Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr.

Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr.

Thomas Toliver Goldsmith, Jr. was an early television pioneer, the inventor of the first video game, and a professor of physics at Furman University.


Goldsmith was born in Greenville, South Carolina on January 10, 1910.citation|title=Thomas Goldsmith: An Interview|first=Frank|last=Polkinghorn|publisher=IEEE History Center|date=May 14, 1973|url=] citation|title=Contributors|journal=Proceedings of the I.R.E.|date=1944|page=248|url=] He received his B.S. at Furman University in Greenville in 1931, in physics, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1936, under the supervision of Dr. Frederick Van Bide.List of emeriti in [ Furman University catalog 2005–2006] , p. 149.] After graduating from Cornell, he became director of research for DuMont Laboratories, and (after 1953) vice president; [citation|title=3 Promoted by DuMont; Officials of Laboratories Are Made Vice Presidents|journal=New York Times|date=November 23, 1953.] he chaired the Synchronization Panel of the National Television System Committee and also the Radio Manufacturers Association Committee on Cathode-Ray Tubes. He also became the chief engineer for the DuMont Television Network; [citation|title=The Forgotten Network: Dumont and the Birth of American Television|first=David|last=Weinstein|publisher=Temple University Press|year=2004|isbn=1592134998.] television station WTTG, formerly in the DuMont network, is named for his initials. [citation|title=WTTG Marks 50 Years; Born In a Hotel Room|journal=Washington Post|first=Patricia|last=Brennan|date=May 14, 1995.] In 1966 he left DuMont to become a professor of physics at Furman,citation|title=Scopes' story: fits and starts|journal=EE Times|url=|date=1997.] and he retired to become an emeritus professor in 1975.

The first video game

US patent|2,455,992, granted to Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann in 1948, describes what may be the world's first video game, and also the first video game patent. [citation|title=Patents Are Becoming Crucial to Video Games|first=Gregory P.|last=Silberman|journal=The National Law Journal|date=August 30, 2006|url=] Entitled "Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device", the patent described a game involving aiming missiles at a target, and was inspired by the radar displays used in World War II.

Awards and honors

Goldsmith is a Life Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. [ [ Life Fellows –] .] In 1949, he won an Institute of Radio Engineers Award "For his contributions in the development of cathode-ray instrumentation and in the field of television." [citation|title=I.R.E. Awards 1949|journal=Proceedings of the I.R.E.|volume=37|issue=4|year=1949|pages=412–415|url=] In 1979, the Radio Club of America honored Goldsmith with the first Allan B. DuMont Citation for "important contributions in the field of electronics to the science of television". [ [ Radio Club of America – Awards] .] In 1999, Goldsmith won the first Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award as part of the Innovision Technology Awards competition honoring innovation in the upstate South Carolina area. [ [ Innovision Technology Award winners] ; citation|title=Seeking companies with 'InnoVision'|journal=Greenville News|first=Terry|last=Weaver|date=June 14, 2004|url=]


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