Continued From April 8th Issue
“Distant Vision,” Pemberly Farnsworth’s story: Phil’s (Philo T. Farnsworth’s), burning desire to prove the validity of his television idea had finally found sympathetic ears. I was near to bursting with excitement at this good news. Phil squeezed my hand and motioned me to silence. Daddy and Phil’s mother sat as if mesmerized. They had promised to hear Phil out, and he was anxious that they hear the whole story before making any decisions. We talked into the night and Phil continued, “Mr. Everson has agreed to invest six thousand dollars (300,000 in today’s dollars), to get my television idea to the point where it can be evaluated by people more competent at judging its commercial value.” It seemed highly probable to them if a young boy of fifteen could conceive this brand-new television technology, surely the well-trained scientists from all of America’s biggest corporations must have thought of it too and are already developing it? Phil told them these same fears plagued him too, but at BYU he was reading the Bell Labs Technical Journals and other scientific journals. He was closely following the work already being carried out in the new field of electronics and he was sure the mechanical scanning systems for television had already reached their maximum capability.
Gorrell and Everson seemed impressed with Phil’s familiarity with the new technology and the possibility of transmitting moving pictures electronically and with no moving parts. They said Phil’s idea was a good one and since radio had taken such rapid hold on the public’s fancy, how much greater would be the impact of television? A partnership was formed that soon would become Everson, Farnsworth & Gorrell. As the inventor, Phil would have 50 percent of the venture, while the remaining 50 percent would be divided between Everson and Gorrell. Mr. Everson said, “This looks to be a great opportunity to cash in on a big thing, but in the event nothing comes of it, I’ll take the loss and say nothing more about it.” I said, “Oh, Phil, how absolutely wonderful!” I had been sitting on the edge of my seat, barely able to contain my excitement through all of Phil’s narrative. Phil’s mother, a kindly person whose many years of hard work on the farm had left their mark on her stooped shoulders and care-worn face, sat stunned. My father, after all the troubles both families had suffered, seemed to be having a problem believing this conversation was real. Phil tightened his grip on my hand and continued his story. “Everson and Gorrell have another Community Chest campaign coming up, and they want me to be in California. I like the idea of at least starting a lab in Los Angeles because I have a great deal of respect for some of the scientists at the California Institute of Technology and I hope to get some guidance from them. I told them there was one thing I wanted to do before leaving. I didn’t want to leave my sweetheart behind, so our plans would have to include a wedding. They hadn’t counted on that kind of complication. When Phil told them the girl was Miss Gardner who had helped at the Community Chest, they decided that to have my mind divided between work in Los Angeles and my girl in Provo, Utah; might be detrimental to the television project. They asked how long this would take; they hoped I could leave that weekend. I assured them I would be ready! “That’s great Phil, at last you’ll have a chance to prove your ideas! I’m so happy for you! It’s just incredible! My excitement was spilling all over the place. “Maybe you should go now and I could come later when we’ve ironed out the problems. Even as I shared his joy, I felt a deep sadness at the prospect of his being so far away. Our parents sat in stunned silence trying to sort out the shock of our being married so young and going to California. To be continued.
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