Coronavirus (COVID-19) While museums are closed, the Science and Society Picture Library prints site is fully operational and we have added an FAQ page here.

Baird's television apparatus, 1926.

Baird's television apparatus, 1926.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm


John Logie Baird's (1888-1946) mechanical television apparatus was basic but effective. He fitted 30 lenses in a spiral on a cardboard disc cut from a hat box and attached a darning needle as a spindle. This was connected to a motor mounted on an old tea chest which turned the disc. As the disc rotated, each of the lenses scanned a different part of the subject and reflected light, via a charged photo-sensitive cell, to a receiver. This idea was first suggested by the German physicist Paul Nipkow (1860-1940) in 1884 but he did not have the technology to fully realise its potential. During 1929-1935, the BBC transmitted experimental Television using Baird's system, and a year later the world's first regular high definition television service began.

Image Details

Image Ref.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

buy a print

Select size
Select finish
How many prints?

buy a framed print

buy a canvas

buy a framed canvas