Engineer. Born in Helensburgh, the son of a clergyman, Baird was educated at Glasgow University. After working as an engineer, curtailed by ill-health, Baird spent a brief period in the West Indies before settling in the South of England. He was the inventor of the television, successfully transmitting the first picture in 1924 using a mechanical system of capturing a picture. He later developed ideas such as colour, 3-D and large screen television, together with stereo sound. He developed radio direction-finding, contributed to the development of RADAR and also took out a patent on fibre-optics, a technology now used to carry many telephone calls and traffic on the internet. Although possessing great vision, Baird was not a good businessman and lost out when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) adopted an alternative electronic system in 1937, which had been designed by Marconi-EMI. This alternative system had been proposed by another Scotsman, A.A. Campbell-Swinton (1863 - 1930).
Although Baird is best known for television, it was his later developments which in many ways were the more farsighted and successful. He died in Bexhill (Sussex).