Build Your Own Mechanical TV
By James Grahame
Here's an opportunity to build and own a televisor similar to the device created by Scottish inventor John Logie Baird in 1924. Middlesex University Teaching Resources have released a clever £28.56 kit that includes everything necessary to build your own vintage mechanical television.
The unit measures 260 x 195 x 70mm and includes a CD encoded with compatible TV footage. Simply plug your CD player or iPod into the televisor to view the video. The kit design is vaguely reminiscent of the most popular commercial televisor, manufactured by Plessey in the early 1930s. Around 1,000 of these tin-encased devices were sold at a price of £18, qualifying it as the first commercial television.
The British Broadcasting Corporation transmitted experimental televisor broadcasts between late 1929 and 1932. The tall 30 line image measured 2 1/4 inches high by a mere 3/4 inch wide. Televisor images were a ghostly shade of black and red, thanks to the neon lamp used for illumination.
An unimpressed 1928 viewer remarked, "The Baird machine may be said to give a recognisable human head. It is curiously unlike any particular face. I suspect that the eyebrows were heavily made up. Only very slow movements are possible, any thing of even normal speed producing a wild blurr. The impression is of a curiously ape like head, decapitated at the chin, swaying up and down in a streaky stream of yellowy light."
Check out the video to see the device built and operated before your very eyes.