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An Obscure Cartoon

I recently purchased a stack of trade magazines from the 1930s and 1940s aimed at radio (and later) TV broadcasters and their advertisers. I came across this cartoon in a 1948 copy of “Broadcasting.” It is a bit confusing and not funny at all without a little background in post-war television history. When TV stations […]

The President’s TV

Television began to establish itself in America during the post-war 1940s. The new television networks soon found ways to link TV stations across the nation. This enabled the networks to broadcast national news much as they already did with radio. With the emergence of national television news networks, TV became important to our political leaders. […]

Well That Was a Clever Idea–Two Chassis TVs

Ok, this is a techie thing, but I’m always curious about what goes through the minds of designers as they ready a product for market. I’ve occasionally noticed rather small TVs that had a second chassis in the base. So how is that an economical idea? Well, now I know.

I recently purchased […]

May I Upsize That? TV Conversions

Fast moving technologies produce some strange stepchildren. TV conversion was one.

During the late 1940s television began to take hold in America. TVs were expensive at first and their screens were very small. Many folks couldn’t afford any larger than a ten inch set. Even large entertainment centers might only have a ten or […]

Brave New World–1940s TV in America

The television revolution really got on its feet in 1946. People had cash saved up from war-time jobs. Rationing was over and companies were again allowed to produce consumer products. The uncertainty over television broadcast standards that kept TV from taking off in the late 1930’s was largely in the past. The astronomical prices associated […]

Rugged Individualism–Fixing Your Own Stuff

There is a particular attribute of rugged individualism that we have lost since the 1960s–repairing your own electronics. When I was a kid, nearly all TVs had tubes. Every Seven-Eleven and many other stores had a tube tester like the one below.

Those of us who didn’t want to pay a television repairman […]

A Pretty 1940’s TV–The General Electric 806

Sorry to bore you guys with another TV restoration, but getting one of these old beasts running can be as gratifying as beating a hard video game—touch and go for a while, then victory.

Up until now, I have restored electrostatic televisions. These TVs used high voltage plates rather than magnetic fields to build […]

A Tale of Two Tubes–The Iconoscope and the Orthicon

Much of the information I share here came from Michael Ritchie’s excellent book PLEASE STAND BY, A PREHISTORY OF TELEVISION, and from Albert Abramson’s biography ZWORYKIN, PIONEER OF TELEVISION.

Here are two early television camera tubes I happened across several years ago. They represent the first and second generations of electronic television.


Finally, An Easy Project–Hallicrafter’s Seven Inch Television

Sometimes we get to benefit from the work of others, sometimes they benefit from ours. That’s how it goes in the antique hobby. I just finished the easiest TV project I’ve ever tackled thanks to the hard work of another collector. But first, some back story.

I bought Hallicrafter’s 1948 seven inch TV about […]

The Philco Safari

Texas Instruments commissioned the design of the first consumer transistor radio in 1955 to attract the attention to their little semi-conductor operation in Dallas. After transistor radios made their debut, the public waited for a similar miracle for television–a small, light-weight transistor TV that could run on batteries.

There were many more technical hurtles […]