Vladimir Kosma Zworykin (Russian: Владимир Козьмич Зворыкин; Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin) (Murom1889 – July 30, Princeton (New Jersey)July 29, 1982) was a Russian-American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. He found a television transmitters and receiving system, based on the cathode ray tube. He played a major role in the practical development of television in the United States early thirties of the twentieth century. He also worked together with James Hiller to the early development of the electron microscope.

Many biographers call him the father of the (electronic) television, although there exist great threads about this designation.


[hide]*1 Biography


Zworykin was born in MuromRussian Empire in 1889. He grew up in a middle-class family: his father Kosma Zworykin a.[1was a wealthy merchant, his mother Elaine Zworykin was a distant cousin of her husband.Vladimir got a good upbringing, but hardly saw his father, mostly just at religious holidays. He studied at the Institute of technology in St. Petersburg, under professor Boris Rosing, where he his engineering degree in 1912.

According to recent discoveries has helped Boris Rosing with experimental work on the Zworykin television in the laboratory of Rosing of the artillery school in St. Petersburg. Rosing obtained his first patent on the television system in 1907. This was a patent on the early development of the cathode ray tube by the German physicist Ferdinand Braun. The first television demonstration was held by existing Rosing in 1911.

First World War[Edit]Edit

During the first world war served as an officer in the Russian army of the Zworykin liaison corps. Afterwards he obtained a place in the Russian Marconi Wireless company, where radio equipment was tested produced for the Russian army. Zworykin decided to flee to the United States Russia during the Russian revolution in 1918, after he had learned that he was wanted by the Cheka. He could flee through Siberia, where he went on an expedition to the Arctic Ocean led by the Russian scientist Innokenty p. Tolmachev. He returned to Omsk, when the capital of Aleksandr Kolchak's Government in 1919. He served in the White Army that fought the Communists . His services ended with the decline of Kolchak's Government. At that time he decided to permanently settle in the United States, in order to become an American citizen in 1924.

Life in the United States[Edit]Edit

Zworykin found work In the United States in the laboratories of Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In addition to his work as a radio technician he got within Westinghouse the opportunity to continue his television experiments. While working at this company, he studied in the evenings at the University of Pittsburgh that ended in 1926 with a doctorate in physics. His dissertation on photoelectric cells later became one of the six books he co-author.

His television research at Westinghouse he summarized together in two patents. The first, called "Television Systems", was listed on december 29, 1923. Soon after followed his second patent: it was an improvement on his first system and included a first description of color transmission. Both patents were never awarded and the equipment described therein, he never successfully demonstrated. Because of the high development costs Westinghouse showed little interest in order to make a commercial working model.

On november 28, 1929, at a meeting of IRE-radio technicians in Rochester, Zworykin gave a lecture with a demonstration of a new type of television receiver, which he called kine scoop .

Radio Corporation of America[Edit]Edit

At this meeting was also present another immigrant from Russia, David Sarnoff, Vice President of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Sarnoff was so impressed with him that he and his television Zworykin ideas of Westinghouse took over. Within months he was appointed head of the new electronics by Sarnoff Research Centre in Camden (New Jersey). In contrast to Westinghouse he got from RCA called the free hand to continue the development of the television. Through various promotions, he managed to climb in 1947 to the position of Deputy Director of RCA, a post he held until his retirement in 1954.

From his retirement until 1962 he was Director of medical research at the Medical Electronic Center of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University). In addition he gave guest lectures at home and abroad.


Zworykin resigned in 1915 in marriage with Tatiana Vasilieff, whom he first met during his service time. Although they had a difficult marriage, they got two children. After his divorce he remarried in 1951 with Katherine Polevitzky, a Russian professor of bacteriology at the University of Pennsylvania and widow of the former burgemeerster of Murmansk. It was for both of their second marriage. The ceremony was held in Burlington, New Jersey.

He died one day before his 93rd birthday in his hometown of Princeton, New Jersey.


[1][2]Vladimir Zworykin and Mildred Birtfor a kine scoop (1929)

In the laboratory of RCA began Zworykin to the difficult task to develop a reliable television system. During an internal evaluation, Middle 1930, revealed that his kine scoop the excellent did (although limited to 80 lines), but that did not apply for its transmitter that was still of the mechanical type. A breakthrough came only when Zworykins team decided to develop a new type cathode tube transmitter based on French and British patents from 1928 of the Hungarian inventor Kálmán Tihanyi.

Unlike the television image parser of the American Philo Farnsworth Tihanyi's design was based on "charge storage". This function uses a light sensitive screen that holds the image until the scanning electron beam this has read off.

Not in 1923, but according to biographer Albert Abramson[2it was only in 1931, Zworykin started his first experiments with the full electronic television camera. After on 23 October 1931 the first promising results were achieved, it was decided that the new camera tube would get the name 'iconoscoop'. In 1934, the system was ready to be tested.In 1935, the iconoscoop introduced in Germany. The system was there readily produced with addition of some improvements. The image was successfully applied in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics. The images of the games were sent to two hundred public theaters.

With the exchange of patents in 1936 were the first electronic tv broadcasts made in England. This was done at the same time in test with another system, the Bairdsystem.Television broadcasts were started by the British BBC in november 1936. The British Marconi-EMI 405 lines had electronic system (lines jump; carriage return), Baird 240 (direct developed film scanned by Nipkow disk 240 lines progressive) while the German 441 lines had. RCA developed the early-model had a definition of 375 lines. The BBC remained with 405 broadcasting with an interruption for World War II until 1980.


Because of his lengthy career at RCA Zworykin was involved in the many important developments within the company. At the time of his death he owned more than 120 patents[1and he received many awards, including the Rumford Prize (1941), the Faraday Medal (1965) and the National Medal of Science (1967) awarded by president Lyndon Johnson.

Of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) he received the Lamme Medal (1948) and the Edison Medal (1952). In 1951 he was awarded the IRE Medal of Honor: "for his outstanding contributions to the principle and development of electronics devices such as the basis of modern television. And for his scientific achievements that led to fundamental advances in the application of electronics in communication, industry and national security. "

He was in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Vision on TV[Edit]Edit

Although he was proud on the technology of his invention, he looked very little to his 27 inch television set because of the violence and the senseless programs that the networks were broadcasting regularly.

"I hate what they've done to my child... I would never let my own children watch it. "

— Vladimir Zworykins his words over the television