Scope: This is a balanced biography of one of the 20th Century's outstanding inventors, published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Baird's first public demonstration of a rudimentary television system. The book is based on primary source documents although many personal recollections are included to add humour and colour. Much material regarding Baird's business in the early 1920s has only recently become available and is covered here for the first time.
Although Baird is credited in the UK as the inventor of television, the book considers many interesting areas such as comparing Baird's technical strategy with the work undertaken in industrial laboratories, how his policy compared with the development of wireless by Marconi, and the impact of his business partnerships (despite his patents he did not die wealthy).
Professor Burns is an acknowledged expert and author of several books including "Television: an international history of the formative years" for which he won the prestigious 1999 Kraszna-Krausz Award.
"In summary, we have an admirable and definitive book which only serves to enrich the further deserved acceptance of Baird's achievements." 405 Alive, January 2002
"Another thoroughly-researched, professional and beautifully-produced volume from the IEE. Burns knows his subject well and has contributed several other volumes to IEE's outstanding series." The Old Timer's Bulletin, November 2001.
"Burns has written what must surely be the ultimate biography of Baird...essential reading for anyone with an interest in the life of one of Britain's most colourful inventors" British Vintage Wireless Society, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2001.
"The present volume bears the usual stamp of scholarly thoroughness which characterises other books from Burns pen. It avoids the...pitfalls of previous biographies and gives a rounded picture of the great inventor...It would be fair to say, that, armed with this volume...the reader should be ready for any debate featuring the Great Man." NBTV Quarterly, March/April 2001 (Vol. 26, No. 3).
Historians of science, technology and media, especially broadcasting/TV.
Chronology; 1: Early life; 2: Hastings; 3: Frith Street, London; 4: The first demonstration of TV; 5: Noctovision, phonovision and spotlight TV; 6: Company formation and long distance TV; 7: TV and the BBC; 8: The first TV broadcast and other 'firsts'; 9: Overseas interests; 10: Large screen TV; 11: Early TV work of Bell Telephone Laboratories; 12: Financial difficulties; 13: The first public 30-line service; 14: Baird's personality; 15: A rival and high definition TV; 16: The London TV station; 17: Baird and cinema TV; 18: The war years; Epilogue: 'Two greats'; Appendices; Index.