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Cygnus RA 19h 42m 41s D50* 44'

This Page Is Dedicated To My Mother

Lucy R. Serianni

In Loving Memory




Now showing some 90 light years from Earth. . .

~ Starring ~

Philo T. Farnsworth

Joseph Spallone

Mary Cupo (Parsons)

Lucy Rose Spallone (Serianni)

Josephine Viola (Queensbury)

It is not my intention to joke or mock this scientific achievement and the events that surrounded it in any way and I am hoping that the appearance of this site does not suggest otherwise. I have delighted in hearing this story throughout my lifetime and now take great pleasure in sharing it. It is my intention to convey the fond memories and events through the eyes of my family and friends during a truly wondrous and historical time.

It all began (for us) back around 1910, when my grandfather, Joseph Spallone, moved to Philadelphia (1634 Ardleigh Street) from Avezzano, Italy where he was born in 1890. Joseph arrived in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia where he met his wife, Anna Chesco. The couple got married in 1915 and quickly established roots and began raising a family.  After their first four children (Marion, Lucy, Ada, and Leonard) were born, the Spallone family moved to a larger home at 55 East Mermaid Lane in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia in approximately 1925. Five years later, just up the street, Philo T. Farnsworth rented a building and required help in transforming it to a research facility for the continuation of his experimental televisions. My grandfather was a highly skilled carpenter and cabinetmaker. With Mr. Farnsworth requiring the help of a craftsman and Joseph Spallone looking for work, the two connected. Joseph Spallone began his employment with Mr. Farnsworth by converting the rented building to a desirable work place. Mr. Farnsworth was impressed with my grandfather’s skills and talent and decided to keep him on after completing the building renovations. My grandfather had built various prototype cabinets for some of the early experimental televisions, as well as laboratory tables, and shelves, in addition to doing other general carpentry work for Mr. Farnsworth.

Over the years, Philo and my grandfather established an excellent working rapport and became close friends. My grandfather’s youngest daughter was ill and required special hospitalization. Mr. Farnsworth was instrumental in finding the appropriate facility for the Spallone’s youngest daughter in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania. Mr. Farnsworth's concern and devotion has been greatly appreciated by many in the Spallone & Serianni families.

Joseph Spallone (my grandfather) with Philo T. Farnsworth

at the annual Farnsworth Picnic

As my mother, her sister, and friends have informed me, my grandfather had done much more than just carpentry for Mr. Farnsworth. He was always able to meet Mr. Farnsworth’s business needs whether it involved wood, metal, basic electrical work, etc., and had remained in Mr. Farnsworth's employment for many years.

During those days, while my grandfather was working in and around the lab (127 East Mermaid Lane), there was constant experimenting with transmitting and receiving television signals. During one such experiment, Mr. Farnsworth asked my grandfather if his daughter, (my mother, Lucy Rose Spallone), who was playing and dancing in another room with friends could move in front of the experimental camera and dance as her father and his employer instructed them. The girls continued to dance and a signal was successfully broadcast, to a nearby receiver, much to the delight of a brilliant scientist, his assistants, and one carpenter.

A family star was born and, too, a story that has kept conversations alive at many dinner tables with delight, admiration, and awe for years!

The Dancing Girls in 1971, from left to right

Mary Cupo (Parsons), Josephine Viola (Queensbury), and

Lucy R. Spallone (Serianni)

My aunt, Ada Spallone, had babysat for the Farnsworth’s on many occasions. I recall a story where, on one occasion, Mr. Farnsworth had to take a much-needed vacation to Maine to reduce his stress from the well- documented pressures in Philadelphia (see the complete story at THE FARNSWORTH CHRONICLES). Again, Mr. Farnsworth required my grandfather’s master carpentry skills so off they went to Maine.

While in Maine, my grandfather began some carpentry work in the house where Mr. Farnsworth was staying. A snowstorm blew in and they were 'snowed in' for two weeks longer than planned.

In 1939, Mr. Farnsworth decided to move his operation to Fort Wayne, Indiana. My grandfather packed up his home and family and relocated to Fort Wayne along with the Farnsworth’s. My mother, at that time, was 18 and had been dating my father, Michael (Mickey) Serianni. The family's relocation to Fort Wayne ended that relationship. Joseph Spallone left behind one recently married daughter, Marion Spallone (DeNardo), in Mt. Airy, and a second daughter, Beatrice, in Chester Heights, PA., taking his wife, Anna, two daughters, Lucy and Ada, and two sons, Leonard and Joe.

The family adjusted quickly to life in Fort Wayne and Joseph Spallone continued under the employment of Mr. Farnsworth. His children established families and remained in Fort Wayne. My father and mother continued to write and finally, in 1940, my father drove out to Fort Wayne and convinced my grandfather to allow young Lucy to return to Philadelphia with him. All were in agreement that Lucy could move back to Philadelphia  but would stay with Sam & Rose Chesco on East Hartwell Avenue, (Lucy's mother's brother and his wife) and Mario & Rosalie Spallone (57 East Mermaid Lane), the brother of Joseph, until a wedding could be planned. My mother returned to Philadelphia with my father, married in 1943, and remained there for the rest of her life.

127 E. Mermaid Lane

Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

December 29, 1999

* * *   Related Links   * * *


The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

Philo Farnsworth has been named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Greatest Scientists and Thinkers of the 20th Century. Click the image above to read the online article...and cast your vote to name Farnsworth one of the Top 20!

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