High school classmate of Philo's reminisces (1992).
High school classmate of Philo's reminisces (1992).

Birthplace of Television

Field review by the editors.

Rigby, Idaho

Nearby Rigby was the boyhood home of the inventor of television, Philo T. Farnsworth, and signs at the city limits proclaim it "The Birthplace of Television."

The town museum tells his story. The museum has moved a couple of times; we visited when it was in an old bank building, using the vault to enshrine its most precious artifacts -- a collection of old TV tubes, a bronze bust of Farnsworth, and some of his personal items and awards.

Volunteer Alice Lufkin, 86, went to high school with Farnsworth. She sat in the vault and tried to provide tourists like us with a living link to the past. But her secondhand accounts led us to believe that as an adolescent Lufkin never gave the nerdy Farnsworth the time of day. We do learn that Farnsworth was inspired plowing a potato field, the parallel rows triggering his notion of television scan lines.

The Rigby Museum has since moved out of the bank vault and into an abandoned motel restored by convicts. It's a general museum, not just about TV. Also on display are collections of ladies' hats and hide scrapers and, for some reason, a scale model of the Spanish galleon Antocha (sunk in 1622).

TV Museum.

Also see: Philo Farnsworth Statues

Birthplace of Television

Farnsworth TV & Pioneer Museum

Address:
118 W. 1st S., Rigby, ID
Directions:
Farnsworth TV & Pioneer Museum. Downtown, on Hwy 48/1st St., one block west of US Hwy 20.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 1-5 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
208-745-8423
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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