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Great Scot! Scotland’s finest inventions

John Logie Baird demonstrates his invention with help from ventriloquist's dummies. Picture: Getty

John Logie Baird demonstrates his invention with help from ventriloquist's dummies. Picture: Getty


  • by BRYAN DUNCAN
 

THE Scotsman profiles some of Scotland’s greatest inventions, and the Scots behind them

Television

Engineer John Logie Baird (1888-1946) invented the world’s first fully functioning television system. In 1926, he gave the world’s first demonstration of a TV at the Royal Institute in London.

Telephone

Born in Edinburgh, Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was credited with inventing the first working phone. In 1875, he came up with a receiver which converts electricity into sound. Phone technology has evolved rapidly over the years, with the ubiquitous iPhone becoming one of the biggest-selling smartphones in the world.

Cash Machine/Chip & Pin

Paisley-born engineer James Goodfellow (1937) created a device allowing people access to their money outside working bank hours. He also devised the idea of Personal Identification Number (PIN). LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, processes around 1m transactions per hour.

Fingerprint

Ayrshire-born physician Henry Faulds (1843-1930) was the first person to make a breakthrough in fingerprinting, publishing a report on its conception in criminal investigations in 1880. The method is still used worldwide to identify criminals; US TV crime shows such as CSI mean that most people are familiar with the technique.

Bicycle

Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812-1878), a blacksmith from Dumfries and Galloway, is the first person credited with the pedal-driven bicycle. Macmillan once rode 68 miles into Glasgow on his bicycle in 1842, a journey which took two days and was considered a success despite injuring a small girl, for which he was fined 5 shillings. Cycling remains a popular mode of transport, particularly in densely populated urban areas, and despite the overall increase in motor vehicles in cities.

 

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