La télescopie électronique basée sur l'emploi du sélénium. Presentation copy.
Paiva, Adriano de
First Separate Publication on Television: Presentation Copy
Paiva, Adriano de (1847-1907). La télescopie électrique basée sur l'emploi du sélénium. 48pp. Porto: Antonio José da Silva, 1880. 232 x 157 mm. Original printed wrappers, small chip at foot of spine; boxed. Very minor creasing, but fine otherwise. Presentation copy, inscribed "Hommage de l'auteur" on the half-title. Stamps of the Franklin Institute Memorial Library on the front wrapper, half-title and p. 19, commemorating the Institute's 1884 International Electrical Exhibition; F. I. Library reference stamp on the verso of the front wrapper.
First Edition. The first separate publication on television. Rare--OCLC cites only three copies in the United States (Burndy Library, Library of Congress, California State Library), and the Karlsruhe database shows two copies in Portugal, one copy in Italy and one in France.
Paiva, a professor of chemistry and physics at the Polytechnic Academy at Porto (Portugal), became interested in the possibility of transmitting visual images by wire after the demonstration of Alexander Graham Bell's telephone in Lisbon in November 1877, and after reading L. Figuier's report, published in L'Année Scientifique et Industrielle (June 1877, but read by Paiva after November 1877), of the "telectroscope," an instrument supposedly invented by Bell for the purpose of visual transmission. In February 1878 Paiva submitted a paper on a proposed telectroscope to the Portuguese journal O Instituto; the paper appeared in the March issue. Paiva's paper described an apparatus similar to that reported by Figuier, but was the first to suggest "televising" images by means of a selenium-covered plate, which would make use of selenium's peculiar electrical sensitivity to light (discovered in 1873 by Willoughby Smith) to convert light from images into electricity:
The experiments we intended to make, and which we shall still attempt to realize, consisted in the employment of selenium as the sensitive plate of the camera of the telectroscope. This body possesses the remarkable property, recently discovered, of,-when interposed in an electric circuit which passes through a galvanometer,-making the needle of the latter deviate sensibly whenever a luminous ray incides on the selenium, and this deviation varies with the color of the light (p. 47).
According to Lange's Histoire de la télévision (internet reference), Paiva's 1878 paper represents "la première formulation théorique de la possibilité d'utiliser le sélénium pour transmettre les images à distances" [the first theoretical formulation of the possibility of using selenium to transmit images at a distance]. In October 1879 Paiva published a paper in Commercio da Portuguez in which he presented another plan for a telectroscope, in which a selenium plate would be scanned by a metal point. As far as is known, Paiva never attempted to test his ideas experimentally.
In 1880, in the interests of establishing priority, Paiva published La téléscopie électrique, which included reprints of his 1878 and 1879 papers (in both Portuguese and French), several articles on the telectroscope reprinted from scientific journals and newspapers, and an English translation of Paiva's 1878 paper made by his student William Macdonald Smith. This small pamphlet represents not only the first separate publication of Paiva's papers, but their first appearance in languages well known in the wider scientific community. This copy of La téléscopie électrique was presented by Paiva to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which featured the work in its 1884 International Electrical Exhibition, the first exhibition on electricity held in the United States. Abramson, History of Television, pp. 8-9, 13. Shiers & Shiers, Early Television: A Bibliographic Guide, no. 142 ("the first publication of its kind on 'television'").
Book Id: 40037