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Marconi-E.M.I Television System

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TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MARCONI-E.M.I. SYSTEM OF TELEVISION

Click here for the full technical description. It was scanned by Nick Cutmore in July 2018 and his contribution is gratefully acknowledged. 
Nick's version is better than the original because it includes a navigation system which provides links from the contents pages, and the PDF file is searchable if saved and opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

This is an important document as it describes the system used for the world’s first regular high definition public television service in 1936.

It is not an overview. The document describes the system in great technical detail. It is therefore a significant record of broadcast technology history.

As the title shows, the system was developed by Marconi and E.M.I. but the document was produced by D. C Birkinshaw who was the BBC Engineer-in-Charge at the London Television Station, Alexandra Palace from 1936 to 1939. There are twelve sections describing various aspects and they are dated from 1937 to 1939, with some amendments up to 1950. They cover the entire broadcast chain from camera to aerial, with the exception of the transmitter's RF amplifier (but the modulator is included).

My intention to publish this document was posted on bbceng in 2016 and the reaction was entirely positive.  However, if you know of any concerns or objections please let me know (see Publication Policy). The intellectual property in the document came from Marconi and E.M.I. These companies no longer exist, but their major contribution to television engineering is duly acknowledged. As the system was created in the 1930s it is unlikely that anyone involved is still alive, but their descendants should be very proud of the tremendous achievements.

I would also like to pay tribute to the author Douglas Birkinshaw. I don't know how much assistance he had, but the result is a highly commendable piece of work. Of course he went on to produce, with S.W Amos, the important series of text books: Television Engineering - Principles and Practice. This link goes to a page which includes a video of him in his later years.

I am aware of thirteen physical copies which are presently being looked after by:-

1) Me (rescued from BBC Transmission Headquarters in Warwick, when it closed down). Number 215.

2) Nick Cutmore (rescued from Wrotham transmitting station by Peter Sparks and sent to Nick via me). Number 1260.

3) Richard Prytaherch (rescued from Alexandra Palace by his father).

4) Phil Marrison (rescued from Sutton Coldfield).

5) John Sykes (rescued from Kingswood Warren)

6) Phil Martland: two copies numbers 15 and 147 (rescued from Pontop Pike)

7) Paul (Adrian Webber). Number 212?

8) Neil Wilson (The Radio Museum): Number 1316, formerly belonging to A.A.Leak.

9) Neil Wilson (The Radio Museum) knows the whereabouts of: Number 1439 belonging to C.J.Webster.

10) Number 1301 was acquired from Len Kelly in the 1990s. Present owner unknown.

11) Number 1263 (from Moorside Edge) was acquired from Len Kelly in the 1990s. Present owner unknown.

12) Number 119 (originally issued to W.J.Pearce) was possibly acquired from Len Kelly in the 1990s. Present owner unknown.

13) Number 1143 acquired by Hedley Versey who started his career at Alexandra Palace in 1936 when he was 18yrs old.

The Science Museum in London probably also has a copy.

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