Where was the first TV picture transmitted?

Knowing the passion we show for "the silly box", we should remember the following date: October 2, 1925.

It was on October 2, 1925 when the Scottish engineer and inventor, John Logie Baird was able to transmit the image of a doll to London, thanks to the mechanical television system. This television has nothing to do with how you’d imagine tv’s today. 

Baird’s machine was based on Nipkow’s camera, which is very similar to a ‘camera obscura’ but with the entrance hole of mobile light.

Baird performed the first test in his laboratory in London, where he successfully managed to transmit the first image on a working television system. The first image he transmitted was a ventriloquist doll vertically scanned, an image made up of 30 lines, at five images per second in grayscale. This was a great milestone at that time.

His experiments suggest that the minimum number of television lines to produce a recognisable image of the human face was 30 and this was the standard he then went on to adopt.

It would have been quite easy to increase the number of lines in the laboratory but like other television pioneers, he encountered the problem of limited bandwidth to amplify and transmit signals. That’s how low-definition television was born.

Due to the success of the test, Baird called an office clerk, William Edward Taynton, who was 20 years old at the time, to see what a human face would look like on television. This is how Taynton became the first person to appear on television in a full tonal range.

As soon as his experiment was a success, Baird rushed off to his local newspaper office to alert the media about his invention unfortunately, he was branded as a crazy man. The news editor was terrified by his claims, he went on to describe Baird as a madman who claimed to have a machine to see things wirelessly. He even warned the receptionist to watch out for him because he could be armed with a razor and be violent.

In the end, Baird would have to wait for his grand debut in the world of media until January 1926. He then repeated the historic broadcast for members of the Royal Institution and a reporter from The Times again in his laboratory.

As months passed, the scanning speed improved to 12.5 frames per second. It was the world’s first public television demonstration.

This wasn’t Baird’s last achievement. He went on to demonstrate the world’s first colour transmission in  1928 and in 1932 he became the first person in Britain to demonstrate ultra-short wave transmission.

Although Baird's electromechanical system was eventually replaced by purely electronic systems (such as those of Vladimir Zworykin, Marconi-EMI and Philo Farnsworth), his early successes gave him a prominent place in the invention of television.


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