The television technology had its humble and skeptical beginnings, but except for the Internet is the 20th century’s most influential invention, Monaghan argues (1). Even its own inventors may not have imagined the development it has reached today and the further development it could reach in the future.
The invention of the television cannot be attributed to a single person but many individuals (Bellis, “The Invention of Television” 1) whose works and accidental discoveries on optical, mechanical and electronic technologies contributed together in capturing, then transmitting and displaying a visual image (Blackwell 1; "History of Television," par. 2). It was the Briton Joseph May, a young electrical engineer and telegraph operator who in 1873 in Ireland accidentally discovered the photoelectric effect of selenium bars. It was his supervising engineer Willoughby Smith who proposed the idea of creating ‘visual telegraphy’ by exploiting this unique property of crystalline selenium. (Parsons 23) It was the German physicist Eugen Goldstein in his own investigation of discharge tubes in 1876 who produced light by forcing an electric current through a vacuum tube. This emitted light he called the ‘cathode rays’. (Blackwell 1) In 1897, the German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun invented the ‘cathode ray tube’ (Peters 5). It was the development of the cathode ray tube, more popularly known as ‘picture tube’ and found even in LCDs (liquid crystal display) today, that had become the basis of the development of the electronic television (Bellis, “Television History” 1). It was the American George Carey who in 1875 drew a plan of a complete TV system – a selenium camera. It was however undetermined whether he was able to build it or not. (Ritcher 6) It was the German inventor Paul Nipkow who in 1884 drew a plan for a rotating