Most people could not envisage their life without a television being somewhere in there. Today there are many ways to download programmes but it was Baird who was to demonstrate the first working model.
He was born in Helensburgh in Scotland on the 14th August 1888 and after being educated in local schools, entered Glasgow University. Unfortunately with the outbreak of World War I, he was unable to finish his degree. Health matters stopped him joining up and so he went to work at the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company.
It is not easy to pinpoint who invented the television as it was the culmination of a number of scientists and engineers. However it was Baird who demonstrated the first one to the Royal Institution on the 26th January 1926 at 22 Frith Street, Soho in London. There was one journalist present to report on the historic event. Although the picture was slow and jerky it did not stop progress and on the 3rd July 1928, Baird also demonstrated the first colour television.
He set up the Baird Television Development Company and in the same year (1928), made the first transatlantic television transmission from London to New York. Baird’s company also produced the first programme for the BBC. Although he had a good start, his methods were too inflexible and it was EMI-Marconi who eventually developed an electronic system.
Baird was an inventor above all other things. He came up with the first video recorder and was rumoured to have worked on radar. But he also had some rather unsuccessful projects which included a glass razor, blow-up pneumatic shoes and an attempt to heat up graphite to produce diamonds.
He moved to Bexhill-on-Sea where he died. In February 1944, he suffered a stroke and died on the 14th June that same year. In 2002, he came 44th in the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons.