John Logie Baird’s Lecture Notes

 Today the Travelling Museum of British Invention comes to the University of Glasgow. The television, one of the greatest inventions in terms of cultural impact, was invented by former University of Glasgow student John Logie Baird. Recently Glasgow University Archive Services has been given his engineering lecture notes, giving us a rare glimpse into an inventor’s mind.


John Logie Baird studied at the university in 1914 and took, among other things, Pure and Applied Electricity and Engineering. His lecture notes from this period are neatly written and contain a mixture of text, tables, graphs, diagrams and photographs. Baird’s notes about electricity are particularly pertinent when considering his championing of a mechanical television instead of the fully electrical model. Indeed he writes extensively on potentiometers, a type of resistor, which have been used to control picture brightness in televisions.

As well as writing about subjects that you would expect the inventor of television to examine, Baird also wrote notes on motors and gas engines. Whilst he is known for his pioneering role in television, he was an inventor through-and-through, holding many patents and even inventing a kind of thermal sock! Perhaps the lecture he attended on thermal efficiency aided this particular discovery.


John Logie Baird is one of the University of Glasgow’s world changing people and rightly so, his achievement in inventing the television has certainly changed the world. The addition of his lecture notes to Glasgow University Archive Services is very valuable indeed.

Categories: Archive Services

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