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Thumbnail sketch: Philo T. Farnsworth was living on a farm in Rigby Idaho in 1,921 when he figured out how to bounce electrons back and forth in a vacuum tube. In 1,927 he demonstrated the 'proof of concept' in a lab in San Fransisco (see related video, "The First Picture.") In 1,930 he obtained the critical patents for the art that made television possible, He fought with RCA over those patents through the rest of the 1,930s, finally becoming the first outside inventor to win patent litigation against RCA in 1,939.
By the time television became a household appliance, the name of its inventor was sufficiently lost to the public that he could appear on a TeeVee game show in 1,957 and not a soul would recognize him.