Celebrating 90 years of television

Picture of John Logie Baird from the BBC

Picture of John Logie Baird from the BBC

25 January 2016

On 26th January 1926, the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird invited members of the Royal Institution to his laboratory in Frith Street in Soho to witness a demonstration of what was eventually to become the world’s dominant mass medium – television.

Having spent three years working day and night to perfect his dream of ‘seeing by wireless’, Baird finally succeeded in transmitting an image over a distance.

An article from The Times on 28th January 1926 reported on the historic event: ‘For the purposes of the demonstration the head of a ventriloquist’s doll was manipulated as the image to be transmitted, though the human face was also reproduced.

First on a receiver in the same room as the transmitter and then on a portable receiver in another room, the visitors were shown recognizable reception of the movements of the dummy head and of a person speaking.

The image as transmitted was faint and often blurred, but substantiated a claim that through the "Televisor" as Mr.Baird has named his apparatus, it is possible to transmit and reproduce instantly the details of movement, and such things as the play of expression on the face.’

90 years to the day, Aberystwyth University Centre for Media History and the Royal Television Society (Wales) are hosting a lecture to mark the occasion.

Don McLean, early television expert and author of Restoring Baird’s Image, will be talking about the significance of those experimental days in television’s history.

Dr Jamie Medhurst, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication and Co-Director of the Centre for Media History said that he was delighted that the University was hosting the event. “The importance of those events 90 years ago cannot be underestimated. Here, for the first time, images were ‘televised’, thus preparing the way for the launch of the world’s first public television service ten years later when the BBC began to televise from Alexandra Palace in north London.”

The lecture is being held in the A14 Lecture Theatre in the Hugh Owen Building, Penglais Campus at 6.00pm with a reception to follow.