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Television's History -- or Myth?


Evan I. Schwartz's The Last Lone Inventor perpetuates the myth that either Philo T. Farnsworth or David Sarnoff was the "father of television" ("Summer reading, heavy to light," Books, June 30). Neither was. Britain's EMI team, directed by Isaac Schoenberg, perfected high-definition electronic scanning a year before Farnsworth's demonstrations.

Another misunderstanding is that regular TV service was initiated by NBC at the World's Fair in 1939. While The New Yorker was hailing this as the birth of television, 20,000 London households viewed live TV from a BBC transmitter inaugurated on Feb. 5, 1937. Ten different companies were selling sets.

Horace Hone

Palm Coast, Fla. Your editorial "Freddie Mac needs a fiercer watchdog" (American News, June 23) says a house is "a source of family savings." I agree, but in the eyes of the government, money "invested" in a home is considered an expense. This helps to explain why the "savings rate" is so low in the U.S. but is high in Japan where home ownership is quite low.

Thomas Hoffmann

Edina, Minn.


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