Scanning Phototelegraph, 1881.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The scanning phototelegraph was invented by Shelford Bidwell (1848-1909) in 1881. This is his original apparatus (the earliest television-related object in the Science Museum's collection) and has examples of the sillhouette images it transmitted and received. It is the forerunner of today's Fax machine and used a selenium cell connected to a simple scanning system.