John Logie Baird, Marshall McLuhan, TV & Books


In January 1926 John Logie Baird (1888-1946) was the first publicly to demonstrate real television. Other pioneering achievements followed, including the first transatlantic transmission, the first demonstrations of colour television and stereoscopic television, and the first video recordings. In the 1930s he twice televised the Derby, and was the first to demonstrate cinema television, in black-and-white and colour. During World War II he developed high-definition and stereoscopic television in colour, and invented the first all-electronic colour television tube. He also made significant advances in radio imaging, secret signalling, fibre optics, infra-red scanning, and fast facsimilie transmission. See .

John Logie Baird’s son talks about his father’s legacy

5 October, 2012 – THE son of Helensburgh-born TV inventor John Logie Baird and an expert who has written two books about him both spoke at the first public meeting of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust winter season in Helensburgh Tennis Club.

Professor Malcolm Baird, the Trust’s president who lives in Canada, was back in the burgh to give a talk entitled ‘Print versus Television: from Baird to McLuhan’, but because he had a very sore throat his presentation was read by Trust chairman Stewart Noble. He revealed that, even as a youngster, John Logie Baird was an avid reader and very fond of the printed word. In later life he was friendly with journalists and enjoyed giving them details of his inventions, and he had a large library of books.

Professor Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher of communication theory, who wrote in the 1960s that that the culture of print would soon be brought to an end by what he called ‘electronic interdependence’. He predicted the world wide web almost 30 years before it happened, and coined the phrase “the medium is the message”.

Baird however believed in print and felt that, that whatever happened with electronic media, print would still have a very important place. [Note – McLuhan also believed that an obsolesced medium like print would not disappear, but be re-purposed, enjoy a variety of special applications and become art. -AlexK]

Dr Douglas Brown, a Dumbarton man who recently retired from Strathclyde University, spoke about his new book ‘The Three Dimensions of John Logie Baird’, which describes his work in colour, 3D and holographic television. He said that many of the techniques Baird pioneered are still used in modern day systems.


The full text of Professor Malcolm Baird’s lecture – Print v Television: from Baird to McLuhan – can be found at .


One of the most significant inventions of the last 100 years took place in Queens Arcade, Hastings

4 Responses to “John Logie Baird, Marshall McLuhan, TV & Books”

  1. 1 Malcolm Baird

    Thanks for picking up on my talk in Helensburgh on Sept.26.

    The full text of the talk can be found at the following link.

    • Malcolm, thank you for that link. As an instructor of communication and media studies, I am happy to know more about the work of your father. With your permission I’d like to publish in a new posting an extract from your full text, with a link back to the source. Would that be acceptable? For your information, my McLuhan Galaxy blog is one of two official blogs of the Marshall McLuhan estate. See ……AlexK

      • 3 Malcolm Baird

        Alex, sorry for the delay in getting back. Thanks for your interest. By all means feel free to publish my lecture as long as you acknowledge the source!

      • Thanks, Malcolm. And thanks for making your father’s work better known on this side of the pond……AlexK

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