TV man Baird’s vision celebrated with Hall of Fame induction

Scottish inventor of television John Logie Baird with an early TV set.
Scottish inventor of television John Logie Baird with an early TV set.

John Logie Baird, the man who was the first in the world to televise objects in motion has been inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

Derek Elder, chairman of the Institution of Engineering Technology’s Scottish policy goup said: “The IET has an annual John Logie Baird Lecture in his memory.

‘‘That is a measure of his importance in the history of technology.

‘‘The Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame award is richly deserved.”

Professor Malcolm Baird, the son of John Logie Baird, provided original material for the Hall of Fame website and said: “Scotland’s contributions to engineering are so great that it came as a surprise to me that the Scottish engineering hall of fame has only been in existence for a few years. 

‘‘The descendants of John Logie Baird in Scotland and Canada are delighted he has been included and we hope that will inspire bright young people to continue Scotland’s great tradition of engineering and innovation.’’

Chairman and founder of the Scottish engineering Hhall of fame, Gordon Masterton, said: “The Hall of Fame shows how Scotland can rightly claim to be one of the most important seed beds of great engineering accomplishments since the 16th Century.

‘‘Engineering inspired enterprise has been part of Scotland’s DNA for nearly half a millennium.

‘‘John Logie Baird is one of Scotland’s outstanding examples of ingenuity, invention and perseverance.

‘‘We would like to see the public participate in nominations for the Hall of Fame, especially if it expands our group of living engineers and women engineers. Citation forms can be downloaded from the website:”

John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, educated at Larchfield Academy, the Royal Technical College and the University of Glasgow.

He was the first person to televise objects in motion.

He produced televised images in outline in 1924, transmitted recognisable human faces in 1925, and demonstrated the televising of moving objects in 1926 at the Royal Institution. He demonstrated colour television in 1928.

On September 30, 1929 the BBC transmitted, using the Baird 30-line system, its first experimental television broadcast.

Then, on August 22, 1932, the first UK public 30-line television service was inaugurated by the BBC.

When the BBC’s London television service began in 1936, his system was in competition with one promoted by Marconi Electrical and Musical Instruments and in February 1937 the BBC adopted the Marconi EMI system exclusively.

The last BBC transmission using the Baird system was sent out on January 30, 1937.

Baird Television Ltd went into receivership in 1939 after BBC Television was closed down by the onset of war. Despite this, Baird continued to innovate and ultimately held 178 patents. He demonstrated 3-D television in 1942.

Although Baird’s system was not the one that was finally chosen by the BBC, it was Baird who led the way in television and Baird who had the courage, imagination and determination to bring about its success.

He created the spark and had the vision to predict the huge impact that television would have on the world.

He is regularly cited as one of the world’s great innovators and inventors.

His name is synonymous with Scottish ingenuity and perseverance in engineering.