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John Logie Baird
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Helensburgh, Glasgow
Born on 13rd of August 1888
Died in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex
Died on 14th of June 1946

John Logie Baird was born on August 13th 1888 and died June 14th 1946. He was a Scottish engineer and inventor of the world's first working television system. He was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, the fourth child of a clergyman. In 1906 he began studying Electrical Engineering at Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. However, World War I interrupted his studies and he never graduated. Ill health meant that he was excluded from serving in the military and instead worked as an engineer. When the war ended he set himself up in business and in 1922 relocated to Hastings. It was here that he set up his first workshop for 'seeing by wireless'. His early equipment limited him to sending shadows and outlines, but he was able to apply for a patent in July 1923. The BBC expressed interest, but would not participate in his work. Following an explosion at his workshop in autumn 1924, Baird was asked to leave and he moved to London. Over the following year or so, Baird improved the quality of his equipment until in October 1925 he was able to transmit the 30-line image of a ventriloquist's dummy named Stooky Bill across the room, followed by the first image of a human being (office boy, William Taynton.) After this he formed Baird Television Limited, and on 26th January 1926 demonstrated the system in public, generating much interest and excitement. He followed this by successfully sending images across the Atlantic in 1928. The BBC was still not convinced by television, but following lobbying of the Postmaster General, Baird began broadcasting tests on the 2LO transmitter from his studio facility. By 1929 Baird's financial troubles were over, at least for the next 10 years, and he rented a large house on the top of Box Hill in Surrey. In 1931 Baird was married to Margaret Albu, and they went on to have two children together. The BBC finally began taking television seriously and on 22nd August 1932 began a regular, albeit experimental, service using Baird's system. In 1933 the Baird Television Company moved its main premises to Crystal Palace and, despite a boardroom coup throwing Baird off the company's board, in September 1933 he was able to transmit 120-line, 25 frames-per-second images from Crystal Palace. In March 1934, 180-line transmissions were shown, and the decision was made to appoint a committee to advise the Postmaster General on matters concerning television. The Baird Company announced that it would be applying for a licence to begin an independent, high definition television service to serve the whole of Greater London. In 1935 the Television Committee recommended a service to be operated alternately by Baird Television Limited and Marconi-EMI, and the service was officially launched on 2 November 1936. Then disasster struck when on 30th November 1936 fire broke out in the Crystal Palace building, engulfing the Baird facility. Then, adding insult to injury, the BBC decided to abandon use of the Baird system in favour of the Marconi-EMI system. Baird's company was closed down by its then owners, Gaumont-British Film Corporation, and with the advent of war in September 1939, Baird's contract was terminated. He moved his family to Bude in Cornwall, but throughout the war continued to work out of his laboratory at Crescent Road, Sydenham where he developed high definition colour and 3D television systems. It was during the difficult war years, with occasional visits to his family in Cornwall, that some of Baird's best work was carried out. Despite being physically worn out, in 1945 a new Baird company was set up with financial assistance from Jack Buchanan, and the family moved to Bexhill. Sadly however, Baird became seriously ill in 1946 and died just one week after the BBC resumed television broadcasting.

Links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/baird_logie.shtml BBC Profile
http://www.bairdtelevision.com/ Fan site

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