3. Mechanical Television

Mechanical Baird model


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In the twenties, mechanical television was born. If you were a ham radio operator, you could purchase what they called a “Looking in Kit”. It would come in a box and you would put it together and connect it to your radio. Once set up, you would turn on the motor and the disc would start spinning. There was usually a lens in front of the disc and a light behind it, and each time the holes in the disc passed the light, they would create a line. If you got your receiving disc spinning at the same rate that the camera disc was spinning, you would be able to view the image being transmitted via short wave radio frequency.

As the predecessor to the electronic television, the mechanical TV is a very important part of the evolution of this technology.