John Baird

John Logie Baird (1888 - 1946)

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John Logie Baird
Born in Helensburgh Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Bexhill, Sussex, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 30 Jan 2014
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Categories: Significant and Famous Scots | This Day In History August 14 | Unconnected Notables of Scotland.

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John Logie Baird was a British scientist of Scottish nationality, engineer, innovator and inventor of the world's first television

John Logie Baird


Baird was born at 8am on 13 August 1888 in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute then Dunbartonshire, the youngest of four children of the Reverend John Baird, the Church of Scotland's minister for the local St Bride's church and Jessie Morrison Inglis, the orphaned niece of a wealthy family of shipbuilders from Glasgow.

John Baird suffered ill health for most of his life, he nonetheless showed early signs of ingenuity, rigging up a telephone exchange to connect his bedroom to those of his friends across the street. His studies at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College were interrupted by the outbreak of World War One. Rejected as unfit for the forces, he served as superintendent engineer of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company when the war ended he set himself up in business.

Baird then moved to the south coast of England and applied himself to creating a television, a dream of many scientists for decades his first crude television was made of odds and ends, but by 1924 he managed to transmit a flickering image across a few feet on 26 January 1926 he gave the world's first demonstration of true television before 50 scientists in an attic room in central London,in 1927, his television was demonstrated over 438 miles of telephone line between London and Glasgow, and he formed the Baird Television Development Company (BTDC). In 1928, the BTDC achieved the first transatlantic television transmission between London and New York and the first transmission to a ship in mid-Atlantic he also gave the first demonstration of both colour and stereoscopic television.

The first known photograph of a moving image produced by Baird's "televisor", circa 1926 The subject is Baird's business partner Oliver Hutchinson


In 1936 the BBC started the world’s first regular high-definition service from Alexandra Palace using the Baird system, though it was abandoned one year later in favour of a system developed by Marconi-EMI by 1939, 20,000 television sets were in use in Great Britain, just 14 years after Baird’s first public demonstration of his system at work in 1940, Baird gave a demonstration of a high-definition full colour stereo television.

An early experimental television broadcast.


The editor of the "Manchester Guardian" said at the beginning of the C20th when the word television was thought of that "the word (television) is half-Greek and half-Latin no good will come of it."

One of the leading researchers into television in the 1930’s, Issac Shoenberg, told his research team (who had invented the world’s first practical television camera) that they "had invented the world’s biggest time-waster of all time." John Logie Baird died on June 14th 1946 in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England

Other inventions
  • In his twenties he tried to create diamonds by heating graphite and shorted out Glasgow's electricity supply.
  • Baird invented a glass razor which was rust-resistant, but shattered.
  • Inspired by pneumatic tyres he attempted to make pneumatic shoes, but his prototype contained semi-inflated balloons which burst
  • He also invented a thermal undersock (the Baird undersock), which was moderately successful Baird suffered from cold feet, and after a number of trials, he found that an extra layer of cotton inside the sock provided warmth
  • In 1928, he developed an early video recording device, which he dubbed Phonovision.
  • Baird's other developments were in fibre-optics, radio direction finding, infrared night viewing and radar.



See also

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