John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird

Early Life:

John Logie Baird is a very famous Scottish inventor who was born in 1888 in Scotland. He played a vital role in the invention of the television and it was his invention of photomechanical television that broadcasted the transmission live for the first time ever. He studied at the University of Glasgow and also at Royal Technical College. It was due to his unstable health that he could not participate in World War I and he was enforced to give up his electric engineering post. After that he tried out many activities and tried to figure out his areas of interest as he had declared himself as a “Professional Amateur”.

Contributions and Achievements:

It was after his nervous breakdown that he started paying attention to electronics. Marconi’s explanation about the travelling of radio waves was his area of concentration. He was almost sure that visual signals could also be transmitted through the same process. With his firm believe he started working on his project. The basic design of Baird contained a scanning disk named Nipkow disk after its German inventor, Paul Nipkow, which was developed in 1884. This device was made up of a disk made out of cardboard that had square holes in it in series, spirally placed. The Nipkow disk scanned light and dark areas when it spun with the photoelectric cell. This process converted into electrical signals. When two such disks worked in synchronization, the signals were again translated into visual images.

Baird made innovations in this idea of Nipkow and added a feature to it which could transmit signals through electromagnetic waves instead of cable wires. The innovation was not appreciated and financed much by the investors. Throughout this time, Baird took odd jobs such salesman for razor blade and a shoe shiner just to earn enough money to support himself and buy his tools. Many of his inventions involved the use of household items like string, bicycle lamps, cake tin and knitting needles etc. Finally on October 2, 1925 he accomplished in transmitting the picture of the dummy of ventriloquist from his attic’s one end to another. He got really excited and ran to the nearest shop to convince a boy to be a part of his television transmission. This invention gave fame to Baird in a jiffy also arouse interest of the investors. A television signal was sent by him from London to Glasgow in 1927 and from London to New York later in 1928. The only problem was this design produced poor quality image. Vladimir Zworykin’s design of cathode ray tube substituted Baird’s design. Baird still helped in developing improved designs of televisions. He also helped with the colored television and large and wide screen projection which he thought would later be used for movie projection for public. Baird passed away in 1946 when he was 58.