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John Logie Baird (1888–1946)

Sponsored by Mark Read Seven Dials Trustee Sponsored by Mark Read Seven Dials Trustee

JOHN LOGIE BAIRD (1888–1946) — Sponsored by Mark Read Seven Dials Trustee

Location: Nos.2-6 West Street, abutting Upper St Martin's Lane, formerly Motograph House

Dates: 1926-28


John Logie Baird was the inventor of the Televisor, the first practical television apparatus for the instantaneous transmission of scenes or objects over a distance by wire or wireless. He also invented the Noctovisor, an apparatus for seeing in the dark by invisible rays. Baird founded Television Ltd in Soho in 1925 and gave the first demonstration of true Television on 26 January 1926. The next month he moved his company to the upper floor of Motograph House (often listed as in Upper Saint Martins' Lane) and was here until January 1928, when he moved to No.133 Long Acre, where there is also a plaque to him. His 2TV 250 watt station was eventually licensed in August 1926 (the Postmaster General's office initially bemused by the application). He began transmitting from Motograph House experimentally that autumn – three years before his work with BBC. Here he demonstrated noctovision and also phonovision, which was televising by gramophone – one needle for sound, another for picture. Something of an eccentric genius, he was always moving on to the next idea without finalising the last.

Sources: DNB; R W Burns, John Logie Baird: television pioneer (2000); A Kamm and M Baird, John Logie Baird – a Life (2002); BBC Archives; Post Office archives.

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