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Farnsworth/Tesla failed quirky genius

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:57 pm
by Richard Hull
As a historical note, in modern times, it seems every effort is being made to denigrate heroes that we were taught to respect. In the most positive light, we might be merely reminded that they were human and set on a high pedestal as if descended from mount Olympus.

Farnsworth and Tesla were geniuses, no doubt, but they had foibles and issues like all of us. They both suffered from abject failure to gain a life long source of income to which they had once become accustomed. Both Tesla and Farnsworth were rich then poor then rich again and poor again. This continued until their death. Both men sought and received accolades throughout their life, but in the end, were virtually forgotten.

For his fusion effort, save for this forum, Farnsworth is not even a foot note in the history of fusion. Yet, for 8 years, ITT funded the Farnsworth team's effort in hope of breaking into fusion. As the effort went forward, we note that the written record indicates periods of both success in the work and grave doubt on the part of the ITT executives. Near the end, Farnsworth was isolated from the work by better educated team members. Yes, every member of his team respected him mightily, but they knew ITT was looking for college qualified people in the fore of the project.

Ultimately, Farnsworth fell back on his "old escape"....drink! He Disappeared from work, shaken by his imagined irrelevance and fell into one of his long term drunken periods. ITT executives ultimately would first reduce his pay and then fire him from his position. The downward spiral began with a half-hearted recovery as "Farnsworth Associates" from 1967 until his death in the early 70's.

His fusion effort failed. At the very best, he might be remembered by a few as the inventor and father of all electronic television.

The greatest among all of us are still human. We have issues. No matter what we do should we become famous, some distant historian will poke around and bring us down a peg.

Kennedy, Einstein and many of our more famous NASA astronauts were known womanizers while married. Farnsworth, Tesla, and Armstrong died poor due to poor business practices, refusing to fight for what should have been compensation for their work, never allying with a big protective corporation to boost their name and prestige. It doesn't take but the slightest imperfection to help cloud brilliance and greatness. Such dirty laundry is much in vogue now as pompous, self-righteous historians, dig for dirt, not to set history aright, but muddy it a bit. Egos and hormones are powerful drugs constantly doing an often winning battle against genius brains seeking weak moments and outlets from the work at hand. Beware of endorphins!!

Richard Hull