John Logie Baird

(1888—1946) television engineer

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(1888–1946) British inventor

Baird, who was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, studied electrical engineering at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow and then went to Glasgow University. His poor health prevented him from active service during World War I and from completing various business enterprises in the years following the war.

After a breakdown in 1922 he retired to Hastings and engaged in amateur experiments on the transmission of pictures. Using primitive equipment he succeeded in transmitting an image over a distance of a couple of feet, and in 1926 he demonstrated his apparatus before a group of scientists. Recognition followed, and the next year he transmitted pictures by telephone wire between London and Glasgow. In the same year he set up the Baird Television Development Company. He continued to work on improvements and on 30 September, 1929, gave the first experimental BBC broadcast. Synchronization of sound and vision was achieved a few months later. In 1937, however, the Baird system of mechanical scanning was ousted by the all-electronic system put forward by Marconi– EMI. Baird was at the forefront of virtually all developments in television and continued research into color, stereoscopic, and big-screen television until his death.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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