Who on Earth is John Logie Baird?

By Gary Cutlack on at

John Logie Baird is the latest beneficiary of the immortal life giving power of the Google Doodle, with the man from the black and white days getting his own little caricature and leading the UK search results for today. But why?

Because, according to Google and Wikipedia and some very old books, today marks the 90th anniversary of the first demonstration of the mechanical or analogue television set. The device that would soon unite the nation around weddings, wars, football matches, Del Boy falling through the bar, and fights in pubs between fictional East End hard men.

When Did It Happen? 

The 26th of January 1926 is when Logie Baird first fired up his test television system in public, inviting members of the Royal Institution and a journalist to see the amazing wireless-for-pictures invention he'd been building and testing in private.

What Was On? 

Just a repeat of some David Attenborough thing.

But Isn't There Some Beef About Who Really Invented The TV? 

Well yes, plenty of other people invented some earlier forms of the technology and concepts that Logie Baird would use, with some early attempts and components going part of the way as much as decades earlier, but his rightful claim is being the first to beam moving images with tone depth -- not just shadows and silhouettes -- and at a frame rate high enough to make it a believable copy.

Then He Just Sat Back And Watched?

He did much more. He gradually expanded the range of TV broadcast tech, setting numerous transmission distance records, then, after a frustrating afternoon of watching the BBC's snooker coverage, casually knocked out the world's first colour television system in 1928.

What A Genius

He got lucky. His earlier inventions wouldn't have been out of place in a weird in-flight magazine catalogue, as before he invented telly Logie Baird tried his luck at glass razors, graphite diamonds, pneumatic shoes and heated socks. TV wins, by quite a margin. [Google]

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