Scotlands History

John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird was an engineer and the inventor of the first working television system and of the first-ever colour broadcast (1928). The son of a minister, he was born in Helensburgh and attended Strathclyde and Glasgow universities.

Baird gave his first demonstration of television at Selfridges department store in London in 1925 and sent the first transatlantic transmission in 1928. In 1929, with Bernard Natan, he established France’s first TV company. His outside broadcast of the Derby in 1931 was also a first but in 1937 the BBC rejected Baird’s mechanical TV system in favour of Marconi’s electronic cathode-ray tube.

Famously, Baird later turned down £100,000 (a fortune in those days) for his TV company shares, claiming that he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night with so much money.

His many other inventions were in fields such as radar, fibre optics, and infrared night viewing. Today Australian TV awards are called Logies in his honour.

  • Photo of a television set from the 1930s with wood base and aluminium cover

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