Vladimir K. Zworykin

Vladimir K. Zworykin bigraphy, stories - Russian engineer

Vladimir K. Zworykin : biography

July 29, 1888 – July 29, 1982

Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin ( – Vladimir Koz’mich Zvorykin) (July 17 (July 29) 1888July 29, 1982)The birth year has been recently revised from 1889 to 1888 according to the metric book of Sretenskaya Church of the town of Murom (now in the archive of Murom ZAGS). The metric book was brought into attention by V. Ya. Chernushev, the birth date of Zworykin was revised by K. M. Velembovskaya, journal "Новая и новейшая история" (Modern and Contemporary History) № 5 2009. was a Russian-American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. He played a role in the practical development of television from the early thirties, including charge storage-type tubes, infrared image tubes and the electron microscope.


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

– Vladimir Zworykin on his feelings about his children watching television.

"The switch. The switch to turn the damn thing off."

– Vladimir Zworykin on his favorite thing on television.


He died on July 29, 1982 in Princeton, New Jersey.


Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin was born in Murom, Russia, in 1888, on July 29 (old style July 17), to the family of a prosperous merchant. He had a relatively calm upbringing, and he rarely saw his father except on religious holidays. He studied at the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology, under Boris Rosing. He helped Boris Rosing with experimental work on television in the basement of Rosing’s private lab at the School of Artillery of Saint Petersburg. Rosing had filed his first patent on a television system in 1907, featuring a very early cathode ray tube as a receiver, and a mechanical device as a transmitter. Its demonstration in 1911, based on an improved design, was among the first demonstrations of TV of any kind.

Drawing from V. Zworykin’s 1923 patent application Television System., United States Patent Office, Patent No. 2,022,450, 1935-11-26, retrieved 2010-05-10., United States Patent Office, Patent No. 2,141,059, 1938-12-20, retrieved 2009-06-03.

Vladimir Zworykin’s patent diagram of an iconoscope, 1931, with an apparatus similar to the camera part.

V. Zworykin graduated in 1912 and, thereafter, studied X-rays under professor Paul Langevin in Paris. During World War I, Zworykin was enlisted and served in the Russian Signal Corps, then succeeded in getting a job working for Russian Marconi, testing radio equipment that was being produced for the Russian Army. Zworykin decided to leave Russia for the United States in 1918, during the Russian Civil War. He left through Siberia, travelling north on the River Ob to the Arctic Ocean as part of an expedition led by Russian scientist Innokenty P. Tolmachev, eventually arriving in the US at the end of 1918. He returned to Omsk, then capital of Admiral Kolchak’s government in 1919, via Vladivostok, then to the United States again on official duties from the Omsk government. These duties ended with the collapse of the White movement in Siberia at the death of Kolchak. V. Zworykin decided, this time, to remain permanently in the US.

Once in the U.S., V. Zworykin found work at the Westinghouse laboratories in Pittsburgh, where he eventually had an opportunity to engage in television experiments. He summarized the resulting invention in two patent applications. The first, entitled "Television Systems", was filed on December 29, 1923, and was followed by a second application in 1925 of essentially the same content, but with minor changes and the addition of a Paget-type screen for color transmission and reception. He was awarded a patent for the 1925 application in 1928, and two patents for the 1923 application that was divided in 1931, although the equipment described was never successfully demonstrated.Schatzkin, Paul (2002), The Boy Who Invented Television. Silver Spring, Maryland: Teamcom Books, pp. 111-8. ISBN 1-928791-30-1.Abramson, Albert. The History of Television, 1880 to 1941. (1987). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., p. 209 ISBN 0-89950-284-9.Abramson, Albert. (1995), Zworykin: Pioneer of Television. University of Illinois Press, pp. 51-52.