Contacting me via the online form

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized

I’d be delighted to hear from anyone genuinely interested in contacting me. However please note that I will only reply if you identify yourself.

University of Glasgow acquires the Clapp Collection

Posted on: October 8th, 2015 | Category: News

I would like to congratulate the University of Glasgow in their acquisition of the collection of Clapp memorabilia surrounding Baird’s Transatlantic TV event. The collection comprised a Phonovision disc (SWT515-4) owned by Ben Clapp (Baird’s first technical ‘assistant’), Clapp’s amateur radio logbooks (W2CVJ/G2KZ) for the event and lead-up, and associated paraphernalia. The logbooks were made during operation of the two amateur radio stations that made possible the witnessed event in Feb 1928 of the reception and display of television images in Hartsdale, NY, from a transmission in Coulsdon near London. This had followed a witnessed event of receiving and displaying a television image in Glasgow, originating from London over a normal telephone line.

Both events were Baird’s reaction to being upstaged when AT&T gave a major and complex demonstration of long-distance television in the USA on 7th April 1927. Through staging these events and ensuring they were witnessed and publicised, Baird succeeded in re-establishing a perception of primacy in the field and in re-assuring his financial backers.

The Phonovision disc is one I first restored in 1982-3 (SWT515-4). From studying the content, Ray Herbert (then holder of the Clapp logbooks) and I were able to establish that this disc was used as a test in late 1927 – a few months before the event. Consistent with the faulty recording, no images were seen off the disc during the transatlantic tests (comments were made as such in the logbook). The identification of the earliest-known use of abbreviation ‘TV’ for television was made by Ray.

[For further info on SWT515-4 and Phonovision, either refer to papers in the Bibliography section or read the Phonovision section of this website. The transatlantic TV link with the disc is covered in my book ‘Restoring Baird’s Image’]

When Ray Herbert died, I became the custodian of the Clapp logbooks and looked after them for many years until their owner requested them back for sale by auction. I provided additional material for the sale including Clapp’s diary, at the back of which was the substitution cipher used to decode and encode certain words in the Morse exchanges during the tests.

The RTS’s longest-standing Fellow – Paul Reveley

Posted on: August 1st, 2015 | Category: Uncategorized

Paul Reveley, Fellow of the Television Society since late 1937, and television pioneer who worked with John Logie Baird in the 1930s, talked with me in June 2015. My article celebrating Paul’s full life in television and engineering is in the latest July/August 2015 issue of the Journal and is available at the RTS website (

‘Achievement of Television’ Paper is Editor’s Choice

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 | Category: Uncategorized

Currently, Maney Publishing is offering free download of my paper (see earlier post) as one of their ‘Editor’s Choice’ papers. It can be found at: then click on the ‘Editor’s Choice’ tab. (This link works only when you enter the ‘Recent News’ area.)

IET reduce price of ‘Restoring Baird’s Image’

Posted on: November 27th, 2014 | Category: Uncategorized

The IET have announce a price drop until 19th December 2014 of many of their books including ‘Restoring Baird’s Image’. The book is now £17 against a list price of £34 and against a standard member’s 35% discount price of around £22.

It’s NOT obvious from their website, or even searchable from either their main website or via Google search. You would really need to type in –
or ring +441438767328 or 01438767328 from within the UK.

Their instruction for phone orders is –

“To order simply quote the code “BOOKSALE50” for telephone orders.”

Hackers attack!

Posted on: November 1st, 2014 | Category: Site Updates

Thanks to someone flagging that the site had been hacked, I’ve now restored the site to its original status. The hacking was embedded advertising. Nothing more thank goodness.

It’s a sign of the times, that some person or people can break-in to your website and effectively spray-paint a lovingly-created canvas. This being the web, they get away with it. To me this is a waste of my time both trying to repair the damage these vandals have incurred and trying to find out how they broke in.

Paper on the ‘Achievement of Television’ published

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 | Category: News

The paper on ‘The Achievement of Television: the Quality and Features of John Logie Baird’s System in 1926’ has now been published in the July 2014 issue of the Intl J Hist Eng & Tech and is available at

The extract is available for all to view:

In January 1926, John Logie Baird gave what was considered at the time to be the first public demonstration of television. The image quality that people experienced can only be guessed; no details were released of the equipment and published reports were vague and inconsistent. Historians since then have been unable to add to the understanding and occasionally have confused the story through assumptions that are inconsistent with the available facts.

This paper explores the period around Baird’s first demonstration in detail using a new in-depth analysis of the original Baird equipment now in museums, and a new contextual analysis of the original published material. It describes the most likely status of Baird’s television system in use in early 1926 and the likely quality of what people experienced.


Sale of CD suspended

Posted on: May 6th, 2014 | Category: News

We hope to get the CD available as soon as practical.

Site restored

Posted on: September 18th, 2013 | Category: Site Updates

With the longest downtime in its 15 year history, the site is now up and with a new hosting company.

Welcome to the new style website

Posted on: January 27th, 2013 | Category: News

With this site being available since 1996 (first uploaded 31st Aug 1996) and since 2002, the site has had a complete makeover that retains all the existing content, replaces much of the audio and visual with new better quality content and adds scope for me to extend the site more easily.