Mechanical Television History and John Baird

John Baird (1888 - 1946) invented a mechanical television system

John Baird
A television transmission of John Baird's own face, only 30 lines of resolution. LOC

John Logie Baird was born on August 13th, 1888, in Helensburgh, Dunbarton, Scotland and died on June 14th, 1946, in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England. John Baird received a diploma course in electrical engineering at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (now called Strathclyde University) and studied towards his Bachelor of Science Degree in electrical engineering from the University of Glasgow, interrupted by the outbreak of W.W.1.

Early Patents

Baird is best remembered for inventing a mechanical television system. During the 1920s, John Baird and American Clarence W. Hansell patented the idea of using arrays of transparent rods to transmit images for television and facsimiles respectively.

Baird's 30 line images were the first demonstrations of television by reflected light rather than back-lit silhouettes. John Baird based his technology on Paul Nipkow's scanning disk idea and later developments in electronics.

John Baird Milestones

The television pioneer created the first televised pictures of objects in motion (1924), the first televised human face (1925) and a year later he televised the first moving object image at the Royal Institution in London. His 1928 trans-Atlantic transmission of the image of a human face was a broadcasting milestone. Color television (1928), stereoscopic television and television by infra-red light were all demonstrated by Baird before 1930. He successfully lobbied for broadcast time with the British Broadcasting Company, the BBC started broadcasting television on the Baird 30-line system in 1929. The first simultaneous sound and vision telecast was broadcast in 1930. In July 1930, the first British Television Play was transmitted, "The Man with the Flower in his Mouth."

In 1936, the British Broadcasting Corporation adopted television service using the electronic television technology of Marconi-EMI (the world's first regular high-resolution service - 405 lines per picture), it was that technology that won out over Baird's system.

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Bellis, Mary. "Mechanical Television History and John Baird." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Bellis, Mary. (2021, February 16). Mechanical Television History and John Baird. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Mechanical Television History and John Baird." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).