger took the reins of the fledgling group, provided substantially more support and renamed the company Television, Inc. It was during this period (1929-1933), that publicity catapulted the promise of this little organization. However, with public awareness came the problems of competition, races to the patent office and legal disputes. The most significant and long-lasting conflict began in April 1930, when Dr. Vladimir Zworykin of Westinghouse visited Farnsworth's Laboratory. For three days he was a guest of the investors, who hoped to persuade Zworykin's employer to purchase their small company. But, unbeknownst to the Farnsworth staff, Zworykin had recently been hired by RCA, who sent him to the laboratory to obtain information for replicating the necessary television equipment. For the next decade Farnsworth and his attorneys were involved in court battles endeavoring to convince the United States Patent Office that it was he and not Vladimir Zworykin who had invented the basic components of electronic television. It was later to be one of Farnsworth's great professional satisfactions to have rival competitor RCA concede and pay one million dollars for rights to the Farnsworth patents.
During 1933, Farnsworth acquired enough investment capital to restructure the organization and change its name to Farnsworth Television, Inc. This name remained until 1938, when management purchased the Capehart Company of Fort Wayne along with a general household utilities plant in Marion, Indiana. With these acquisitions they were prepared to compete in the blossoming radio and phonograph manufacturing market. But while endeavoring to develop and refine his electronic television invention, Farnsworth was also responsible for providing investors with saleable products during the post-depression economy and directing and supervising laboratory personnel.
With the slowdown in radio and television production during the war years, Farnsworth closed down his Fort Wayne, Indiana home and moved permanently to Fernworth Farm in Brownfield, Maine. The Farnsworth Company had been converted to the production of war materials and was supplying electronic components to the federal government. With a subsidy from the Farnsworth Company, Farnsworth was able to spend more time developing ideas that had previously been dwarfed by the race for television patents. From 1939-1948 he utilized the farms lumber resources for the production of ammunition boxes for the War Production Board. The family venture was organized under the name of Farnsworth Wood Products Company and flourished for the duration of the war.
Anticipating the end of the war, RCA, Philco, and several other large companies received their commercial licenses from the FCC. They immediately began retooling their equipment for the commercial manufacturing of televisions. The Farnsworth Company quickly found itself at the rear of this aggressive pack of electronics firms in the scramble for parts and materials. In addition, the one-year grace period allowed by the federal government for repayment of its wartime bank loans was up. The company found itself financially strapped and frantically tried to sell its assets in order to remain afloat in the post-war market. When all but the original plant had been sold, substantial bank loans still remained outstanding. The board of directors voted to sell the company to International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) in 1949. Under the new management, Farnsworth retained his position as vice president of research and advance engineering. His primary function within the ITT system was to engineer his staff toward timely completion of space-age contracts awarded by the Air Force and other government agencies. During the next eighteen years he was to make ITT his home. It was within this environment that he invented components of the Defense Early Warning Signal, the PPI Projector (which allowed safe control of air traffic from the ground), an infrared telescope, submarine detection devices, radar calibration equipment, and other inventions.
Although his health continued to deteriorate, he actively worked on many military research projects. Nevertheless, due to illness and the time necessary for recuperation, ITT transferred him from his responsibilities as vice president of research to that of systems consultant. As such, he was able to follow his own pursuits and still remain on the ITT payroll. Fortunately, ITT management agreed to nominally fund his new controlled fusion ideas. He and staff members invented and refined a series of fusion reaction tubes called "fusors." Publicity about his activities persuaded ITT management to raise Farnsworth's salary and promote him to the position of director of research. For Scientific reasons unknown to Farnsworth and his staff, the necessary reaction lasted no longer than thirty seconds. In December 1965, ITT came under pressure from its board of directors to terminate the expensive fusion research and sell the Farnsworth subsidiary. It was only from the urging of President Harold Geneen that the 1966 budget was accepted, permitting ITT's fusion research one additional year. However, the stress associated with this managerial ultimatum threw Farnsworth into relapse. One year later he was terminated and eventually allowed medical retirement.
In the spring off 1967, Farnsworth and his family moved back to Utah to continue his fusion research at Brigham Young University, which presented him with an honorary doctorate. The university also offered him office space and an underground concrete bunker location for the project realizing the fusion lab was to be dismantled at ITT, Farnsworth invited staff members to accompany him to Salt Lake City as team members in his planned Philo T. Farnsworth Associates (PTFA) organization. By late 1968 the associates began holding regular business meetings and PTFA was underway. However, although a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was promptly secured and more possibilities were within reach, the financing needed to pay the $24,000 in monthly expenses for equipment rental and salaries was stalled.
By Christmas 1970, PTFA had failed to secure the necessary financing, the Farnsworth's had sold all their own ITT stock and cashed out Philo's life insurance policy to maintain organization stability. The underwriter had failed to provide the financial backing that was to have supported the organization during its critical first year. The banks called-in all outstanding loans. Repossession notices were placed on anything not previously sold and the Internal Revenue Service put a lock on the laboratory door until delinquent taxes were paid. During January 1970, Philo T. Farnsworth Associates disbanded. Farnsworth became seriously ill with pneumonia and died on 11 March 1971.
Although best known for his development of television, Farnsworth was involved in research in many other areas. He invented the first infant incubator. He was involved in the development of radar, peacetime uses of atomic energy, and the nuclear fusion process. At his death, Farnsworth held 300 U.S. and foreign patents, and Scientific American magazine called him one of the ten greatest mathematicians of his time.
Elma "Pem" Gardner Farnsworth (1908- 2006) was born on 25 February 1908 in Jensen, Utah. "Pem", as she was affectionately known, married Philo Taylor Farnsworth in 1926. She became part of her husband's lab team, handling the technical drawings for his early experiments on his vision for television and was present in San Francisco on 7 September 1927, when electronic television was first demonstrated successfully. Pem Farnsworth was the first person ever to appear on a cathode-ray-tube receiver via transmission from her husband's lab and has been referred to as "The Mother of Television."
During the last three decades following Philo's death, Elma Farnsworth had been a tireless advocate of her husband's work. During this period he received many posthumous honors. In 1977 he was awarded an Emmy by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; in 1983 his image was placed on a U.S. postage stamp; the Inventors Hall of Fame inducted him as a member in 1984. In 1990 a life-sized statue of him was placed in the Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. Elma wrote a biography on Philo It was published in 1989 with the title Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery on an Invisible Frontier.
Well into her 90's Mrs. Farnsworth continued her cause and was successful in lobbying the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to consider creating an award in honor of her husband's accomplishments. She took center stage to present the first "Philo T. Farnsworth" award for technical excellence in television at the 56th Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in 2003. A devout Mormon, she derived her greatest satisfaction from meeting school children and encouraging them to follow in her late husband's footsteps. Elma died on 27 April 2006 at the age of 98
Content Description +/-
The Philo T. and Elma G. Farnsworth papers (1924-1992) contain personal records, biographical data, books, awards, honors, technical drawings, research notes, workbooks, journals, news clippings, historical documents, speeches, patents correspondence, business records and a book written by Elma on Philo
The papers are divided into four sections. The first section contains Farnsworth's personal records. These include secondary biographical data; awards and honors; and Farnsworth's personal correspondence arranged in chronological order. This section includes Farnsworth's (and family) financial records, and the records of Farnsworth's Brownfield, Maine residence, which was purchased in 1938.
The second section contains Farnsworth's business records. Arranged chronologically, this section documents his professional life as an inventor, researcher, and engineer from 1926-1970. It also includes Farnsworth's professional correspondence during this time. Each heading in this section has been divided into five categories: operations and advertising, meetings records, stock records, finances and inventory, and technical drawings.
The third section, professional production and resource files, includes newspaper clippings from 1928-1991, speeches delivered, articles written by Farnsworth and by his associates, and patents applied for and received from 1928-1968. The bulk of this section, boxes 37-69, contains the research notes, workbooks, and journals of Farnsworth and his laboratory staff from 1927-1967. The last segment of this section contains professional articles and papers in chronological order from 1924-1971.
Section Four contains the selected papers of Farnsworth's widow, Elma G. "Pem" Farnsworth. It is a compilation of historical documents and notes reflecting her efforts to bring credit to her inventor husband. Included in this section are material and the media-related articles from 1972-1992. Other documents describe her activities following the death of her husband in 1971. Completing this section is Elma G. Farnsworth's biography of her husband entitled Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery on an Invisible Frontier.
This collection was arranged to facilitate its use by researchers and is not an attempt to recreate the original order of the materials. Most of the collection consists of the original materials although there are some photocopies, as in the case of new clippings included are extensive materials concerned with technical research as well as detailed information concerning the social, legal and economic dimensions of twentieth-century technology and invention.
Collection Use +/-
Restrictions on Access:
Twenty-four hours advance notice encouraged. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
Administrative Information +/-
Purchased from Elma G. Farnsworth in 1991.
Processed by Keith J. Morgan in 1993.
Farnsworth, Philo Taylor, 1906-1971
Materials are in English.
96.1 linear feet
Language of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid encoded in English.
Author of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid prepared by Keith J. Morgan
EAD Creation Date: