The Life and Work of John Logie Baird

Categories: Collect

Known the world over as ‘The Father of Television’, John Logie Baird’s contributions to the world of technology cannot be understated.
His groundbreaking exploration into moving images paved the way for a revolutionary invention that changed the world as we know it and his impact
is still being felt to this very day. However, his journey to television was far from easy, and was filled with obstacles and speed bumps along the way.
Find out more about the life and work of this legendary inventor.

  • JLB_img

    1888

    John Logie Baird is born in Helensburgh, Scotland, on 13 August. He is the fourth and youngest child of Reverend John Baird and Jesse Baird.
  • JLB_img

    1900

    At the age of 12, Baird shows early signs of ingenuity by connecting his house to that of his friends’ nearby with telephone wire, essentially setting up a mini telephone exchange between their houses.
  • JLB_img

    1903

    A teenage Baird develops an interest in television after reading a German book on the photoelectric properties of selenium, planting the seeds for what would become his life’s work.
  • JLB_img

    1914

    Baird begins studying electrical engineering at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow. However, his studies are quickly interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War.
  • JLB_img

    1915

    With his studies on hold, Baird attempts to join the army but is deemed unfit for service due to chronic ill-health that he has suffered with from an early age.
  • JLB_img

    1916

    Baird becomes an assistant mains engineer for the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company.
  • JLB_img

    1917

    Unfulfilled by his job, Baird continues to pursue his passion of inventing. The result is the Baird Undersock – a water-absorbent sock that proves hugely popular, particularly with those in the army at risk of trench foot.
  • JLB_img

    1919

    With the financial success of the Undersock, Baird moves to Trinidad where he operates a jam factory. An insect infestation puts an end to this venture, which leads him back to the United Kingdom and, in turn, his passion for inventing.
  • JLB_img

    1923

    Having moved to Hastings on doctor’s advice, Baird begins experimenting with a number of new inventions, including a rustproof razor made of glass. The meagre success of this project leads him to revisit the notion of television – an event that becomes a turning point in his life.
  • JLB_img

    1924

    Using household objects and surplus materials, Baird assembles a crude prototype for what would become the first television. Shortly thereafter, he is able to transmit a flickering image of a cardboard Maltese cross a few feet across the room.
  • JLB_img

    1925

    On 2 October 1925, after months of trial and error, Baird’s efforts are rewarded and true television is achieved for the very first time. Moments later, Baird enlists the aid of William Taynton, the 20-year-old office boy from downstairs, who becomes the first person to appear on television.
  • JLB_img

    1926

    In developing his television technology, Baird manages to invent ‘Noctovision’ – the world’s first form of night vision using infrared light.
  • JLB_img

    1927

    Building on his groundbreaking innovation in television, Baird takes his new invention a step further by demonstrating colour television. Around the same time, Baird also develops ‘Phonovision’ – the world’s first video recorder.
  • JLB_img

    1927

    That same year, Baird achieves the very first long-distance transmission by sending pictures more than 400 miles from London to Glasgow. The Baird Television Development Company (BTDC) is formed soon thereafter.
  • JLB_img

    1928

    With national transmission accomplished, Baird sets his sights internationally. Baird sends a TV signal from the UK to the United States, achieving the world’s first transatlantic television transmission in the process.
  • JLB_img

    1929

    The Baird company is permitted to use BBC transmitters during off-hours for regular television broadcasts.
  • JLB_img

    1930

    The Baird Television Development Company unveils ‘The Televisor,’ the world’s first mass-produced television set that is available to the general public at the price of 25 guineas.
  • JLB_img

    1931

    The Epsom Derby becomes the world’s first televised sporting event, broadcast to hundreds of viewers of the Baird television service.
  • JLB_img

    1931

    At the age of 43, Baird marries the 24-year-old South African concert pianist Margaret Albu on 13 November in Coney Island, New York.
  • JLB_img

    1932

    Margaret gives birth to their first child, Diana, on 5 September 1932 in Hampstead, London.
  • JLB_img

    1932

    That same year; the BBC begins using the Baird television system for their first public television service. They continue to use Baird’s first method of broadcasting until 1935.
  • JLB_img

    1935

    On 2 July 1935, Baird’s son, Malcolm, is born at the family home at 3 Crescent Wood Road in Sydenham, London.
  • JLB_img

    1937

    In July, Baird is awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
  • JLB_img

    1938

    On 4 February 1938, Baird publicly demonstrates 120-line colour television to an audience of 3,000 at the Dominion Theatre in London. Images from Crystal Palace were broadcast on a 12ft by 9ft projector screen.
  • JLB_img

    1941

    Baird develops and demonstrates a high-definition colour and stereoscopic (3-D) television system.
  • JLB_img

    1944

    Having conducted numerous experiments during the war, in August Baird announces his invention of the world’s first integrated colour television picture tube, which he calls ‘The Telechrome.’
  • JLB_img

    1946

    Baird suffers a stroke that would ultimately lead to his passing. On 14 June 1946, Baird dies at home in Bexhill-on-Sea. He is buried in his hometown of Helensburgh, Scotland.

MEET THE MAKERS

Find out more
Feefo logo