First colour TV 90 years old
July 3, 2018
By Chris Forrester
British inventor John Logie Baird made the world’s first public demonstration of colour TV on July 3rd 1928. The demo was made from Baird‘s laboratory on the edge of London’s Covent Garden at 133 Long Acre.
The technology used was electro-mechanical, and the early test subject was a basket of strawberries “which proved popular with the staff”. The following month, the same demonstration was given to a mostly academic audience attending a British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Glasgow, according to London’s Science Museum.
The Science Museum report adds that in the mid-late 1930s, Baird returned to his colour television research and developed some of the world’s first colour television systems, most of which used cathode-ray tubes. The effect of World War II, which saw BBC television service suspended, caused his company to go out of business and ended his salary. Nonetheless, he continued his colour television research by financing it from his own personal savings, including cashing in his life insurance policy. He gave the world’s first demonstration of a fully integrated electronic colour picture tube on August 16th 1944. Baird’s untimely death only two years later marked the end of his pioneering colour research in Britain.
The lead in colour television research transferred to the US with demonstrations given by CBS Laboratories. Soon after, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) channeled some of its massive resources towards colour television development.