Early TV pioneer who blazed trail in colour, 3D and HD

Share this article
Have your say

It is 125 years since the inventor of television was born, on August 13 1888.

John Logie Baird, from Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland, was the first person to demonstrate television publicly on January 26, 1926.

The extent of Baird’s accomplishments is vast. He also made the first transatlantic TV transmission, gave the first demonstration of colour TV and stereoscopic (3D) television and made the first video recordings.

He also developed high-definition and 3D TV in colour and made significant progress with fibre-optics, infra-red scanning and fast facsimile transmission during the Second World War.

His grandson, Iain, born in Canada, is associate curator at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He said Baird managed to stay at the forefront of innovation, leaving much larger companies in his wake.

“The cost of developing electronic television was insurmountable by anyone except the wealthiest corporations. So for someone to do it first, they would have to be a major radio corporation or somebody who was very innovative with the mechanical techniques and that was my grandfather.”

Despite his accomplishments, Baird struggled to prove his abilities to sceptics. His grandson said: “I don’t think people really comprehend now how hard he had to work to get television on the map because people were believing in all types of trickery.”

But he persevered and two years before his death in 1946 devised a standard of HD TV of comparable picture quality to some HD sets available today.