STORY OF THE BOY WHO INVENTED TELEVISION

This week’s segment of Farnsworth’s fusion story is the beginning of an ending that will follow in a few weeks, but before we end this story it must be said that every member of Farnsworth’s original fusion team was an absolute gentlemen and that they were scientists from the old school who practiced true scientific principles that seldom exist today. Farnsworth’s men never made any claim that could not be verified by repeatable and unbiased scientific experiments, and no matter how leading my questions got, not one of them ever spoke a word of gossip, or said anything derogatory about Philo Farnsworth or any other team member.

 

Most modern science begins with a corporate or government conclusion and then PhD’s are hired and experiments are conducted that prove their wishful thinking; and the sole function of that type of bogus science is more funding for next year’s budget, and if they ever discovered anything or told the truth they’d soon be out of work.

Farnsworth’s dilemma was if he accepted funding from ITT he would be forced to also accept their personnel, orders and direction from ITT headquarters in Nutly, New Jersey, but the magnitude of this project would not permit it to continue at his home laboratory. Farnsworth had, but two choices, end the fusion project for lack of funding or move it to Pontiac Street and accept the curse that inevitably follows corporate funding. No sooner had the fusion project moved to Pontiac Street than ITT insisted Admiral Fritz Furth (head of Naval Research), ITT senior engineer George Bain, and Fred Haak (vacuum specialist) be added to the fusion team. While there was a measure of respect between Farnsworth and the Admiral a personality clash soon developed between Farnsworth’s mechanical engineer Jack Fisher and ITT’s senior engineer George Bain who had become Jack’s boss after the move. George designed and drew plans for a sliding device needed to move the fusion tube from side to side, but Jack said it wouldn’t work because it would be, underpowered, the electrical schematic was wrong, and it would be complicated and expensive to build! George pulled rank on Jack and threatened to write him up for insubordination if he didn’t follow orders?

According to more than one person interviewed Farnsworth liked Jack Fisher because he could build about anything, and he (Jack), knew how to keep his mouth shut about secret projects. When Jack wasn’t working for Philo he was either tinkering at his home workshop, or hunched over his Ham Radio, but he always seemed to be at odds with ITT’s dress code. Admiral Furth was in charge of everybody, but Farnsworth, and although the Admiral wasn’t entirely spit and polish, he couldn’t help but notice Jack’s never shined shoes, or the wires he’d replaced his shoelaces with, his rope belt, or his not so white shirt and wrinkled trousers. Anyway, Jack built the slider exactly like George designed it, and when the day came for a trial run the errant switch was activated, fire flew and it flashed, popped and stopped. The team (with the exception of Jack) stood in shocked silence, but Jack snickered and his restricted belly laugh brought tears to his eyes. After the Admirals normal color returned to his face he stared Jack into silence and asked, “Just how would you have built this device Mr. Fisher?” Jack said, “I’d have gone to a junk yard and bought a motor and switches off a Cadillac’s power seat for about forty dollars and used them!” Admiral said, “Mr. Fisher have your device ready for a test run tomorrow afternoon or a report on my desk explaining why not! The next afternoon, with two team members standing on it, he ran it stop to stop and it worked flawlessly, but it did little for harmony between him and George.

The Waynedale News Staff
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