18 Interesting John Logie Baird Facts that You Should Know

Little fact lovers, let me introduce you to John Logie Baird.

He was a Scottish electrical engineer, inventor, and innovator😲.

He showed the world’s first live working television system on January 26, 1926. 

So, in this article, let us go through some really interesting facts about the life and works of this amazing person.

Fascinating John Logie Baird Facts

John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire

John Logie Baird Was Born In Dunbartonshire

Hey there, little friends, did you know that John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire? 

He was born on August 13, 1888, and was the youngest of four children of his parents.

His father was Reverend John Baird, who was the Church of Scotland’s minister for the local St Bride’s Church⛪.

While his mother, Jessie Morrison Inglis, was actually the orphaned niece of a wealthy family.

John Logie Baird was a born inventor

Even as a kid, Baird showed a great aptitude for innovation.

As a youngster, he quickly facilitated easier communication with a few of his best friends. 

Baird did this by setting up a rudimentary telephone exchange from his bedroom. This allowed him to easily connect with his friends. Really impressive, right?

Baird had a great urge to innovate something, even as a teenager

John Logie Baird's Urge To Innovate Something

By the time Baird was getting to his early teens, he had developed quite a great fascination with electronics.

He had started to carry on experiments and build inventions. 

After completing his primary schooling, Baird attended the Royal Technical College in Glasgow 🏫to study electrical engineering.

Baird’s television prototype was developed upon the works of his predecessors

Building upon the works of several scientists who had created different versions and components of the television 📺 set prior to Baird trying to create something unique.

Those scientists were Arthur Korn, Alexander Bain, and even Paul Gottlieb Nipkow. 

His early inventions weren’t successful

John Logie Baird's Early Inventions

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In his twenties, Baird tried to create diamonds 💎by heating graphite.

However, his experiment resulted in shorting out Glasgow’s electricity supply!

Moreover, he was able to make a glass razor. Though it was rust-resistant, it still shattered. 

Baird used whatever items he could get to start building a prototype

In the year 1920, Baird returned to the United Kingdom and started to explore the procedure to transmit movie images along with sounds!

However, he lacked corporate sponsors, and hence, he worked with the materials he came across and even scrounged them. 

Those items included some bicycle lights, an old hatbox, darning needles, a pair of scissors✂️, sealing wax, and glue.

All of these were part of his first “televisor.”

In 1924, he could transmit a flickering image a few feet away.

Later in 1925, Baird could transmit a television image of a ventriloquist’s dummy! Amazing, right?

Some people thought that Baird was insane

Some Thought That Baird Was Insane

Have you heard this amazing secret about Baird? No? 

On October 2, 1925, Baird could transmit the first television picture with a greyscale image successfully! Interesting, right?

He was quite eager to share this interesting news with the world, and hence, visited the offices of the Daily Express newspaper📰!

There, he asked them to speak to the news editor. 

However, the editor answered him, “For God’s sake, go down to reception and get rid of a lunatic who’s down there. He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless! Watch him – he may have a razor on him.

Baird’s studies were interrupted by several things

Baird’s studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. However, he got rejected mainly for his health issues👨‍⚕️. 

Later, he started to pursue his interests in England, where he worked for a utility company.

At that time, he even started a manufacturing business. 

Later, he moved to Trinidad and Tobago and briefly operated a jam factory there.

He then took a job AT Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company as a superintendent engineer and never looked back.

Baird showed his creation at Selfridge’s department store

Baird's Creation At Selfridge’s Department Store

After being successful, Baird could demonstrate his invention to the public at the department store of Selfridge in London.

In 1925, Gordon Selfridge, Jr. heard about Baird’s invention and asked him to give personal demonstrations of the technology to the customers of the store.

In 1926, he showed his creation to 50 scientists from Britain’s Royal Institution in London.

Though the transmitted image was often blurred and faint, it still substantiated a claim that through the ‘televisor,’ it is possible to transmit and even reproduce instantly the details regarding movements and things like the play of expression on the face.

Baird also created the 3D television or the stereovision

On August 10, 1928, Baird demonstrated the first 3D television. Baird named it “stereovision.”

In November of 1928, he wrote the Radio Times, “By applying the stereotype principle to television, it has now become possible to transmit television images with all the appearance of depth and solidity; and, by a further combination of colored television with stereoscopic television, the complete illusion of images in natural colors, and with depth and solidity becomes possible.”

In 1935, a BBC committee compared John’s technology with the electronic television of Marconi-EMI and said that Baird’s invention was inferior. The BBC dropped it in 1937. 

The limitations that came with the first form of Baird’s television

Baird’s Television

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The technology of Baird, while the first form of television, had some really intrinsic limitations. 

The reason was that it was mechanical-electronic television and was mainly developed by others. Also, Baird’s visual images were quite fuzzy and flickering!

A reporter from The Times wasn’t so impressed with Baird’s invention and even said, “The image as transmitted was faint and often blurred.”

However, he did concur that the invention of Baird “substantiated a claim” that it was possible to broadcast pictures over a distance!

Baird married Margaret Albu, a pianist

In the year 1931, Baird got married. At that time, he was 43 years old.

He married Margaret Albu 👰‍♀️, who was a South African pianist.

The couple lived quite happily and had a daughter, Diana, and a son, Malcolm, together.

Baird was responsible for the first transatlantic television broadcast

First Transatlantic Television Broadcast By John Logie Baird

Did you know this exciting fact about Baird?

Over several years, Baird continued to make improvements to his televisor and even struggled to increase the distance that it could transmit content. 

In the year 1927, he could transmit an image of a total of 438 miles between London and Glasgow.

On February 9, 1928, Baird Television Development Company produced the first transatlantic television broadcast. It was from London to New York.

In 2015, a rare recording of the broadcast was made available for sale to the public. However, an anonymous donor stepped in to stop that from happening.

Baird was the first individual to produce a live, moving television image

In June 1924, Baird purchased from Cyril Frank Elwell a thallium sulfide cell. It was developed by Theodore Case in America.

The Thallium sulfide cell or Thalofide cell was part of the vital new technology of ‘talking pictures.’

Thus, Baird became the first person to create a live, moving, grayscale television image from reflected light.

At that time, though Baird’s other inventions failed, he achieved this by applying two unique procedures to the Case cell.

He achieved this by improving the signal conditioning from the cell. He did this through temperature optimization and the video 🎥amplifier custom-designed by him.

Baird developed an early video recording system

Baird’s Early Video Recording System

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He even developed a system of recording television to disc!

He named it Phonovision.

The system included a large Nipkow scanning disk 💿that was attached by a mechanical linkage to a record-cutting lathe.

The result was a disc that was capable of recording a 30-line video signal!

However, Baird was unsuccessful in replaying the records, which stopped further development of the system. 

Recently, it was restored by a Scottish engineer, and also the world’s first recordings can now be seen as well.

John Longie Baird is considered one of the Greatest Britons 

If you are a fan of Baird like me, then you will surely love this amazing fact about this famous inventor!

John Longie Baird was ranked 44 in a poll conducted in the year 2002 by BBC in the United Kingdom.

It was done to rank the 100 Greatest Britons in history! Amazing, isn’t it?

Other honors offered to Baird

Honors Offered To Baird

In 2006, he was named as one of the 10 greatest Scottish scientists ever!

Moreover, the Logie Awards of Australian television was named in his honor!

Baird became the only deceased person in This Is Your Life when he was honored in 1957 by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television.

Also, in the 1957 TV film 🎬 A Voice in Vision, Michael Gwynn played Baird’s role. In 1986 TV drama The Fools on the Hill, Robert Mclntosh played Baird’s role.

On January 2016, Google released a Google Doodle to mark Baird’s 90th anniversary of offering the first public demonstration of live television.

Final days of Baird

From December 1944, Baird resided at 1 Station Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.

Later in June 14, 1946, he died there after suffering a stroke in February.

In the year 2007, the house was demolished and the site is today occupied by apartments called Baird Court.

Later, Baird was buried⚰️ in Helensburgh Cemetery, Argyll, Scotland, beside his father, mother and also his wife.

Summing up

So little fact lovers, how are you feeling after learning so many exciting facts about John Logie Baird?

Actually…we can continue more about him…but too much at a time is not good for your appetite! 😲!

So…see you soon with another topic!!

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