This Day in History – October 2nd, 1925

In 1925 a Scottish engineer went to London seeking media attention to promote his new invention. When he visited the office of the Daily Express newspaper he was met with fear and considered a mad man. The news editor was terrified and he was quoted by one of his staff as saying: “For God’s sake, go down to reception and get rid of a lunatic who’s down there. He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless! Watch him — he may have a razor on him.” The editor may well have had reason to fear John Logie Baird, his invention would ultimately lead to a sharp decline in newspaper sales for decades to come.

Baird was a Scottish engineer, innovator and inventor of the world’s first mechanical television, the first publicly demonstrated color television system; and the first purely electronic color television picture tube. Baird’s early technological successes and his role in the practical introduction of broadcast television for home entertainment have earned him a prominent place in television’s history.

John_Logie_Baird_and_Stooky_Bill

In his laboratory on October 2nd, 1925, Baird successfully transmitted the first television picture with a greyscale image: the head of a ventriloquist’s dummy nicknamed “Stooky Bill” in a 30-line vertically scanned image, at five pictures per second. Baird went downstairs and fetched an office worker, 20-year-old William Edward Taynton, to see what a human face would look like, and Taynton became the first person to be televised in a full tonal range.

John_Logie_Baird00Many years later and the “lunatic” Scotsman, in 2002, was ranked number 44 in the BBC‘s list of the “100 Greatest Britons” following a UK-wide vote. In 2006, Logie Baird was named as one of the 10 greatest Scottish scientists in history, having been listed in the National Library of Scotland‘s ‘Scottish Science Hall of Fame’.

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