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The life of John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird was an engineer and inventor. Known as 'The Father of Television', he is most famous for being the first person to demonstrate a working television.

Born in Helensburgh, Scotland on 13 August 1888, Baird was an inventor and electrical engineer.

In early 1923, and in poor health, Baird moved to 21 Linton Crescent, Hastings, on the south coast of England. In a rented workshop in the Queen's Arcade in Hastings town he built what was to become the world's first working television set, incredibly, using items that included some darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, a used tea chest, and sealing wax and glue. At the heart of his invention was a rapidly spinning disc made from the lid of an old hat box. The picture produced was extremely fuzzy but this was just the beginning.

By 1924 he managed to transmit a flickering image of a Maltese Cross over the distance of 10 feet, and on 2 October 1925, he successfully transmitted the first ever television picture with a greyscale image of the head of a ventriloquist's dummy nicknamed 'Stooky Bill'.

26 January 1926 was when he gave the world's first demonstration of true television in front of members of the Royal Institution in an attic in central London. The picture measured just 3.5 x 2 inches.

It was in 1927 when Baird transmitted the world's first long-distance television signal over 438 miles (705 km) of telephone line from London to the Central Hotel at Glasgow Central Station.

He set up the Baird Television Development Company Ltd, which in 1928, made the first transatlantic television transmission from London to New York by short-wave radio. He also demonstrated television in colour, and developed a video recording system which he called ‘phonovision’.

In 1929, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) sent out the first official television programme and on 14 July 1930, 'The Man with the Flower in His Mouth' was the first drama shown on UK television. What a great time to mention that a special 50p coin is being released to celebrate 100 years of the BBC, find out more about it here.

Baird made many contributions to the field of electronic television after the original mechanical systems became obsolete. In 1939, he showed a system known today as hybrid colour using a cathode ray tube in front of which revolved a disc fitted with colour filters.

In 1941, he patented and demonstrated his system of three-dimensional television at a definition of 500 lines. On 16 August 1944, he gave the world's first demonstration of a practical fully electronic colour television display.

Celebrate John Logie Baird's most historic moments this special 50p coin. The coin dates his greatest accomplishments alongside the date of his birth and death. Add this great coin to your collection by clicking here.

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