Romilly Rutherford

Farnsworth Laboratory Television Engineer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Romilly Rutherford (1908-2002) talks about his early years building crystal radio sets while experimenting with sight and sound. He describes becoming a machinist and joining the Merchant Marine. He recounts at length his work in the laboratory of Philo T. Farnsworth, recalling the financing of the lab, the first pictures transmitted, and early test broadcasts. He discusses his later years with Farnsworth, including Farnsworth building a television studio in 1936, as well as the television demonstration at the Franklin Institute and the television demonstration at the 1939 World's Fair. He concludes by giving his and what he imagines Farnsworth's opinions world be of the then-current state of television and sharing some pictures form his career. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 22, 1997 in San Diego, CA. 

"Invention is just another way of expressing yourself and what people can do. You can pick up on something that hasn't been uncovered yet. I don't like the fighting over patents. The reason for patenting something is to be able to have something to give to people, not for the money."

Highlights
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
04:09
Romilly Rutherford on the Franklin Institute demonstration of television in 1934
08:06
Romilly Rutherford on getting into creating television 
05:23
Romilly Rutherford on the publicity Philo T. Farnsworth received and how Farnsworth handled the press
03:07
Romilly Rutherford on the first picture transmitted in Farnsworth's lab
02:47
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on when he first heard radio
On building crystal radio sets and the first time he heard a voice on the radio; on his early experimentation with sight and sound

Chapter 2

On early commercial broadcasting; on early person-to-person radio transmission; on becoming a machinist
On joining the Merchant Marine; on doing radio work in the Merchant Marine; on getting into creating television 

Chapter 3

On going to work for Philo T. Farnsworth; on the fire that led to him being hired by Philo T. Farnsworth; on his hours and daily duties working for Philo T. Farsworth
On Philo T. Farnsworth's lab; on getting new equipment in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab; on various people with whom he worked at Philo T. Farnsworth's lab

Chapter 4

On keeping the financiers of Philo T. Farnsworth's lab happy; on the mood in the Farnsworth lab and the possible applications of his research; on the first picture transmitted in Farnsworth's lab
On Philo T. Farnsworth as a manager; on very early test broadcasts in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab; on the publicity Philo T. Farnsworth received and how Farnsworth handled the press

Chapter 5

On famous visitors to Philo T. Farnsworth's lab; on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab during the Depression and moving the lab to Philadelphia; on Philo T. Farnsworth's then-new Philco lab in Philadelphia and the progress made in the year he took off 
On money and other obstacles faced by Philo T. Farnsworth and his Philco lab; on being laid off by Philco in 1932 by Philo T. Farnsworth; on Philo T. Farnsworth leaving Philco and being hired to work for Farnsworth again at a different company

Chapter 6

On the Franklin Institute demonstration of television in 1934; on Philo T. Farnsworth setting up a television studio in 1936; on Philo T. Farnsworth's feeling about the money making aspect of television and the beginnings of television as a medium
On leaving Philo T. Farnsworth in 1937; on the television demonstration at the 1939 World's Fair; on Philo T. Farnsworth's later years
On the then-current state of television; on what he believes Philo T. Farnsworth would think about the then-current state of television and the legacy of his work

Chapter 7

On various people with whom he worked throughout his career
On b-roll footage from his career- baby picture; Robert Rutherford, wife Jeanette Rutherford and Philo T. Farnsworth; with Jeanette Rutherford; organization packet from Philo T. Farnsworth; Philo T. Farnsworth, Cliff Gardner and Pam Farnsworth; invitation to unveiling of a statue of Philo T. Farnsworth from 1990
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Romilly Rutherford on the television demonstration at the 1939 World's Fair
01:01

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Romilly Rutherford on the television demonstration at the 1939 World's Fair
01:01

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Romilly Rutherford on his early experimentation with sight and sound
05:40
Romilly Rutherford on getting into creating television 
05:23
Romilly Rutherford on going to work for Philo T. Farnsworth
08:32
Romilly Rutherford on his hours and daily duties working for Philo T. Farnsworth
02:52
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
04:09
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's activities in his lab
04:19
Romilly Rutherford on getting new equipment in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
02:02
Romilly Rutherford on various people with whom he worked at Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
05:05
Romilly Rutherford on the mood in the Farnsworth lab and the possible applications of his research
03:35
Romilly Rutherford on the first picture transmitted in Farnsworth's lab
02:47
Romilly Rutherford on very early test broadcasts in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
01:35
Romilly Rutherford on the competition to Philo T. Farnsworth's work
07:51
Romilly Rutherford on the publicity Philo T. Farnsworth received and how Farnsworth handled the press
03:07
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab during the Depression and moving the lab to Philadelphia 
05:51
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's then-new Philco lab in Philadelphia and the progress made in the year he took off 
04:13
Romilly Rutherford on money and other obstacles faced by Philo T. Farnsworth and his Philco lab
02:39
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth leaving Philco and being hired to work for Farnsworth again at a different company
06:12
Romilly Rutherford on the Franklin Institute demonstration of television in 1934
08:06
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth setting up a television studio in 1936
02:52
Romilly Rutherford on the then-current state of television
02:56

Television Industry

View Topic
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's feeling about the money making aspect of television and the beginnings of television as a medium
03:25
Romilly Rutherford on what he believes Philo T. Farnsworth would think about the then-current state of television and the legacy of his work
05:07
People

Philo T. Farnsworth

View Person Page
Romilly Rutherford on going to work for Philo T. Farnsworth
08:32
Romilly Rutherford on the fire that led to him being hired by Philo T. Farnsworth
03:14
Romilly Rutherford on his hours and daily duties working for Philo T. Farnsworth
02:51
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
04:09
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's activities in his lab
04:19
Romilly Rutherford on getting new equipment in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
02:02
Romilly Rutherford on various people with whom he worked at Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
05:05
Romilly Rutherford on keeping the financiers of Philo T. Farnsworth's lab happy
06:26
Romilly Rutherford on the mood in the Farnsworth lab and the possible applications of his research
03:35
Romilly Rutherford on the first picture transmitted in Farnsworth's lab
02:47
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth as a manager
03:31
Romilly Rutherford on very early test broadcasts in Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
01:35
Romilly Rutherford on the competition to Philo T. Farnsworth's work
07:51
Romilly Rutherford on the publicity Philo T. Farnsworth received and how Farnsworth handled the press
03:07
Romilly Rutherford on famous visitors to Philo T. Farnsworth's lab
03:55
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's lab during the Depression and moving the lab to Philadelphia 
05:51
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's then-new Philco lab in Philadelphia and the progress made in the year he took off 
04:13
Romilly Rutherford on the then-new management at Philo T. Farnsworth's Philco lab in Philadelphia 
03:55
Romilly Rutherford on money and other obstacles faced by Philo T. Farnsworth and his Philco lab
02:39
Romilly Rutherford on being laid off by Philco in 1932 by Philo T. Farnsworth
02:12
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth leaving Philco and being hired to work for Farnsworth again at a different company
06:12
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth setting up a television studio in 1936
02:52
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's feeling about the money making aspect of television and the beginnings of television as a medium
03:25
Romilly Rutherford on leaving Philo T. Farnsworth in 1937
03:56
Romilly Rutherford on Philo T. Farnsworth's later years
01:41
Romilly Rutherford on what he believes Philo T. Farnsworth would think about the then-current state of television and the legacy of his work
05:07

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