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The Set: Pete Deksnis's Site about the CT-100

Restoring a Vintage Color Television Set


Subject: mystery color TV c.1953
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 02:31:41 -0400

From the appearance of the cabinet & lack of decorative mask & faceplate, I would make a guess that the mystery TV pictured is a CBS field sequential color TV receiver. -Don F.

Hum… let's take the Carl Sagan approach, which is to carefully evaluate an argument that may seem unpromising on first hearing.

If this were a CBS field sequential set, it would have to be an all-electronic version; that is, there is a tricolor CRT installed rather than a color wheel or color drum in front of a monochrome CRT. (Clearly, there is no room for a color wheel and nearly as certainly no room for a color drum inside that stuffed cabinet. A wheel is about three times the size of the screen and a drum would only fit in the space available if it were a flexible belt, and I hadn't heard of one.)

But, there is some evidence that CBS developed an all-electronic sequential system. In 1950, an article in the June issue of Popular Science, on page 110, states that, "Recently, … CBS demonstrated an all-electronic receiver that eliminates the often-criticized mechanical wheel. It projects a big picture with a lens-and-tube system…."

Okay, so CBS did demonstrate an all-electronic version. But, there just doesn't seem to be enough room in that cabinet for a 1950-style projection system. However, on the same page of the 1950 article, it says of the RCA tricolor CRT, "One important virtue of the new RCA receiver tube is that it can be used with any of the three systems."

Bingo! Based on the article, this could be a CBS sequential color set with a 3-gun shadow mask tube. But is it? Well, I'd say no way, because CBS color had been dormant for two years, and the important developments were all in the compatible-color arena. The editor of a newsstand magazine (as Radio-Electronics was then) would have numerous recent photos available to choose from. And, he would have selected the most current and eye-catching image possible to put on the cover of that newsstand magazine, which after all, is a point-of-sale item that uses the cover as its display ad.

So in the end, I'd say this is most likely an NTSC receiver from a still-mysterious manufacturer. --Pete

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