Emma “Pem” Farnsworth Dies


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

If you are are interested in Philo T. Farnsworth’s story, there are some excellent sites. See here, here and ( a for a very detailed biography )here.


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