Book: Restoring Baird’s Image

Restoring Baird's Image - coverDonald F McLean

Hardcover – 295 pages, 150 half-tones
Institution of Electrical Engineers; ISBN: 0 85296 795 0

Cover design (left) © IET 2000

Synopsis →
Purchase →
Reviews →

Special Commendation: 2001 Kraszna-Krausz Awards

Announced 5th February 2002, in a Press Release for the 2001 Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Awards, “Restoring Baird’s Image” was one of two books awarded a Special Commendation in the Business, Techniques and Technology category from an overall shortlist of 25 from over 250 books submitted internationally. The judges described it as “a marvellously revealing account, a testament to Baird’s visionary contribution to thinking about how the moving image might be accessible in recorded form more than half a century before the advent of the commercial video disc.”


“John Logie Baird, Britain’s foremost television pioneer, experimented with video recording onto gramophone discs in the late 1920s. Though unsuccessful at the time, his experiments resulted in several videodiscs, some 25 years before the videotape recorder became practical. These videodiscs – called Phonovision – remained neglected over the decades, considered by experts as unplayable.

In the early 1980s, the author sought out and restored the surviving Phonovision discs. Using computer-based techniques in an investigation reminiscent of an archaeological dig, the author has not only revealed the images on the discs but also uncovered details of how the recordings were made. The Phonovision discs have now become recognised as one of Baird’s most important legacies.

In 1996 and 1998, amateur ‘off-air’ recordings of the BBC’s 30-line Television Service (1932–35) were found, giving us our first view of what viewers were then watching. The author’s restoration overturns established views on mechanically scanned television, providing us today with a true measure of Britain’s heritage of television programme-making before electronic television.

As well as helping to explain a poorly understood and complex period in television’s history, this unique book, heavily illustrated with previously unpublished or rarely-seen historic photographs restored by the author, sheds light on the achievements of Baird, the development of video recording and the definition and invention of television itself.”

©IEE 2000


The book is not available through me. However…

Ordering through the IET is world-wide and can be made by direct ordering at the IET website. (If you’re an IET member, it should work out as the cheapest way of buying a new copy.) They also have a digital download in PDF format available.

UK and Global Availability – Online searches for Price Comparison