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The BBC's Sandy Murray
"Many think he did not receive his due recognition"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 17:27 GMT
TV history - 75 years in the making
John Logie Baird at work
John Logie Baird was dogged by ill health
History was made 75 years ago to the day with the world's first demonstration of television by Scottish inventor John Logie Baird.

Technology has moved on significantly since then, but credit for starting the TV revolution has been given to the minister's son from Helensburgh.

But some of his fans think Mr Logie Baird never received the level of recognition he deserved.

History of British television
January 1926 - Baird successfully demonstrates mechanical TV.
1930 - Baird Televisor on sale for 18.
1932 - BBC launches regular TV service (low-definition).
1936 - First regular public high-definition television service from Alexandra Palace.
1939 - TV service terminated at outbreak of war, relaunched only in 1946.
1955-1964 - Colour television experiments conducted at Alexandra Palace and Lime Grove.
1955 - First independent regional service launched by Associated Rediffusion.
1964 - BBC introduces 625-line sets and renames its output channel BBC One, launches BBC Two.
1967 - Colour broadcasting begins in the UK.
1982 - Launch of Channel 4.
1989 - First analogue satellite transmissions from BSkyB.
1994 - Launch of digital services in Europe.
1997 - BBC launches 24-hour news channel, BBC News 24. Channel 5 begins broadcasting.
1998 - BBC launches digital channel, BBC Choice.
Television is one of the technologies which defined the 20th century and is playing an equally influential part in the 21st.

As a child, a young Logie Baird was always trying to invent things and at the age of 12 he had made his house the first in his town to have electric lights.

He also managed to create a telephone exchange which allowed him to speak to his friend across the road.

He took an electrical engineering course at Glasgow's Royal Technical College before going on to the city's university. The final year of his BSc was interrupted by the war of 1914-18.

Mr Logie Baird was deemed unfit to serve in the armed forces, so he went to work for the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company, but was forced to give up because of ill health.

After a number of other enterprises, including a spell as the owner of a jam factory in Trinidad, he retired to Hastings, Sussex, in 1922 and began tinkering.

Darning needles

He decided to concentrate upon TV which had been the dream of scientists for 50 years.

His first TV was made with practically no money and included a washstand and a tea chest. A biscuit tin housed the projection lamp and scanning discs were cut from cardboard and cycle lenses.

The crude apparatus was held together with scrap wood, darning needles, string and sealing wax.

By 1925 he was successful, having managed to transmit the image of a ventriloquist dummy, called Stokey Bill, to a primitive television.

Test transmissions

Mr Logie Baird believed his invention to be brilliant but no one took him seriously.

The BBC initially concentrated on radio production because of a belief that television was a passing phase.

But by 1929 the BBC began making test transmissions to the limited numbers of people who owned televisions.

The BBC used to make two transmissions a day; one transmission was a news programme while the other was musical.

The inventor's inspiration was not limited to TV - he also did work with infrared technologies.

Mr Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire on 13 August 1888. He was the youngest of four children of the Reverend John Baird and his wife, Jessie Morrison Inglis, who came from a shipbuilding family in Glasgow.

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15 Oct 99 | Scotland
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