Photograph showing Norman Stokes with televisor


Black and white photograph of Norman Stokes with his televisor. Norman sits behind the televisor on a table. Behind Norman is a white backdrop.

Teenager Norman Stokes constructed his own televisor, based upon the mechanical design by John Logie Baird. He did this on his own, without any help from adults, and was apparently self-taught in electrical engineering. The set was largely made from recycled parts, including an old car cylinder, the framework of a model train truck, wire netting, pieces of tin, wood from cigar boxes and Meccano parts. Other additional parts included an old clockwork mechanism and a torch lens to see the early experimental broadcasts.

In April 1931 Stokes displayed his set at the 3rd Television Society Exhibition, held at the University College London physics laboratory. He impressed the members of the society both with his model and his mechanical knowledge about this new technology. Norman’s achievement was widely reported in local and national papers, which claimed he was ‘a boy genius’. By the end of the year Selfridges department store in London was asking to borrow the televisor. It was to be displayed during their ‘Schoolboys’ Week’ in the Radio and Television department.


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Narrow Bandwidth Television Association (Doug Pitt)