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Televisions took many years to create. Philo Farnsworth began planning his system in 1921. But TVs weren’t available to buy until 1939. That year, television was part of the World’s Fair. This event showed off new inventions. People could view TVs. They also watched the first TV broadcast.

The first electronic TVs didn’t look like modern TVs. The screens were small. And the images were blurry. People turned knobs to adjust the images. Different knobs controlled parts of the picture. One set kept the image from twisting. Another kept the image centered on the screen.

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Making Connections


Philo loved to read books and work on machines. Do you prefer to learn by reading about things or by trying them yourself?


What other inventors have you read books about? What did Philo have in common with them? How was he different?


Philo’s invention helped solve problems with mechanical TVs. What is one problem facing technology today?

Teacher Resources

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