Elma “Pem” Farnsworth, the wife of Philo T. Farnsworth, died April 27th at the age of 98. Farnsworth, the “Father of Television”, came up with the idea of television as a 14 year old living in Rigby, Idaho
Philo Farnsworth was a 14-year-old Idaho farm boy, plowing his father’s potato field when the furrowed rows gave him the vision that pictures could be transmitted electronically – line by line, row by row. He was 21 when he transmitted the first television image in 1927: a single rotating line from an “image dissector” camera to a cathode ray tube for viewing in another room. “There you are – electronic television,” were his now famous words.
Farnsworth went to his Rigby High Chemistry teacher, Justin Tolman, with a sketch of the system for television. Farnsworth constructed a working system in a small lab in San Francisco in 1927. He applied for a patent for television that same year.
Pem worked with him as a lab assistant and was probably the first person to have her picture transmitted through a cathode ray tube. The picture above is thought to be one of the early examples.
Pem’s obiituary is here