A successful online crowdfunding campaign to raise £2,250 to secure two historic and very rare items related to John Logie Baird’s pioneering television days has resulted in their safe arrival in the place of his birth.
The two items, a copy of the world’s first commercial television catalogue dated 1928, and a spectacular 3 foot high glass cathode ray tube designed for the T5 television set are now in Helensburgh awaiting public display.
The catalogue is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. It illustrates the Baird Televisor models A, B and C with descriptions and prices, plus a picture of the internal works of the model B.
One other extant copy is owned by the MZTV Museum in Toronto, but that copy is missing the order form, making Helensburgh’s copy unique.
The earliest commercially televisors sold by Baird in the UK in 1928 were essentially radios with the addition of a television device that produced a postage-stamp size image, enlarged to twice that size by a magnifying glass.
The 1936 Cathode Ray Tube, or Cathovisor, is one of only ten or so known to exist and was used in the T5 TV set , described as the first high-definition receiver to be placed on the market.
Phil Worms of the Heroes Centre project team is delighted that the Charity has managed to secure the items for the town. “The catalogue in particular is a stunning acquisition and is a real museum piece. It is believed that these catalogues were produced by the Baird Television Development Company to promote the sale of the world’s first televisions at the 1928 Radio Exhibition held at London’s Olympia on the 22nd to the 29th of September. According to press reports at the time, Baird’s stand was the most popular and over 900 people per day witnessed working demonstrations. So many people were turned away that Baird arranged for the sets to be demonstrated at Selfridges. So what we have for the town is not only a significant piece of Baird memorabilia but also a genuine piece of world television history.”
The Charity, which hopes to eventually display the Baird items in its planned Heroes Centre as part of an inspirational three story Wall of Fame, is now considering several options for their display on an interim basis.
Phil added:” We feel it is very important that the items can be viewed and enjoyed by the community as soon as possible and we will hopefully be in a position to announce when and where they will be displayed soon.”