A collection of 13 letters (12 signed) relating to TV, 7 'Televsion' journals and 8 other related items
Lot 185
Sold for £21,600 (US$ 26,376) inc. premium

Lot Details
A collection of 13 letters (12 signed) relating to TV, 7 'Televsion' journals and 8 other related items
Papers of A.W. Weston, employed by John Logie Baird and his business partner Captain Oliver Hutchinson to edit Television: The world's first television journal. A monthly magazine devoted to the interests and progress of the science of seeing by wire and wireless, comprising an autograph article by Baird himself, with letters to Weston by Baird, Ronald F. Tiltman and others, photographs of Baird, proofs and mock-ups of the first of the number of the magazine, etc; as follows:
(i) Autograph article by Baird, written for the inaugural issue of Television, describing the first transmission of a human being by television, 2 pages, on ruled paper, pin-stain and slight foxing, 4to, [late 1927]
(ii) Typed letter signed by Baird ("J.L. Baird/ Director") and his business partner Oliver Hutchinson, confirming that they will pay Weston 5% for all capital introduced to Television Limited, one page, headed paper, 4to, Television Ltd., Motograph House, Upper St Martin's Lane, London, 17 August 1926
(iii) Typed letter signed by Baird ("John L Baird"), thanking Weston for the journal "with article on Television, which is very good", one page, headed paper, 4to, Baird Television Development Company, Limited, Long Acre, London, 2 May 1929
(iv) Autograph letter signed by Baird ("John L. Baird"), discussing his patents, television companies and trade marks ("...I do not know of any legal reason against using 'The Baird Televisor' but I think it might be better to bring out a new Mark and register it..."), 2 pages, 8vo, Sydenham, 13 September 1943
(v) Weston's retained carbon of his letter to Baird's business partner Oliver Hutchinson of "Messrs Television Ltd", confirming "the verbal agreement which you made with me last evening to be appointed Editor of 'Television' at 16 Guineas per issue", one page, on flimsy paper, creased, 4to, 15 September 1927
(vi) Nine typed letters signed by Ronald F. Tiltman, Assistant Editor of Television, discussing articles ("...I had a few minutes with Capt Hutchinson this evening. Apparently the only thing now causing delay is the preparation of the six page section giving construction details of the transmitter..."), illustrations, proofs, photographs and writing paper, and suggesting that "it would arouse great interest in the subject and so help the paper if it could be arranged for Mr Baird to stage some fairly public demonstration of some sort just in publication week, anything that would get a mention in the daily papers"; with a sheet of suggestions headed "Proof of January 'Television'" and another headed "Amendments to Prof Cheshire's Article in No 1 of 'Television'", 11 pages, some foxing to enclosed sheets, 4to, West Kensington Mansions, 16 September to 5 December 1927
(vii) A pasted-up sheet of copy for the magazine, illustrating the apparatus and 'Television Terms Defined', one sheet, 4to
(viii) Miscellaneous memoranda etc., including a list of names, such as Marconi, Baird, Lodge and Selfridge. [to provide testimonials in the first issue], a roneo'd note on the apparatus "Lent by Messrs. Television Ltd" to the Science Museum, and three sample sheets of headed Television writing-paper
(ix) Photographs of Baird, comprising a 'New, unpublished photo, taken Sept 1927' showing Baird and Tiltman with the 'Televisor', with Tiltman's roneo'd captions on reverse [by A. Spencer, bromide print], a photograph of Baird and the wireless pioneer Sir Oliver Lodge before the 'Noctovisor', and one of Baird with Dr Clarence Tierney before the 'Noctovisor', both photographs with Leeds agency stamps on reverse [both taken at the meeting of the British Association at Leeds in 1927 where Baird demonstrated his infra-red 'noctovision']
(x) Set of seven proofs and dummies for the first issue of Television, in a folder marked in crayon "'Television'/ First Copies", comprising a mock-up entirely in pencil; a printed proof without cover; a blank dummy with cover (contents left blank); a blank dummy with cover (contents written by pen); proof with cover (contents 'How to make a Simple Televisor'); proof with cover (penultimate state of content with abandoned revision in ink); and final proof, with many spaces especially those for advertising still left blank and with Baird's autograph article originally attached (see below), marked in red ink "Copy For Printer"


  • "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY A HUMAN FACE WAS SEEN ON THE SCREEN OF A TELEVISOR": JOHN LOGIE BAIRD AND THE LAUNCH TELEVISION – an important archive, relating to Baird's early attempts to bring his new invention to the notice of the public. Ronald F. Tiltman, assistant editor on his magazine Television, was later to write his first biography, Baird of Televison: The Life Story of John Logie Baird (1933). The article for Televison by Baird himself in the present archive was drafted late in 1927 for the first issue of the magazine, where it accompanied a photograph of William Taynton, the office boy who was, famously, the first human to appear on television (immediately after the ventriloquist's dummy): "Frith St is one of these obscure and mysterious side streets which run parallel to Tottenham Court rd and lies in Soho the London Latin quarter it was in a little two roomed attic laboratory in this street that Mr Baird conducted his early Television research work and it was here that for the first time in history a human face was seen on a Television screen The first person to be transmitted was an office boy from the office beneath Mr Bairds laboratory. On the first Friday in October of 1925 Robert [sic] Taynton whose portrait accompanies this article was hurriedly summoned to come upstairs to Mr Bairds laboratory and place himself in front of the brilliant projection lamp then used by the inventor The boy did not like the job and had to be bribed with half a crown before he would submit to the experiment – This face was then successfully transmitted and for the first time in history a human face was seen on the screen of a Televisor" (altered from "on a Television").
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  1. Simon Roberts
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
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