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Dead medium: Baird Mechanical Television, Part Three: Baird Mechanical Television Part 3: Other Countries, Other Systems
From: house127@teleport.com Trevor Blake
Source(s): (((See Note 11.8)))

VISIONEER: JOHN LOGIE BAIRD AND MECHANICAL TELEVISION


by Trevor Blake

PART THREE: OTHER COUNTRIES, OTHER SYSTEMS

England and the United States were not the only countries

that utilized mechanical television. The race to be the

first country to develop television was truly

international and included Canada, France, Germany, the

Soviet Union and Japan.

The base for mechanical television research in the

Soviet Union was Leningrad. The first Russian television

image was transmitted in 1928, and the first public

broadcast occurred in 1934. The first broadcast began

"Attention, attention, attention radio viewers: watch,

listen to the first television concert." The station was

soon flooded with letters from radio listeners asking

where they were supposed to look to see the concert.

In March 1935, Germany offered the world's first low-

definition (electronic) television service. It used 180

lines of resolution (compared to the 405 offered by the

BBC over a year later) and was seen mainly in public

viewing rooms. The Berlin Olympics were transmitted by

television, and in March 1936 a video telephone system was

established. No public official was recorded as using

television: the medium was used entirely for entertainment

during this period.

While England, the USSR and the USA ceased

transmissions during World War Two, Germany paused only

during the invasion of Poland.

If the BBC had not adopted the EMI system, it is

unlikely England would have had the facilities to

manufacture cathode ray tubes on an industrial level. And

had this not been possible, the manufacturing of radar

screens == and therefore the outcome of the war == might

also have been in question.

Mechanical imaging systems remain a vital technology.

Computer mice use two slotted disks that are rotated by

the track ball. These disks are positioned next to tiny

lights: as the disks spin the lights are registered as on

or off by photosensors, and software translates the

blinking lights as x-y cursor position. Software or sound

activated moving mirrors are the key component to laser

light shows as well as some virtual reality headgear.

While not commercially successful, video disks (as

opposed to laser disks) were an entirely functional

medium: a magnetic-tipped needle read encoded pulses in a

large plastic disk. All of these technologies, as well as

television, are directly indebted to John Logie Baird.

CHRONOLOGICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS Manly, Harold: DRAKE'S RADIO ENCYCLOPEDIA (Drank & Co.

1927)

Ghirardi, Alfred: RADIO PHYSICS COURSE (Radio & Technical

Pub. 1933)

Zworkin, Y. K. and Morton, G. A.: TELEVISION (John Wiley

1940)

Goldstein, Norm: THE HISTORY OF TELEVISON (Portland House

1991)

Kisseloff, Jeff: THE BOX (Viking 1995)

Ritchie, Michael: PLEASE STAND BY (Overlook Press 1994)
Winship, Michael: TELEVISION (Random House 1988)

Yanczer, Peter: THE MECHANICS OF TELEVISON (Peter Yanczer

1987)

(Peter Yanczer, 835 Bricken Pl., St. Louis MO 63122 USA)

MAGAZINES

Popular Science, March 1932

Mechanics and Handicraft, Vol. 1 #1, Winter 1933

Television: Journal of the Royal Television Society, April

1995

VIDEO

The Race for Television, BBC

INTERNET

The efficiency of on-line search engines and the shifting

nature of the Internet make long and comprehensive lists

of URLs both unnecessary and inaccurate. A search for

'John Logie Baird' or 'mechanical television' should turn

up several interesting sources. Only two are listed here.

http://www.teleport.com/~house127/lobby/mechtele.html This article, including illustrations.

ftp://ftp.teleport.com/pub/users/house127/avdept/mechtele.zip

A lengthy thread from alt.technology.obsolete on

mechanical television, as well as one or two pieces of e-

mail on the subject. Compressed using pkzip.

Trevor Blake
127 House - An Independent Archive of Systematic Ideology
P.O. Box 2321 Portland OR 97208-2321 USA - (503) 635-1796
house127@teleport.com - http://www.teleport.com/~house127