B. P. Grabovsky’s telefot: new critique of the myth

The racket that for many years has been accompanying the story of invention of a fully electronic system for transmitting moving images (the so-called telefot) by B. P. Grabovsky and his coauthors is hard to miss. The inventors worked on this project in Saratov, Leningrad and Tashkent from 1925 till 1929. This story was forgotten until the 1960s when I. F. Belyansky (one of Grabovsky’s coauthors) set out to prove the USSR’s priority in the creation of electronic television. Based on the analysis of known and new sources, the paper reconstructs both the true telefot story and the process of its mythologization. The data from the archives of the A. S. Popov Central Museum of Communications, concerned with the Russian television historians and specialists’ efforts to resist the mythologization of the telefot, is being published for the first time and will be of particular interest for the researchers. These television historians and specialists maintained that the invention of telefot is only important as the country’s first attempt at addressing the problem of electronic television at the time when it was only taking the first steps towards its realization in practice, and that overestimating the importance of this invention belittles the contribution of the recognized pioneers of electronic television, particularly that of B. L. Rosing. As regards international recognition, Russia has enough world-class inventions and doesn’t need to claim false priority.


Recommended bibliographic description

, B. P. Grabovsky’s telefot: new critique of the myth, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  240-257

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143