World’s Inspirational People

Source: biographyonline

This is a selection of inspirational people, people who have made a lasting contribution towards creating a better world. These people have inspired others by their various achievements, but also by their attitude and values.

Note: This does not aim to be a fully comprehensive list, rather it provides a start for further research. If you would like to suggest anyone else who you feel is inspirational, feel free. 


Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) Campaigned for justice and freedom in his native South Africa. Mandela spent 20 years in jail for his opposition to apartheid. After his release, he became the first President of Democratic South Africa and helped heal the wounds of apartheid by his magnanimous attitude to his former political enemies. 

Nelson Mandela


Mikhail Gorbachev (1931–) Had the courage, tenacity and strength of character to give up the absolute power of Soviet Communism. Gorbachev moved the Soviet Union towards democracy and respect for human rights. In doing so he enabled the Berlin Wall to come down and Eastern Europe gained freedom from Communist control.

Mikhail Gorbachev


Martin Luther King (1929–1968) Inspiring leader of the non-violent civil rights movement. Inspired millions of people, black and white, to aspire for a more equal and just society.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.


Jesus Christ (c5 BCE–30 CE) Prophet and the inspiration of Christianity. Taught a message of love, forgiveness and faith. He was born in a turbulent period of Roman rule, and after his crucifixion, his message inspired millions around the world. 

Jesus Christ


William Wilberforce (1759–1833) Fought tirelessly for ending the slave trade, at a time when many accepted it as an ‘economic necessity’. He awakened the conscience of many of his fellow countrymen and helped to make slavery appear unacceptable. 

William Wilberforce


Albert Einstein (1879–1955) His theories of relativity were a very significant scientific breakthrough. As well as being a genius scientist, Einstein was also a champion of human rights and campaigned for a more peaceful world.

Albert_Einstein_(Nobel)


Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) One of the United States of America’s founding fathers. Jefferson helped draft the Declaration of Independence and he held a deep-seated belief in human rights. Jefferson passed one of the first bills on religious tolerance in his state of Virginia. He sought to improve education and was a noted polymath with a wide range of interests. 

Thomas Jefferson


Mother Teresa (1910–1997) A modern day saint who sought to identify with and offer compassion to the unloved and destitute. She lived a life of voluntary poverty and service to the poor. 

Blessed-Mother-Teresa-386x444


Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) Abraham Lincoln overcame many setbacks to become the most influential American President. In his famous Gettysburg speech, he inspired the nation with his noble words and helped to bring about the abolishment of slavery. 

Abraham Lincoln


Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) One of the greatest minds in human history. In many areas he was a couple of centuries ahead of scientific discovery. He helped make great advances in anatomy, astronomy, physics, science and in other fields as well. Amidst all this, he found time to paint the most iconic picture in history – The Mona Lisa. 

Leonardo da Vinci


Helen Keller (1880–1968) Despite disability of both deafness and blindness, she learned to read and write, becoming a champion of social issues and helping to improve the welfare of deaf people. 

Helen Keller


Muhammad Ali (1942–2016) Champion boxer and great character. Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam war and became a champion of civil rights and African interests. When asked how he would like to be remembered, Ali said: “As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.” 

Muhammad Ali Cassius_Clay


Joan of Arc (1412–1431) As a young, illiterate peasant girl, Joan of Arc inspired the Dauphin of France to defeat the English. Although burned at the stake for ‘heresy’, her prophecy of French unity came true after her death. 

Joan of Arc


Benjamin Franklin. (1706–1790) Great polymath and promoter of American ideals at home and in the US. A practical man of great dynamism and good character. 

Benjamin Franklin


Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) Gandhi was the principle figurehead of the Indian independence movement. Taught a philosophy of non-violence and peaceful protest. 

Mahatma Gandhi


Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) Nightingale volunteered to nurse soldiers during the Crimean War.  Her statistical analysis of the pitiful conditions she found, and her management of them, helped to revolutionise the service of nursing and the treatment of patients. 

Florence Nightingale


Harriet Tubman (1822–1913) Tubman escaped from slavery but returned on many dangerous missions to Maryland where she helped lead slaves to freedom. She also served as agent and leader during the Civil War. 

Harriet Tubman


Winston Churchill (1874–1965) In the worst moments of 1940, the Nazi war machine looked invincible as it swept through Europe. Churchill inspired the free nations to keep alive the fight against the tyranny of Hitler’s Germany. 

Winston Churchill


Anne Frank (1929–1945) Anne Frank was nobody special, just an ordinary teenage girl. But she became a symbol of how ordinary people can get caught up in Man’s inhumanity. Despite the most testing of conditions, Anne retained an optimistic spirit and faith. 

Anne Frank


Socrates (469 BC–399 BC) Socrates showed the power and integrity of independent thought. He taught by encouraging people to honestly question their preconceptions. His method of self-enquiry laid the foundations of Western Philosophic thought. 

Socrates 


George Orwell (1903–1950) George Orwell was a democratic socialist who fought in the Spanish civil war on the side of the republicans. He gave up his privileged education to spend time with the unemployed of the Great Depression. His greatest contribution was warning about the dangers of totalitarian regimes, whatever the ideology may be behind them. 

George Orwell


Buddha (c 563–483BCE) The Buddha was a young prince who gave up the comforts of palace life to seek the meaning of life by meditating in the wilderness. After gaining realisation, the Buddha spent the remainder of his life travelling around India teaching a middle path of meditation and inner peace. 

Buddha


Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007) An Indian spiritual teacher who combined the best of Eastern and Western cultures. He founded the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a world-wide run to promote peace and greater understanding. 

Sri Chinmoy


William Shakespeare (1564–1616) Shakespeare remains the king of English literature. His plays and poetry captured the richness and diversity of human existence in the most powerful and poetic way. 

William Shakespeare


St Therese de Lisieux (1873–1897) A Carmelite nun, who died aged 24, unknown to the world. Yet after her death her simple writings had a profound effect, becoming one of the best selling spiritual writings. Her approach was a simple approach of doing the smallest acts with love. 

St Therese de Lisieux


Desmond Tutu (1931–) Nobel Peace Prize winner. Campaigner against apartheid and instrumental in promoting human rights and justice. Tutu helped to heal the wounds of apartheid in South Africa. 

Desmond Tutu


Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) Helped draft United Nations declaration of human rights. Strived to improve civil rights in the US. Inspired many people because of her positivity, compassion and self-giving. 

Eleanor Roosevelt


Edward Jenner (1749–1823) Led pioneering work on the development of an inoculation against the deadly smallpox. Opened up the way to more immunisation treatments, arguably saving the lives of millions of people around the world. 

Edward Jenner


Jesse Owens (1913–1980) Jesse Owens’ four gold medals at Hitler’s 1936 Olympics in Berlin was one of the great moments of sport, which helped to puncture the Nazi ideology of Aryan supremacy. Jesse Owens was a modest hero who remained a great ambassador for Sport. 

Jesse Owens


Akbar (1542–1605) The great Moghul Emperor who went a long way to uniting India under his rule. Although a great warrior, Akbar was also known for his love of culture, music and philosophy. He introduced enlightened laws on religious tolerance in his kingdom and encouraged representatives of different religions to come to his court. 

Akbar (1542–1605)


Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) One of the greatest scientists of all time. Isaac Newton led the foundation of modern physics with his development of theories on gravity and mechanics. 

Sir Isaac Newton


Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) Influential Russian author, whose great epics include War and Peace. His philosophy of non-violence and a return to rural simplicity inspired other politicians such as Gandhi. 

Leo Tolstoy


Emil Zatopek (1922–2000) Greatest long distance runner, winning three gold medals at the 1954 Olympics. He was a principled supporter of Czech democracy, being sent to work in mines for his opposition to the Communist government. 

Emil Zatopek


Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) One of the most popular female poets who wrote unique, uplifting poems which captured the imagination of many people. 

Emily Dickinson


Sri Krishna (c. 3000 BCE) Sri Krishna was a great Spiritual Teacher who gave the immortal discourses in the Bhagavad Gita, teaching a practical yoga for all. 

Sri Krishna


J R R Tolkien ( 1892–1973) Writer and creator of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien was a modest professor at Oxford University, but found time to create a whole mythical world. 

J R R Tolkien


William Blake (1757–1827) Mystical poet and artist. William Blake wrote poems of great depth and power, celebrating both the joys of spirit and nature, and also fiercely criticising the injustice of the times. 

William Blake


Pope John Paul II (1920–2005) Lived through two totalitarian regimes, eventually becoming a priest and then the first Polish pope. He was a charismatic spiritual leader who retained great faith in moral and spiritual values. 

Pope John Paul II


Mozart (1756–1791) Music genius who composed a range of breathtaking music from piano concertos to his immortal Requiem. 

Mozart


Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda helped spread Sri Ramakrishna’s message and mission to the West. 

Swami Vivekananda


St Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) Christian mystic and writer. She also played a key role in the Spanish church at a time when women were largely marginalised. 

St Teresa of Avila


B.R Ambedkar (1891–1956) Indian social reformer. Ambedkar was born in the Mahar ‘untouchable’ caste, but became a pioneering political activist and social reformer. He was the principle figure in the drafting of the Indian Constitution, which outlawed ‘untouchability’ and promoted equality. 

B.R Ambedkar


Marie Curie (1867–1934) Marie Curie is the only person to win a Nobel Prize for both Chemistry and Physics. Her discoveries with radiation helped advance medical science. Her achievements were even more remarkable at a time when few women had the opportunity to gain education. 

Marie Curie


Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) Woodrow Wilson had a vision for a League of Nations a forum where nations could come together to solve disputes. The League of Nations struggled to make an impact before the Second World War, but his vision was important in the development of the United Nations. 

Woodrow Wilson


Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) Susan Anthony was an active member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, despite meeting hostility she continued to press for an amendment to the US constitution to outlaw slavery. She was also a prominent women’s rights activist who helped push forward the women’s suffrage campaign in the Nineteenth Century. 

Susan B. Anthony


Rosa Parks (1913–2005) Rosa Parks became a well respected figurehead of the American civil rights movement. Rosa showed what ordinary people can do when they stick fast to their beliefs in testing conditions. 

Rosa Parks


Tom Paine (1737–1809) English-American writer and political activist. He wrote influential pamphlets arguing for independence for the US,  and the end of slavery. He was a key figure of the enlightenment and age of reason, supporting the revolutionary principles of US and France. 

Tom Paine


Charles Darwin (1809–1882) Darwin published his Origin of Species detailing a belief in evolution at a time when such a decision was very controversial. 

Charles Darwin


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) was a Lutheran Pastor who was an influential critic of Hitler and Nazism, executed in 1945. His theology and writings remain influential today. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Dalai Lama (1938– ) The fourteenth Dalai Lama has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his non-violent resistance to Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama teaches a path of tolerance and compassion. 

Dalai Lama


Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) Poet, writer, humanitarian, Tagore was the first Indian to be awarded Nobel Prize for Literature. 

Rabindranath Tagore


Oprah Winfrey (1954– ) Influential talk show host. Oprah Winfrey has become a role model for African American women. 

Oprah Winfrey


Maximilian Kolbe (1894–1941) was a Franciscan priest who encouraged devotion to Mary and was committed to praying for those hostile to the Church. In 1941, he was arrested for sheltering Jews and sent to Auschwitz. He volunteered to take the place of a man condemned to death. 

Maximilian Kolbe


Eric Liddell (1902–1945) Eric Liddell won Olympic gold in the 400m in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He is also famed for turning down the opportunity to compete in the 100m because the heats were on a Sunday. Eric was an accomplished sportsman also representing Scotland at rugby union. 

Eric Liddell


Pope Francis (1936– ) The first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas, he has sought to reform the Vatican and the Catholic church. Pope Francis has stressed the importance of humility, modesty and concern for the poor. He is seen as a reforming Pope, trying to bring back the tradition of emphasis on the Gospels. 

Pope Francis


Malala Yousafzai (1997– ) Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education for girls. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban and has become a global advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to education.

Malala Yousafzai


 

 

100 People who changed the World

Source: biographyonline

This is a list of 100 people who have changed the world. This list is not a judgement about who is ‘best’.

People who changed the world

  1. Jesus Christ (circa 5 BCE – 30 CE) Spiritual Teacher, central figure of Christianity
  2. Thomas Jefferson  (1743 – 1826) American President 1801 – 1809, principle author of Declaration of Independence
  3. Mikhail Gorbachev  (1931 – ) Leader of Soviet Union 1985 – 1991, oversaw transition from Communism in Eastern Europe.
  4. Lord Buddha  (circa 563 BCE – 483 BCE) Spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism
  5. Winston Churchill  (1874 – 1965) Prime Minister of Great Britain during Second World War
  6. William Shakespeare  (1564 – 1616) English poet and playwright
  7. Muhammad  (570 – 632) Founder of Islam
  8. Martin Luther King  (1929 – 1968) Civil Rights leader
  9. Abraham Lincoln  (1809 – 1865) American President during civil war, helped end slavery
  10. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) Anti-apartheid leader, first President of democratic South Africa in 1994
  11.  St Paul (5 BCE – 67 CE) Christian missionary
  12. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) Dictator of Nazi Germany
  13. George Washington (1732 – 1799) First President of USA
  14. Sri Krishna (circa 2000 BCE) Spiritual teacher, prominent figure in Hinduism
  15. Emperor Constantine (272 – 337) First Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity
  16. Martin Luther (1483 – – 1546) Key figure in Protestant Reformation
  17. Socrates (469 BCE – 399 BCE) Greek philosopher
  18. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Indian nationalist and politician
  19. Karl Marx (1818 –– 1883) German philosopher, founder of Marxism
  20. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 –– 1821) French military and political leader
  21. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) Liberator of South American countries
  22. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) US President 1932-1945
  23. Charles Darwin (1809 –– 1882) Developed theory of evolution
  24. Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) English mathematician and scientist
  25. Confucius (551 BCE– – 479 BCE) Chinese philosopher
  26. Akbar (1542 – 1605) Mughal Emperor
  27. Queen Victoria (1819 –– 1901) British monarch 1837 – 1901
  28. Konrad Adenauer (1876 – 1967) German Chancellor post WWII
  29. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) First Prime Minister of India
  30. Ramses II (1279 BCE – 1213 BCE) Egyptian Pharoah
  31. Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) American writer and polymath
  32. Alexander the Great (356 BCE –– 323 BCE) King of Macedonia
  33. Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) American president during WWI
  34. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) Italian explorer
  35. Marcus Aurelius (121 –– 180) Roman emperor and philosopher
  36. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Astronomer and physicist
  37. Plato (424 BCE –– 348 BCE) Philosopher
  38. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) French saint
  39. Charlemagne (742 – 814) King of Franks and Emperor of the Romans
  40. Aristotle (384BCE –– 322BCE) Greek philosopher
  41. Saladin (1138 –– 1193) Leader of Arabs during Crusades
  42. Babur (1483 – 1531) Founder of Mughal Empire
  43. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 –– 1618) English explorer
  44. Voltaire (1694 – – 1778) French philosopher
  45. Catherine the Great (1729 –– 1796) Empress of all the Russias 1762 – 1796
  46. Mozart (1756 –– 1791) Austrian composer
  47. Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539) Spiritual teacher, founder of Sikhism
  48. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 –– 1519) Italian scientist, artist, polymath
  49. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French chemist and Biologist
  50. Leo Tolstoy (1828 –– 1910) Russian writer and philosopher
  51. Albert Einstein (1879 –– 1955) German physicist
  52. Ataturk (1881 – 1938) Founder of the Turkish Republic
  53. Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish painter and sculptor
  54. Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) Polish Pope from 1978-2005
  55. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013) British Prime Minister 1979 – 1990
  56. Mohammed Ali (1942 – 2016) American boxer and human rights activist
  57. John F. Kennedy (1917 –– 1963) American President 1961 – 1963
  58. Boris Yeltsin (1931 –– 2007) First President of Russia 1991 – 1999
  59. Indira Gandhi (1917 –– 1984) Prime Minister of India 1980 – 1984
  60. William Tyndale (1494 – 1536)  Translated Bible into English
  61. Tim Berners Lee (1955 – ) Inventor of World Wide Web
  62. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) Civil Rights activist
  63. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) Prime Minister of Pakistan 1993 – 1996
  64. J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) German composer
  65. 14th Dalai Lama (1938 – ) Spiritual and political leader of Tibetans
  66. Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) Black Civil Rights activist
  67. Lech Walesa (1943 – ) Leader of Polish solidarity movement
  68. Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) French politician
  69. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader of the Soviet Union 1922 – 1952
  70. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Chemist and physicist
  71. Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882) Independence leader in Italy and South America
  72. Johann Gutenberg (1395 – 1468 Inventor of the printing press
  73. Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) British Parliamentarian
  74. Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) Leader of Russian Revolution in 1917
  75. Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) Austrian neurologist, psychoanalyst
  76. Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) Macedonian Catholic nun and missionary
  77. Bill Gates (1955 – ) Founder of Microsoft
  78. Ernest Hemingway ( 1899 – 1961) American author
  79. John Lennon (1940 – 1980) British musician and member of the Beatles
  80. Genghis Kahn (1162 – 1227) Ruler of Mongol Empire
  81. Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) Emperor of Ethiopia 1930 – 1974
  82. John M Keynes (1883 – 1946) Influential economist
  83. Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906) American political activist
  84. George Orwell (1903 – 1950) English author
  85. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) Inventor and businessman
  86. Kofi Annan (1938 –  ) United Nations Secretary General 1997 – 2006
  87. Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) Supreme Allied Commander WWII
  88. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) helped to draft UN declaration of human rights
  89. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1891 – 1956) Indian political activist and social reformer who drafted Indian constitution
  90. Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 1973) US President 1963 – 1969
  91. William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) Campaigner against slavery
  92. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) Scientist, inventor
  93. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) Scottish biologist who discovered antibiotics
  94. Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) British author and creator of the English dictionary
  95. Eva Peron (1919 – 1952) First Lady of Argentina 1946 – 1952
  96. Henry Ford (1864 – 1947) American industrialist
  97. Princess Diana (1961 –– 1997) Humanitarian
  98. Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Irish author, playwright
  99. Beethoven (1770 – 1827) German composer
  100. Aung San Suu Kyi (1945 – ) Burmese opposition leader

100 Most Influential People in the World

Source: biographyonline

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100 Most influential people in the world by Michael H. Hast (Author)

This is a list chosen by Michael H. Hast, from the book ‘100 most influential people in the world‘. He chose people on a ranking of who had done the most to influence the world.

  1. Muhammad (570 – 632 AD) Prophet of Islam.
  2. Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) – British mathematician and scientist.
  3. Jesus Christ (c.5BC – 30 AD) Spiritual teacher and central figure of Christianity.
  4. Buddha (c 563 – 483 BC) Spiritual Teacher and founder of Buddhism.
  5. Confucius (551 – 479 BC) – Chinese philosopher.
  6. St. Paul (5 – AD 67) – Christian missionary and one of main writers of New Testament.
  7. Ts’ai Lun (AD 50 – 121) Inventor of paper.
  8. Johann Gutenberg (1395 – 1468) – Inventor of printing press.
  9. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) – Italian explorer landed in America.
  10. Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German/ US scientist discovered Theory of Relativity.
  11. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French biologist. Developed cure for rabies and other infectious diseases.
  12. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Italian scientist – confirmed heliocentric view of universe.
  13. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) – Greek philosopher and polymath
  14. Euclid (c. 325 – 265 BC) – Greek mathematician
  15. Moses (c 1391 – 1271 BC) A key figure of Jewish / Christian history gave 10 Commandments of Old Testament
  16. Charles Darwin (1809 -– 1882) –Scientist who proposed and popularised theory of evolution.
  17. Shih Huang Ti (259 – 210 BC) – King of the state of Qin who conquered and united different regions of China in 221 BC.
  18. Augustus Caesar (63 BC – AD 14) – First Emperor of Rome
  19. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who believed Sun was centre of Universe – rather than earth.
  20. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743 – 1794) French chemist and biologist who had leading impact on the chemical revolution.
  21. Constantine the Great (272 AD – 337) Roman Emperor who accepted Christian religion.
  22. James Watt (1736 – 1819) Scottish engineer. Watt improved the Newcome steam engine creating an efficient steam engine
  23. Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867) – English scientist who contributed in fields of electromagnetism and electro-chemistry.
  24. James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) Scottish physicist. Maxwell made a significant contribution to understanding electro-magnetism
  25. Martin Luther (1483-1546) Sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church – starting the Protestant Reformation.
  26. George Washington (1732 – 1799) – Leader of US forces during American Revolution and 1st President of US.
  27. Karl Marx (1818 -– 1883) – German Communist philosopher.
  28. Orville and Wilbur Wright Orville (1871 – 1948) – Wilbur (1867 – 1912) – Created and flew first aeroplane.
  29. Genghis Kahn (1162 – 1227) – Military and political leader of the Mongols.
  30. Adam Smith (1723-1790) Scottish social philosopher and pioneer of classical economics.
  31. William Shakespeare (1564- 1616) English poet and playwright.
  32. John Dalton (1766 – 1844) English chemist and physicist. Made contributions to atomic theory.
  33. Alexander the Great (356 -– 323 BC) – King of Macedonia and military leader.
  34. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 –- 1821) – French military and political leader.
  35. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) – Inventor and businessman helped introduce electricity and electric light bulbs.
  36. Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) Dutch chemist – founder of micro-biology.
  37. William T.G. Morton (1819 – 1868) American dentist who pioneered used of anesthetic.
  38. Guglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937) Italian engineer who helped develop radio transmission.
  39. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) – Dictator of Nazi Germany.
  40. Plato (424 –- 348 BC) – Greek philosopher.
  41. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) – Leader of Parliamentarians in English civil war.
  42. Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) – Scottish inventor of telephone.
  43. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) Scottish biologist who discovered penicillin.
  44. John Locke (1632-1704) English political philosopher. Locke promoted theory of liberal democracy and a social contract.
  45. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) German composer of the classical and romantic period.
  46. Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976) German theoretical physicist – one of pioneers of Quantum mechanics
  47. Louis Daguerre (1787–1851) French artist and photographer, who is credited with the invention of the camera.
  48. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) – Liberator of Latin American countries
  49. Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) French philosopher and mathematician. “I think, therefore I am
  50. Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) Renaissance sculptor, painter and architect
  51. Pope Urban II
  52. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab
  53. Asoka
  54. St. Augustine
  55. William Harvey
  56. Ernest Rutherford
  57. John Calvin
  58. Gregor Mendel
  59. Max Planck
  60. Joseph Lister
  61. Nikolaus August Otto
  62. Francisco Pizarro
  63. Hernando Cortes
  64. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) 3rd President of US. Principle author of the US Declaration of Independence.
  65. Queen Isabella I
  66. Joseph Stalin
  67. Julius Caesar
  68. William the Conqueror
  69. Sigmund Freud
  70. Edward Jenner
  71. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen
  72. Johann Sebastian Bach
  73. Lao Tzu
  74. Voltaire
  75. Johannes Kepler
  76. Enrico Fermi
  77. Leonhard Euler
  78. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) – French philosopher, author of Social Contract
  79. Nicoli Machiavelli
  80. Thomas Malthus
  81. John F. Kennedy
  82. Gregory Pincus
  83. Mani
  84. Lenin
  85. Sui Wen Ti
  86. Vasco da Gama
  87. Cyrus the Great
  88. Peter the Great
  89. Mao Zedong
  90. Francis Bacon
  91. Henry Ford
  92. Mencius
  93. Zoroaster
  94. Queen Elizabeth I
  95. Mikhail Gorbachev
  96. Menes
  97. Charlemagne
  98. Homer
  99. Justinian I
  100. Mahavira

GW254H378

BINAC [Binary Automatic Computer]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This article is about the early electronic computer. For the town in Kosovo, see Binac.
BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer) was an early electronic computer designed for Northrop Aircraft Company by the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC) in 1949. Eckert and Mauchly, though they had started the design of EDVAC at the University of Pennsylvania, chose to leave and start EMCC, the first computer company. BINAC was their first product, the first stored-program computer in the United States; the BINAC is also sometimes wrongly claimed to be the world’s first commercial digital computer  even though it was very limited in scope, never fully functional and always economically unviable.

Architecture


The BINAC was an advanced bit-serial binary computer with two independent CPUs, each with its own 512-word acoustic mercury delay line memory. The CPUs continuously compared results to check for errors caused by hardware failures. It used approximately 700 vacuum tubes. The 512-word acoustic mercury delay line memories were divided into 16 channels each holding 32 words of 31 bits, with an additional 11-bit space between words to allow for circuit delays in switching. The clock rate was 4.25 MHz (1 MHz according to one source) which yielded a word time of about 10 microseconds. The addition time was 800 microseconds and the multiplication time was 1200 microseconds. New programs or data had to be entered manually in octal using an eight-key keypad. BINAC was significant for being able to perform high-speed arithmetic on binary numbers, with no provisions to store characters or decimal digits.

Customer Acceptance


The BINAC ran a test program (consisting of 23 instructions) in March 1949, although it was not fully functional at the time. Here are early test programs that BINAC ran:

  • February 7, 1949 – Ran a five-line program to fill the memory from register A.
  • February 10, 1949 – Ran a five-line program to check memory.
  • February 16, 1949 – Ran a six-line program to fill memory.
  • March 7, 1949 – Ran 217 iterations of a 23-line program to compute squares. It was still running correctly when it stopped.
  • April 4, 1949 – Ran a fifty-line program to fill memory and check all instructions. It ran for 2.5 hours before encountering an error. Shortly after that it ran for 31.5 hours without error.

Northrop accepted delivery of BINAC in September 1949. Northrop employees said that BINAC never worked properly after it was delivered, although it had worked at the Eckert-Mauchly workshop. It was able to run some small problems but did not work well enough to be used as a production machine. Northrop attributed the failures to it not being properly packed for shipping when Northrop picked it up; EMCC said that the problems were due to errors in re-assembly of the machine after shipping. (Northrop, citing security considerations, refused to allow EMCC technicians near the machine after shipping, instead hiring a newly graduated engineering student to re-assemble it. EMCC said that the fact that it worked at all after this was testimony to the engineering quality of the machine.)

First Computer User Manual


Previous computers were the darlings of university departments of engineering. The users knew the machines well. The BINAC was going to go to an end user, and so a usermanual was needed. Automobile “users” were quite accustomed in those days to doing significant servicing of their vehicles, and “user manuals” existed to help them. The BINAC manual writers took inspiration from those manuals when writing the user manual for the BINAC.

Definition – What does Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC) mean?

The Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC) was one of the first electronic computers. Developed in 1949 by Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation for Northrop Aircraft Company, it has the distinction of being the first commercial digital computer in the world as well as the first stored-program computer in the United States.

Techopedia explains Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC)

The Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC) was the only product from the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, as it later became a division of Remington Rand Corp. The computer consisted of two independent central processing units, each having its own 512-word acoustic mercury delay line memory, which was further divided into 16 channels. The channels in turn could hold 32 words of 31 bits. It also made use of approximately 700 vacuum tubes. The associated clock rate was around 4.25 MHz. New data or applications could only be entered into the computer manually, and only in octal with the help of an eight-key keypad. In other words, the input/output for the computer was entirely octal and instructions provided to the computer were absolute machine language. Apart from reset commands and flip-flop commands, the machine literally had no input/output instructions.

The Binary Automatic Computer had no provisions to store decimal digits or characters, but was able to perform high-speed arithmetic on binary numerals. Although the Binary Automatic Computer was an advanced bit-serial binary computer, it was never intended to be used as a general-purpose computer.

Gallery


The History of Computer Peripherals

by Mary Bellis
Updated March 17, 2017

Periferal

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Computer peripherals are any of a number of devices that work with a computer. Here are some of the most well known components.

COMPACT DISK/CD

A compact disk or CD is a popular form of digital storage media used for ​computer files, pictures and music. The plastic platter is read and written to using a laser in a CD drive. It comes in several varieties including CD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW.

James Russell invented the compact disk in 1965Russell was granted a total of 22 patents for various elements of his compact disk system. However, the compact disk did not become popular until it was mass manufactured by Philips in 1980.

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THE FLOPPY DISK

In 1971, IBM introduced the first “memory disk” or the “floppy disk,” as it is known today. The first floppy was an 8-inch flexible plastic disk coated with magnetic iron oxide. Computer data was written to and read from the disk’s surface.

The nickname “floppy” came from the disk’s flexibility. The floppy disk was considered a revolutionary device throughout the history of computers for its portability, which provided a new and easy means of transporting data from computer to computer.

The “floppy” was invented by IBM engineers led by Alan Shugart. The original disks were designed for loading microcodes into the controller of the Merlin (IBM 3330) disk pack file (a 100 MB storage device).

 So, in effect, the first floppies were used to fill another type of data storage device.

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THE COMPUTER KEYBOARD

The invention of the modern computer keyboard began with the invention of the typewriterChristopher Latham Sholes patented the typewriter that we commonly use today in 1868. The Remington Company mass marketed the first typewriters starting in 1877.

A few key technological developments allowed for the transition of the typewriter into the computer keyboard. The teletype machine, introduced in the 1930s, combined the technology of the typewriter (used as an input and a printing device) with the telegraph. Elsewhere, punched card systems were combined with typewriters to create what was called keypunches. Keypunches were the basis of early adding machines and IBM was selling over one million dollars worth of adding machines in 1931.

Early computer keyboards were first adapted from the punch card and teletype technologies. In 1946, the Eniac ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) used a Punched Card Reader as its input and output device. In 1948, the Binac Computer  (Binary Automatic Computer) used an electromechanically controlled typewriter to both input data directly onto magnetic tape (for feeding the computer data) and to print results. The emerging electric typewriter further improved the technological marriage between the typewriter and the computer.

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THE COMPUTER MOUSE

Technology visionary Douglas Engelbart changed the way computers worked, turning them from specialized machinery that only a trained scientist could use to a user-friendly tool that almost anyone can work with. He invented or contributed to several interactive, user-friendly devices such as the computer mouse, windows, computer video teleconferencing, hypermedia, groupware, email, the Internet and more.

Engelbart conceived of the rudimentary mouse when he started thinking about how to improve interactive computing during a conference on computer graphics. In the early days of computing, users typed codes and commands to make things happen on monitors. Engelbart came up with the idea of linking the computer’s cursor to a device with two wheels—one horizontal and one vertical. Moving the device on a horizontal surface would allow the user to position the cursor on the screen.

Engelbart’s collaborator on the mouse project, Bill English, built a prototype—a hand-held device carved out of wood, with a button on the top. In 1967, Engelbart’s company SRI filed for the patent on the mouse, although the paperwork identified it as “x,y position indicator for a display system.” The patent was awarded in 1970.

Like so much in computer technology, the mouse has evolved significantly. In 1972 English developed the “track ball mouse” that allowed users to control the cursor by rotating a ball from a fixed position. One interesting enhancement is that many devices are now wireless, a fact that makes this Engelbart’s early prototype almost quaint: “We turned it around so the tail came out the top. We started with it going the other direction, but the cord got tangled when you moved your arm. 

The inventor, who grew up on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, hoped his achievements would add to the collective intelligence of the world. “It would be wonderful,” he once said, “if I can inspire others, who are struggling to realize their dreams, to say ‘if this country kid could do it, let me keep slogging away’.” 

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PRINTERS

In 1953, the first high-speed printer was developed by Remington-Rand for use on the Univac computer. In 1938, Chester Carlson invented a dry printing process called electrophotography that’s now commonly called a Xerox, the foundation technology for laser printers to come.

The original laser printer called EARS was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 and completed in November 1971. Xerox Engineer, Gary Starkweather adapted Xerox copier technology adding a laser beam to it to come up with the laser printer. According to Xerox, “The Xerox 9700 Electronic Printing System, the first xerographic laser printer product, was released in 1977. The 9700, a direct descendent from the original PARC “EARS” printer which pioneered in laser scanning optics, character generation electronics, and page-formatting software, was the first product on the market to be enabled by PARC research.”

According to IBM, “the very first IBM 3800 was installed in the central accounting office at F. W. Woolworth’s North American data center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1976.” The IBM 3800 Printing System was the industry’s first high-speed, laser printer and operated at speeds of more than 100 impressions-per-minute. It was the first printer to combine laser technology and electrophotography, according to IBM.

In 1992, Hewlett-Packard released the popular LaserJet 4, the first 600 by 600 dots per inch resolution laser printer. In 1976, the inkjet printer was invented, but it took until 1988 for the inkjet to become a home consumer item with Hewlett-Parkard’s release of the DeskJet inkjet printer, which was priced at a whopping $1000. 

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COMPUTER MEMORY

Drum memory, an early form of computer memory that actually did use a drum as a working part with data loaded to the drum. The drum was a metal cylinder coated with recordable ferromagnetic material. The drum also had a row of read-write heads that wrote and then read the recorded data.

Magnetic core memory (ferrite-core memory) is another early form of computer memory. Magnetic ceramic rings called cores stored information using the polarity of a magnetic field.

Semiconductor memory is computer memory we are all familiar with. It’s basically a computer memory on an integrated circuit or chip. Referred to as random-access memory or RAM, it allowed data to be accessed randomly, not just in the sequence it was recorded.

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is the most common kind of random access memory (RAM) for personal computers.

The data the DRAM chip holds has to be periodically refreshed. In contrast, static random access memory or SRAM doesn’t need to be refreshed.

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Herman Hollerith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American inventor who developed an electromechanical punched card tabulator to assist in summarizing information and, later, accounting. He was the founder of the Tabulating Machine Company that was amalgamated (via stock acquisition) in 1911 with three other companies to form a fifth company, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company later renamed IBM. Hollerith is regarded as one of the seminal figures in the development of data processing. His invention of the punched card tabulating machine marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems, and his concept dominated that landscape for nearly a century. 

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Personal life


Herman Hollerith was born the son of German immigrant Prof. Georg Hollerith from Großfischlingen (near Neustadt an der Weinstraße) in Buffalo, New York, where he spent his early childhood. He entered the City College of New York in 1875, graduated from the Columbia University School of Mines with an “Engineer of Mines” degree in 1879 at age 19, and in 1890 asked for (and was awarded) a Ph.D based on his development of the tabulating system. In 1882 Hollerith joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he taught mechanical engineering and conducted his first experiments with punched cards. He eventually moved to Washington, D.C., living in Georgetown, with a home on 29th Street and a business building at 31st Street and the C&O Canal, where today there is a commemorative plaque installed by IBM. He died in Washington D.C. of a heart attack.

Electromechanical Tabulation of Data


At the urging of John Shaw Billings, Hollerith developed a mechanism using electrical connections to increment a counter, recording information. A key idea was that a datum could be recorded by the presence or absence of a hole at a specific location on a card. For example, if a specific hole location indicates marital status, then a hole there can indicate married while not having a hole indicates single. Hollerith determined that data in specified locations on a card, the now-familiar rows and columns, could be counted or sorted electromechanically. A description of this system, An Electric Tabulating System (1889), was submitted by Hollerith to Columbia University as his doctoral thesis, and is reprinted in Randell’s book. On January 8, 1889, Hollerith was issued U.S. Patent 395,782, claim 2 of which reads:

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Photo dated 1919.12.31 of census worker with Hollerith pantograph punch. The keyboard layout is for the US Census 1920 population card.

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Replica of Hollerith tabulating machine with sorting box, circa 1890. The “sorting box” was an adjunct to, and controlled by, the tabulator. The “sorter”, an independent machine, was a later development.

The herein-described method of compiling statistics, which consists in recording separate statistical items pertaining to the individual by holes or combinations of holes punched in sheets of electrically non-conducting material, and bearing a specific relation to each other and to a standard, and then counting or tallying such statistical items separately or in combination by means of mechanical counters operated by electro-magnets the circuits through which are controlled by the perforated sheets, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.

Inventions and Businesses


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Hollerith punched card

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Hollerith’s grave at Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Hollerith had left teaching and begun working for the United States Census Bureau in the year he filed his first patent application. Titled “Art of Compiling Statistics”, it was filed on September 23, 1884; U.S. Patent 395,782 was granted on January 8, 1889.

Hollerith initially did business under his own name, as The Hollerith Electric Tabulating System, specializing in punched card data processing equipment. He provided tabulators and other machines under contract for the Census Office, which used them for the 1890 census. The net effect of the many changes from the 1880 census: the larger population, the data items to be collected, the Census Bureau headcount, the scheduled publications, and the use of Hollerith’s electromechanical tabulators, was to reduce the time required to process the census from eight years for the 1880 census to six years for the 1890 census.

In 1896 Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company (in 1905 renamed The Tabulating Machine Company). Many major census bureaus around the world leased his equipment and purchased his cards, as did major insurance companies. Hollerith’s machines were used for censuses in England, Italy, Germany, Russia, Austria, Canada, France, Norway, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines, and again in the 1900 census.

He invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first keypunch. The 1890 Tabulator was hardwired to operate on 1890 Census cards. A control panel in his 1906 Type I Tabulator simplified rewiring for different jobs. The 1920s removable control panel supported prewiring and near instant job changing. These inventions were among the foundations of the data processing industry and Hollerith’s punched cards (later used for computer input/output) continued in use for almost a century.

In 1911 four corporations, including Hollerith’s firm, were amalgamated to form a fifth company, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR). Under the presidency of Thomas J. Watson, CTR was renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in 1924. By 1933 The Tabulating Machine Company name had disappeared as subsidiary companies were subsumed by IBM.

Death and Legacy


Hollerith is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Hollerith cards were named after Herman Hollerith, as were Hollerith constants (a string constant declaration in some computer programming languages, sometimes called a Hollerith string).

His great-grandson, the Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV is the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, and another great-grandson, Randolph Marshall Hollerith, is an Episcopal priest and the dean of Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C..

John Logie Baird

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John_Logie_Baird_in_1917

John Logie Baird FRSE (/ˈloʊɡi bɛərd/; 13 August 1888 – 14 June 1946) was a Scottish engineer, innovator, one of the inventors of the mechanical television, demonstrating the first working television system on 26 January 1926, and inventor of both the first publicly demonstrated colour television system, and the first purely electronic colour television picture tube.

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In 1928 the Baird Television Development Company achieved the first transatlantic television transmission. Baird’s early technological successes and his role in the practical introduction of broadcast television for home entertainment have earned him a prominent place in television’s history.

Baird was ranked number 44 in the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote in 2002. In 2006, Baird was named as one of the 10 greatest Scottish scientists in history, having been listed in the National Library of Scotland’s ‘Scottish Science Hall of Fame’. In 2015 he was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

Early Years


Baird was born on 13 August 1888 in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, and was the youngest of four children of the Reverend John Baird, the Church of Scotland’s minister for the local St Bride’s Church and Jessie Morrison Inglis, the orphaned niece of a wealthy family of shipbuilders from Glasgow.

He was educated at Larchfield Academy (now part of Lomond School) in Helensburgh; the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College; and the University of Glasgow. While at college Baird undertook a series of engineering apprentice jobs as part of his course. The conditions in industrial Glasgow at the time helped form his socialist convictions but also contributed to his ill health. He became an agnostic, though this did not strain his relationship with his father. His degree course was interrupted by the First World War and he never returned to graduate.

At the beginning of 1915 he volunteered for service in the British Army but was classified as unfit for active duty. Unable to go to the Front, he took a job with the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company, which was engaged in munitions work.

Television Experiments


The development of television was the result of work by many inventors. Among them, Baird was a prominent pioneer and made major advances in the field. Many historians credit Baird with being the first to produce a live, moving, greyscale television image from reflected light. Baird achieved this, where other inventors had failed, by obtaining a better photoelectric cell and improving the signal conditioning from the photocell and the video amplifier.

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John Logie Baird with his television apparatus, circa 1925

Between 1902 and 1907, Arthur Korn invented and built the first successful signal-conditioning circuits for image transmission. The circuits overcame the image-destroying lag effect that is part of selenium photocells. Korn’s compensation circuit allowed him to send still fax pictures by telephone or wireless between countries and even over oceans, while his circuit operated without benefit of electronic amplification. Korn’s success at transmitting halftone still images suggested that such compensation circuits might work in television. Baird was the direct beneficiary of Korn’s research and success.

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An early experimental television broadcast

In his first attempts to develop a working television system, Baird experimented with the Nipkow disk. Paul Gottlieb Nipkow had invented this scanning disc system in 1884. Television historian Albert Abramson calls Nipkow’s patent “the master television patent”. Nipkow’s work is important because Baird and many others chose to develop it into a broadcast medium.

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Baird in 1926 with his televisor equipment and dummies “James” and “Stooky Bill”

In early 1923, and in poor health, Baird moved to 21 Linton Crescent, Hastings, on the south coast of England. He later rented a workshop in the Queen’s Arcade in the town. Baird built what was to become the world’s first working television set using items including an old hatbox and a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, a used tea chest, and sealing wax and glue that he purchased. In February 1924, he demonstrated to the Radio Times that a semi-mechanical analogue television system was possible by transmitting moving silhouette images. In July of the same year, he received a 1000-volt electric shock, but survived with only a burnt hand, and as a result his landlord, Mr Tree, asked him to vacate the premises. Baird gave the first public demonstration of moving silhouette images by television at Selfridges department store in London in a three-week series of demonstrations beginning on 25 March 1925.

In his laboratory on 2 October 1925, Baird successfully transmitted the first television picture with a greyscale image: the head of a ventriloquist’s dummy nicknamed “Stooky Bill” in a 30-line vertically scanned image, at five pictures per second. Baird went downstairs and fetched an office worker, 20-year-old William Edward Taynton, to see what a human face would look like, and Taynton became the first person to be televised in a full tonal range. Looking for publicity, Baird visited the Daily Express newspaper to promote his invention. The news editor was terrified and he was quoted by one of his staff as saying: “For God’s sake, go down to reception and get rid of a lunatic who’s down there. He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless! Watch him — he may have a razor on him.”

First public demonstrations

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The first known photograph of a moving image produced by Baird’s “televisor”, as reported in The Times, 28 January 1926 (The subject is Baird’s business partner Oliver Hutchinson.)

On 26 January 1926, Baird repeated the transmission for members of the Royal Institution and a reporter from The Times in his laboratory at 22 Frith Street in the Soho district of London, where Bar Italia is now located. By this time, he had improved the scan rate to 12.5 pictures per second. It was the first demonstration of a television system that could broadcast live moving images with tone graduation.

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Blue plaque marking Baird’s first demonstration of television at 22 Frith Street, Westminster, W1, London

He demonstrated the world’s first colour transmission on 3 July 1928, using scanning discs at the transmitting and receiving ends with three spirals of apertures, each spiral with a filter of a different primary colour; and three light sources at the receiving end, with a commutator to alternate their illumination. The demonstration was of a young girl wearing different coloured hats. Noele Gordon went on to become a successful TV actress, famous for the soap opera Crossroads. That same year he also demonstrated stereoscopic television.

Broadcasting

In 1927, Baird transmitted a long-distance television signal over 438 miles (705 km) of telephone line between London and Glasgow; Baird transmitted the world’s first long-distance television pictures to the Central Hotel at Glasgow Central Station.This transmission was Baird’s response to a 225-mile, long-distance telecast between stations of AT&T Bell Labs. The Bell stations were in New York and Washington, DC. The earlier telecast took place in April 1927, a month before Baird’s demonstration.

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Baird demonstrating his mechanical television system in New York, 1931

Baird set up the Baird Television Development Company Ltd, which in 1928 made the first transatlantic television transmission, from London to Hartsdale, New York, and the first television programme for the BBC. In November 1929, Baird and Bernard Natan established France’s first television company, Télévision-Baird-Natan. Broadcast on the BBC on 14 July 1930, The Man with the Flower in His Mouth was the first drama shown on UK television. Baird televised the BBC’s first live outside broadcast with transmission of The Derby in 1931. He demonstrated a theatre television system, with a screen two feet by five feet (60 cm by 150 cm), in 1930 at the London Coliseum, Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm. By 1939 he had improved his theatre projection to televise a boxing match on a screen 15 ft (4.6 m) by 12 ft (3.7 m).

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1930s Baird television advertisement

From 1929 to 1932, the BBC transmitters were used to broadcast television programmes using the 30-line Baird system, and from 1932 to 1935, the BBC also produced the programmes in their own studio at 16 Portland Place. On 3 November 1936, from Alexandra Palace located on the high ground of the north London ridge, the BBC began alternating Baird 240-line transmissions with EMI’s electronic scanning system, which had recently been improved to 405 lines after a merger with Marconi. The Baird system at the time involved an intermediate film process, where footage was shot on cinefilm, which was rapidly developed and scanned. The trial was due to last 6 months but the BBC ceased broadcasts with the Baird system in February 1937, due in part to a disastrous fire in the Baird facilities at Crystal Palace. It was becoming apparent to the BBC that the Baird system would ultimately fail due in large part to the lack of mobility of the Baird system’s cameras, with their developer tanks, hoses, and cables.

Baird’s television systems were replaced by the electronic television system developed by the newly formed company EMI-Marconi under Isaac Shoenberg, which had access to patents developed by Vladimir Zworykin and RCA. Similarly, Philo T. Farnsworth’s electronic “Image Dissector” camera was available to Baird’s company via a patent-sharing agreement. However, the Image Dissector camera was found to be lacking in light sensitivity, requiring excessive levels of illumination. Baird used the Farnsworth tubes instead to scan cinefilm, in which capacity they proved serviceable though prone to drop-outs and other problems. Farnsworth himself came to London to Baird’s Crystal Palace laboratories in 1936, but was unable to fully solve the problem; the fire that burned Crystal Palace to the ground later that year further hampered the Baird company’s ability to compete.

Fully Electronic

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This live image of Paddy Naismith was used to demonstrate Baird’s first all-electronic colour television system, which used two projection CRTs. The two-colour image would be similar to the basic telechrome system.

Baird made many contributions to the field of electronic television after mechanical systems had taken a back seat. In 1939, he showed a system known today as hybrid colour using a cathode ray tube in front of which revolved a disc fitted with colour filters, a method taken up by CBS and RCA in the United States.

As early as 1940, Baird had started work on a fully electronic system he called the “Telechrome”. Early Telechrome devices used two electron guns aimed at either side of a phosphor plate. The phosphor was patterned so the electrons from the guns only fell on one side of the patterning or the other. Using cyan and magenta phosphors, a reasonable limited-colour image could be obtained. He also demonstrated the same system using monochrome signals to produce a 3D image (called “stereoscopic” at the time). In 1941, he patented and demonstrated this system of three-dimensional television at a definition of 500 lines. On 16 August 1944, he gave the world’s first demonstration of a practical fully electronic colour television display. His 600-line colour system used triple interlacing, using six scans to build each picture. Similar concepts were common through the 1940s and 50s, differing primarily in the way they re-combined the colours generated by the three guns. One of them, the Geer tube, was similar to Baird’s concept, but used small pyramids with the phosphors deposited on their outside faces, instead of Baird’s 3D patterning on a flat surface.

In 1943, the Hankey Committee was appointed to oversee the resumption of television broadcasts after the war. Baird persuaded them to make plans to adopt his proposed 1000-line Telechrome electronic colour system as the new post-war broadcast standard. The picture resolution on this system would have been comparable to today’s HDTV (High Definition Television). The Hankey Committee’s plan lost all momentum partly due to the challenges of postwar reconstruction. The monochrome 405-line standard remained in place until 1985 in some areas, and the 625-line system was introduced in 1964 and (PAL) colour in 1967. A demonstration of large screen three-dimensional television by the BBC was reported in March 2008, over 60 years after Baird’s demonstration.

Other Inventions


Some of Baird’s early inventions were not fully successful. In his twenties he tried to create diamonds by heating graphite and shorted out Glasgow’s electricity supply. Later Baird invented a glass razor, which was rust-resistant, but shattered. Inspired by pneumatic tyres he attempted to make pneumatic shoes, but his prototype contained semi-inflated balloons, which burst. He also invented a thermal undersock (the Baird undersock), which was moderately successful. Baird suffered from cold feet, and after a number of trials, he found that an extra layer of cotton inside the sock provided warmth.

Baird’s numerous other developments demonstrated his particular talent at invention. He was a visionary and began to dabble with electricity. In 1928, he developed an early video recording device, which he dubbed Phonovision. The system consisted of a large Nipkow disk attached by a mechanical linkage to a conventional 78-rpm record-cutting lathe. The result was a disc that could record and play back a 30-line video signal. Technical difficulties with the system prevented its further development, but some of the original phonodiscs have been preserved, and have since been restored by Donald McLean, a Scottish electrical engineer.

Baird’s other developments were in fibre-optics, radio direction finding, infrared night viewing and radar. There is discussion about his exact contribution to the development of radar, for his wartime defence projects have never been officially acknowledged by the UK government. According to Malcolm Baird, his son, what is known is that in 1926 Baird filed a patent for a device that formed images from reflected radio waves, a device remarkably similar to radar, and that he was in correspondence with the British government at the time. The radar contribution is in dispute. According to some experts, Baird’s “noctovision” is not radar. Unlike radar (except Doppler radar), Noctovision is incapable of determining the distance to the scanned subject. Noctovision also cannot determine the coordinates of the subject in three-dimensional space.

Later Years


From December 1944, Logie Baird lived at 1 Station Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, immediately north of the station and subsequently died there on 14 June 1946 after suffering a stroke in February. The house was demolished in 2007 and the site is now apartments named Baird Court. Logie Baird is buried with his mother, father and wife in Helensburgh Cemetery, Argyll, Scotland.

Honours and Portrayals


Blue plaque erected by Greater London Council at 3 Crescent Wood Road, Sydenham, London

Australian television’s Logie Awards were named in honour of John Logie Baird’s contribution to the invention of the television. Baird became the only deceased subject of This Is Your Life when he was honoured by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre in 1957.

He was played by Michael Gwynn (and also by Andrew Irvine, who played him as a boy) in the 1957 TV film A Voice in Vision and by Robert McIntosh in the 1986 TV drama The Fools on the Hill.

In 2014, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) inducted Logie Baird into The Honor Roll, which “posthumously recognizes individuals who were not awarded Honorary Membership during their lifetimes but whose contributions would have been sufficient to warrant such an honor”.

On 26 January 2016, the search engine Google released a Google Doodle to mark the 90th anniversary of Logie Baird’s first public demonstration of live television.