On this day in history : 26th January 1926 – Scottish engineer and inventor John Logie Baird demonstrates his mechanical television system publicly for the first time….
Baird was born in August 1888 on the West Coast of Scotland and was the son of a clergyman…. He studied at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College but his studies were to be interrupted by the advent of World War One…. Having suffered ill-health for all of his life Baird was declared unfit to serve in the forces and so his war effort was spent working for the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company, where he served as a superintendent engineer….
After the War he travelled to the West Indies, spending a brief period in Trinidad where he tried to set up a jam making business! For whatever reasons his venture was not successful and he returned to England, to live in Hastings on the South Coast where he began to experiment with transmitting images….
One of his breakthroughs was to successfully transmit an image of the Maltese Cross for a distance of over 10 feet…. His very first demonstration was held in Selfridges in 1925 – but a further breakthrough came in October 1925 when he managed to transmit television pictures in light and shade – making the images much clearer to see….
On the 26th of January 1926 he repeated this transmission at his laboratory on 22, Frith Street, Soho, London…. In attendance were members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain – an organisation based in London devoted to scientific research and education…. Also present was a reporter from The Times newspaper….
Baird demonstrated the first colour transmission on the 3rd of July 1928…. The test comprised of a young girl wearing a series of different coloured hats…. Her name was Noele Gordon – who went on to have TV success of her own in the TV soap ‘Crossroads’….