Soon after 1900, the momentum shifted from ideas and discussions to physical development of television systems. Two major paths in the development of a television system were pursued by inventors.
- Inventors attempted to build mechanical television systems based on Paul Nipkow's rotating disks or
- Inventors attempted to build electronic television systems based on the cathode ray tube developed independently in 1907 by English inventor A.A. Campbell-Swinton and Russian scientist Boris Rosing.
- American Charles Jenkins and Scotsman John Baird followed the mechanical model while
- Philo Farnsworth, working independently in San Francisco, and Russian emigrant Vladimir Zworkin, working for Westinghouse and later RCA, advanced the electronic model.
- Electronic television systems eventual replaced mechanical systems.
1906 - First Mechanical Television SystemLee de Forest invents the Audion vacuum tube that proved essential to electronics. The Audion was the first tube with the ability to amplify signals.
Boris Rosing combines Nipkow's disk and a cathode ray tube and builds the first working mechanical TV system.
1907 Early Electronic SystemsCampbell Swinton and Boris Rosing suggest using cathode ray tubes to transmit images. Independent of each other, they both develop electronic scanning methods of reproducing images.
1923Vladimir Zworkin patents his iconscope a TV camera tube based on Campbell Swinton's ideas. The iconscope, which he called an electric eye becomes the cornerstone for further television development. Zworkin later develops the kinescope for picture display (aka the reciever).
1924/25 First Moving Silhouette ImagesAmerican Charles Jenkins and John Baird from Scotland, each demonstrate the mechanical transmissions of images over wire circuits.
John Baird becomes the first person to transmit moving silhouette images using a mechanical system based on Nipkow's disk.
Charles Jenkin built his Radiovisor and 1931 and sold it as a kit for consumers to put together (see photo to right).
1926 30 Lines of ResolutionJohn Baird operates a television system with 30 lines of resolution system running at 5 frames per second.
1927Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce conduct the first long distance use of television that took place between Washington D.C. and New York City on April 9th. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover commented, “Today we have, in a sense, the transmission of sight for the first time in the world’s history. Human genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown.”
Philo Farnsworth, files for a patent on the first complete electronic television system, which he called the Image Dissector.