17 June 2008
DINSDALE, Alfred. Television. Seeing by Wireless. London: W.S. Caines for Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1926.
Small 8o (186 x 125 mm). Halftone frontispiece of John Logie Baird, 5 halftone plates, and 5 diagrams (one double-page). Original printed buff paper boards (some very minor soiling along edges); pictorial dust jacket (small tape repair on back panel, some rubbing and light wear).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST BOOK ON TELEVISION. Dinsdale describes the technical problems faced by early experimenters (Jan Van Szczepanik, Boris Rosing, Denoys Von Mihaly and others), but focuses primarily on the work of the Scottish engineer John Logie Baird (1888-1946), the first person to produce televised pictures of objects in motion. In February 1924 Baird produced the first television image in outline, and in April 1925 he transmitted the first pictures between two televisions. By the following October he succeeded in transmitting images with gradations of light and shade, and on January 27, 1926, he successfully transmitted recognizable human faces between two rooms by television. Of Baird's early experiments, Dinsdale writes: "Baird's weird apparatus--old bicycle sprockets, biscuit tins, cardboard discs and bullseye lenses, all tied together with sealing wax and string--failed to impress those who were accustomed to the shining brass and exquisite mechanism of the instrument maker. The importance of the demonstration was, however, realised by the scientific world..." (p.49). Although he did not succeed in producing a viable system of television, Baird paved the way for future technical developments. Television reached a state of technical feasibility in 1931, and the first high-definition broadcasting system was launched in London in 1936 by the BBC under the direction of the Soviet inventor Isaac Shoenberg.
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