Humanities › History & Culture Television History and the Cathode Ray Tube Electronic television was based on the development of the cathode ray tube. Share Flipboard Email Print Thomas J Peterson / Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated April 06, 2017 The development of electronic television systems was based on the development of the cathode ray tube (CRT). A cathode ray tube aka picture tube was found in all electronic television sets up until the invention of the less bulky LCD screens. Definitions A cathode is a terminal or electrode at which electrons enter a system, such as an electrolytic cell or an electron tube.A cathode ray is a stream of electrons leaving the negative electrode, or cathode, in a discharge tube (an electron tube that contains gas or vapor at low pressure), or emitted by a heated filament in certain electron tubes.A vacuum tube is an electron tube consisting of a sealed glass or metal enclosure from which the air has been withdrawn.A cathode ray tube or CRT is a specialized vacuum tube in which images are produced when an electron beam strikes a phosphorescent surface. Besides television sets, cathode ray tubes are used in computer monitors, automated teller machines, video game machines, video cameras, oscilloscopes and radar displays. The first cathode ray tube scanning device was invented by the German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun in 1897. Braun introduced a CRT with a fluorescent screen, known as the cathode ray oscilloscope. The screen would emit a visible light when struck by a beam of electrons. In 1907, the Russian scientist Boris Rosing (who worked with Vladimir Zworykin) used a CRT in the receiver of a television system that at the camera end made use of mirror-drum scanning. Rosing transmitted crude geometrical patterns onto the television screen and was the first inventor to do so using a CRT. Modern phosphor screens using multiple beams of electrons have allowed CRTs to display millions of colors. A cathode ray tube is a vacuum tube that produces images when its phosphorescent surface is struck by electron beams. 1855 German, Heinrich Geissler invents the Geissler tube, created using his mercury pump this was the first good evacuated (of air) vacuum tube later modified by Sir William Crookes. 1859 German mathematician and physicist, Julius Plucker experiments with invisible cathode rays. Cathode rays were first identified by Julius Plucker. 1878 Englishmen, Sir William Crookes was the first person to confirm the existence of cathode rays by displaying them, with his invention of the Crookes tube, a crude prototype for all future cathode ray tubes. 1897 German, Karl Ferdinand Braun invents the CRT oscilloscope - the Braun Tube was the forerunner of today's television and radar tubes. 1929 Vladimir Kosma Zworykin invented a cathode ray tube called the kinescope - for use with a primitive television system. 1931 Allen B. Du Mont made the first commercially practical and durable CRT for television.