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Was John Logie Baird hypothyroid?

Was John Logie Baird hypothyroid?

Today the BBC has put up a story about the inventor of television, John Logie Baird, and his undersock invention. As I read it, my mind continually asked whether he was hypothyroid. Have a read. Post your opinions.

2 November 2014 Last updated at 00:06

World War One at Home: John Logie Baird and the undersock

Scottish inventor John Logie Baird is famous for being the first person to transmit live television images. But almost a decade earlier, during World War One, the Helensburgh-born engineer had success with another less well-known innovation.

The trenches of WW1 meant soldiers were constantly in muddy and wet conditions.

They could not change their socks as often as they would like and this led to an infection known as "trench foot".

If it was left untreated it could result in amputation.

The Baird Undersock promised to keep the feet of soldiers in perfect health.

His marketing of the product contained what he claimed to be "testimonials" from soldiers serving on the western front.

One from Corporal H.G. Roberts said: "I find the Baird Undersocks keep my feet in splendid condition out here in France. Foot trouble is one of our worst enemies, but, thanks to the Baird Undersock, mine are in the 'pink', and I think they should be supplied to all soldiers."

The product was so successful that it allowed him to give up his job as assistant mains engineer, supervising the repair of electrical breakdowns for the Clyde Valley Electric Power Company.

It was a job he described in his memoirs as "sordid miserable work, punctuated by repeated colds and influenza".

Baird, who was almost 26 at the outbreak of war in 1914, had tried to enlist but was deemed unfit for military service because of the range of illnesses he had suffered since childhood.

The idea for the undersock came from his one of his many personal ailments.

"He had cold feet," his daughter Diana Richardson says.

"His circulation was absolutely awful. He was always cold. I remember him wearing big thick heavy overcoats and he was still cold. He just could not get warm."

Read the rest of the story here:


7 Replies

Low resistance to infection and continually being cold would certainly be two classic symptoms.

Being a 'techie' and 1/4 Scottish I'm somewhat embarrassed I didn't recognize his name. PR


This is the History of JLB:


He wouldn't have had to take synthetic thyroid hormones when/if finally diagnosed.


My thoughts jumped to hypothyroidism as soon as I read it.


Rod, the recurring infections and inabilty to feel warm sound very much like hypothyroidism. Must have been a wrench returning from sunny warm Trinidad back to cold ole Blighty.


...I also think we seek professions that suit our condition :-) Never fancied being a mountaineer :-)


I think I read somewhere that he had pernicious anaemia.


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