A second stem that had failed during an attempt to resurrect the lost process RCA used to rebuild the 15GP22 has been received by the manufacturer for study. We are awaiting further word.
The 101st known Merrill was discovered recently in the Eli Buk collection of Technology and Invention located in Manhattan. A number of potential additions to the Living CT-100 list are in the process of being verified. I expect to visit again later this month to photograph this set and to retrieve cabinet and chassis serial numbers. There is also a CBS field sequential color monitor from 1952 in his collection. This particular Grey Research monitor can be traced back to use in the CBS studios in Manhattan.
There is new restoration information about a surviving RCA Model 5, the preproduction CT-100 used to view the January 1, 1954, Rose Bowl parade. Check the Model 5 page,
The cracked stem noted our August 30 entry below has arrived at the manufacturer and has been inspected. However, it has subsequently disappeared and is believed to have accidentally been discarded in a trash collection. Oh well, not a major hindrance. Bruce continues to arrange a conference call between them and Scotty, hopefully by next week. Thanks to Dave Corbett who pointed out misdirection in the August 30 notice -- it was not a 15GP22 that failed the attempt. Only the now missing simulated gun and a beyond-rebuilding 15GP22 bottle were in play.
Craig has his 'mostly' operational CT-100
up for grabs on ebay. 5722503800
A cracked stem from a failed attempt to rebuild a 15GP22 is at the stem manufacturer. Arrangements for a conference call are being made this week.
The Living CT-100 list hits 100! It took us five years to achive this milestone. For the 100th CT-100 story,
Unfortunately, the second attempt to attach a new stem, with its dummy delta gun, to a 15GP22 neck was a full and immediate failure. The stem cracked early in the process.
There will be an attempt to get the stem manufacturer and the rebuilder into a huddle for some serious brainstorming.
June 6, 2004 marked almost 53 years since the CBS-Columbia Model 12CC2 color television set last received signals in accordance with the 1951 CBS Color system. For more:
From an earlier post, "An attempt to evacuate a 15GP22 last month was not without incident. Early in the process the stem, which had been successfully attached to a 50-year-old neck, shattered. Why is still under investigation...."
There is speculation that the stem shattered because of stress inflicted when the dummy gun was spot welded to all twenty stem leads. A new dummy gun will have perhaps only three welded leads. Seculatively, this should allow an unstressed stem to be attached to the 15GP22 neck so the investigation of a procedure to sucessfully draw a vacuum can continue.
[As of May 29, a new dummy gun was fabricated and is in the hands of Scotty, the rebuilder in Iowa. Expect his next attempt to create a vacuum in this old 15G dud mule to take place by the second week of June.]
Here's the preliminary release of a new Tidbits IV bit about the 2004 showing of 1951 CBS field-sequential color at the Early Television Convention, held at the Early Television Museum in Hilliard, Ohio, April 24th and 25th.
There are four known 1953 Model 5 'Rose Bowl' color sets. Check the latest status of these rare sets in Tidbits IV
History was made at the second annual Early Television Foundation convention held in Columbus, Ohio when the original 1951 CBS color standard was brought to life after a 53-year hiatus. This screen shot of a restored 1951 studio monitor taken with my cell phone camera was emailed seconds after being shot Sunday. More and better pictures photographed by Phil Dudley are in the pipeline and will be posted when we receive them from Phil on CD via snail mail.
Low-quality screen shot of a restored 1951 Gray Research CBS-color monitor pictures Dorothy in Ruby Slippers from a "The Wizard of Oz" DVD.
Operational CT-100 on ebay; from the the Living CT-100 list. CTC2 chassis B8003798. Includes the functional 15GP22. Ebay number 3285398121
[This set will be shipped from its current home in Madison, Wisconsin to a museum in France. This will be the fourth CT-100 in Europe and the second operational: Ingo in Germany (operational); Wilkinson in Great Britain; and Marco in Italy are the other caretakers. With apologies to George Gershwin, "An American in Paris" is the new owner.]["I intend to operate the CT-100 via a variety of PAL & SECAM sources transcoded into NTSC 3.58 by a digital standards converter and a low power (50 mW) NTSC transmitter operating on the VHF low channels (3-5). I already have about 10 NTSC TVs operating just fine from this setup, and anticipate no particular problems with the CT-100." Jerome]
03-22 to 03-25 2004
All this week we commemorate the brilliant dawn of color television. Fifty-years-ago on March 25, RCA in Bloomington, Indiana began its production run of the CT-100. Follow a weeklong salute by the mainstream media and others beginning March 22:
An attempt to evacuate a 15GP22 last month was not without incident. Early in the process the stem, which had been successfully attached to a 50-year-old neck, shattered. Why is still under investigation, but another of the new stems will be attached and the challenge revisited. These are rebuilder trials performed on a dud using a simulated electron gun assembly to prove the process and are not yet actual rebuild efforts.
Two new Merrills have been added to the Living CT-100 list, and both are operational, which boosts our total to 24. It had been at 22 for nearly a year. Who's the lucky owner? None other than Thomson/RCA in Indianapolis, who hired Scott Marshall to restore the beasties for a March 25 2-hour 50th anniversary sale on QVC.
Here's one getting its 'glamour photo' taken at a Thomson/RCA photoshoot.
Last week I was flown to Indianapolis to repair the CT-100's owned by Thomson Electronics. They are having a two-hour special on QVC March 25th in which they will be honoring the 50th anniversary of color TV, and want a working Merrill showing vintage color programming. They own three sets and I was able to make two work well enough for the cablecast. Might be fun to watch it live and see if it blooms or acts up in any way during the broadcast!
The nonworking set (chassis B8002886) was already on the list; it had been seen and photographed at the UCLA Television Collection of Technology & Design archives by Steve Dichter in April 2003. Phew. These things get around. Wonder how it was shipped...
The 15GP22 rebuild-effort test gun noted in a December 15 entry has been modified and is scheduled to be tested with the 15GP22 dud on Friday, February 20, 2004. A new stem with the dummy gun attached will be used to test the evacuation process. A fracture in the glass will be sealed with a Vacseal replacement to test its viability in this heat-intensive process.
To avoid destroying another gun assembly, a copper dummy was assembled for the test last year. This proved to be an unusable choice of metal for the rebuilder, and so another dummy gun has been fabricated from steel to emulate the mass of an actual gun.
Perhaps the most often asked specialty question about a CT-100, see "A Weighty Topic" in Tidbits IV. Jump there,
An alternate source of vacuum sealant was established after the original Vacseal became scarce. Check the 1-1-04 addition to the sealant page
Loop:Node... High:Low... Peak:Valley... 15GP22 rebuild story takes a dip.
From the September 29 News & Notice entry: "Scotty will use a different 15GP22 dud and gun to test and perfect the rebuild process before the first bona fide attempt is made." This process verification attempt was halted when the gun (not the recently rebuilt unit) was deemed unsuitable. Sooo this test gun will be modified as needed to proceed with the test.
While waiting for more 15GP22 rebuild news... :-) ... here's a different update:
Cabinet and lid serial numbers for Ed Westfall's CT-100 (B8000884) in Eugene, Oregon, were added to the published CT-100 serial number list. Ed writes, "The original owner was a radio repairman whose shop was Lee's Radio Repair, 300 First Street, San Rafael, CA. --We Use RCA Tubes-- The nephew who I bought it from remembers watching the set when it was new. I won't be able to do anything with it until next spring, maybe by then a fix for the CRT will be available."
Ed also has one of the few operational H840CK15's. See it on Marlin Mackley's site:
Updates: A CT-100 in Michigan listed as operational since 2000 has been added to the published list; thanks to Dennis Burchett for retrieving the chassis serial number recently.
[Click here to check the list]
Some interesting recent developments in the world of 1951 CBS field sequential COLOR are found under the Tidbits IV head "CBS FIELD SEQUENTIAL COLOR."
[Click here for Tidbits IV]
10-27-2003 09:41 EST
Heads-Up: a C-73599 should be appearing on ebay shortly. Under vacuum. More info when available...
Here's the ebay number [ 2199538153 ] and further background info from the seller:I came by this picture tube around 1974 when I was servicing television sets in the Los Angeles area. I would work on the CTC-12 through CTC-16 chassis that other shops had given up on. I really liked that vintage and I could teak them to give a better picture than the current production sets of the day. At any rate, when a customer had a flat CRT, I would take the dud down to Dunbar Electronics for rebuilding. With all the 21-inch round tubes I was bringing in, the guy figured I was into old stuff so he showed me the C-73599, telling me it was for a CT-100 should I ever run across one. I forgot what I paid for it, but it was so weird that I just had to have it! I've been taking this bottle with me wherever I have moved to, hoping to find a CT-100 to put it in, but no luck. At this point I'd just like to see the tube put to good use.[11-3-2003. This bottle was expected to close at about 2k, and it did... winning bid: $1,825.00]
There's a California-based CT-100 on ebay: 2198191921
[Winning bid: $3300 (included a probable 15GP22 dud)]
Another significant success! The 15GP22 gun has been rebuilt and shipped to Scotty at Hawkeye in Iowa. It is there now, but must languish on a shelf for some time before it is actually used in a restoration attempt. Scotty will use a different 15GP22 dud and gun to test and perfect the rebuild process before the first bona fide attempt is made. This next investigative step is scheduled for early November.
[As of Nov. 2, 2003, status remains unchanged.]
Serial number data for the 84th Merrill on the Living CT-100 list has been added to a register of serial numbers contributed by caretakers of this marvelous milestone in the story of color television. Thanks to Van Carman, WA6AWK, for providing this latest addition to the record.
VENTURE n. An undertaking that is dangerous, daring, or of uncertain outcome.
FYI. This phase of the 15GP22 rebuild is being done by a large, commercial company and is being funded by collectors. The outcome is uncertain, but certainly worth the risk.
Jim Bishop reports that he was able to successfully disassemble a G1-cathode-filament assembly from the second 15GP22 gun supplied to him. Furthermore, he estimates that his successful disassembly process has a 90 percent confidence level for future gun restoration. With dozens of known duds in the hands of collectors, this is good news -- for unless this rebuilding effort works, as the last, glowing 15GP22 fails, the era of operational 15-in. early color sets will fade to black.
Even a 90-percent success rate at this step of the rebuilding process means that eventually all the tubes will fail. There is however a relatively large number (perhaps 100) of the early 21-in. round-tube delta guns in stock. Bishop has also been tasked to investigate the use of recovered
elements, the electrostatic convergence grid of the 15GP22, for atachment to the otherwise similar roundie guns.
[G4 link added Sept. 1, 2003][As of Sept. 6, 2003, status remains unchanged.]
A tabulation of known CT-100 chassis serial numbers from the Living CT-100 list is now available on this site. Access the report from the Contributor's Menu page. To jump directly to that Menu
Launched another Tidbits: "Skim or peruse this catch-all page devoted to anything related to vintage color TV."
[click here for Tidbits IV]
15GP22 REBUILD UPDATE. Actually, the blaring headline is probably extreme. Not too much more has happened. The rebuilder is still studying how to disassemble the gun from its original stem. There is an issue concerning the welds that connect the gun to the stem. It seems the modern technique is different from that used in Lancaster so many years ago, and so a new challenge has emerged. Fingers are crossed that this second gun will not be lost.
Here's more of the story launched July 22 about a newly discovered Model 5.
Another positive milestone has been passed in the quest to develop a process that will rebuild ailing 15GP22s. The second gun supplied to the rebuilder has proven to be complete and undamaged, and so
they have asked for one of the recently manufactured stems
. Now the delicate task of removing one stem and welding another to the nearly fifty-year-old tricolor gun is under way. If it works (and why shouldn't it!?) the rebuilt gun assembly will be shipped halfway across the country to Scotty at Hawkeye in Iowa for the final round. Keep tuned.
[As of Aug. 2, 2003, status remains unchanged.]
In 1957, a member of the NBC technical staff in New York, D. E. Pike, who lived in Bloomfield, New Jersey and watched early color broadcasts on a rare (even then) “Model 5” color TV set, needed to replace its aging developmental color CRT, a C-73599. So, even as I did three years later when buying my first color set at the RCA Family Store in Riverton, NJ, Mr. Pike took advantage of his NBC employee perks and replaced his C-73599 with a brand new 15GP22, serial number I-7391. A National Broadcasting Company shipping order valued the 15GP22 at a hefty – for then – fifty dollars. The new replacement tube carried with it a standard warranty and a card. Here is that bit of color TV history: warranty card C-60127 complete with the serial number of Pike’s new 15GP22. We have just learned that the Model 5, the “new” 15GP22, and the original C-73599 (s/n 5390) still exist here in New Jersey. You will be hearing more of this, the fourth known Model 5 in existence.
Another set of screen photographs of an operational CT-100 has been added to the hall of fame. For great pictures of the latest operational CT-100, click the "[d]" link under "25 December 2002."
A second dud has been acquired for the 15GP22 rebuild project (ref. 5-18 entry below). The current phase, that of rebuilding the 15GP22 gun, will move forward. Good luck to all involved!
It's another Merrill on ebay. Opening bid: a tempting 2k. Ebay number: 2177303837
[Winning bid: $4612 (included a usable 15GP22); this is a new high for an ebay-sold Merrill.]
When I began this site four years ago --Wow, time flies! -- it was with the hope of documenting the detailed restoration of my CT-100, which has been in my care since 1963. My actual restoration was halted at the first video amplifier (a 6CL6) when it became clear my 15GP22 tricolor CRT was a dud. Two things then happened. A long-running attempt to rebuild the 15GP22, and a site that became a repository for tidbits of information about the development of NTSC color television.
While I hope to complete the original purpose of this site by restoring my CT-100 when a CRT becomes available, it's true that you and I have been able to vicariously share the accomplishments of others who have completed restoring their CT-100's. And, here's an idea for new section, with an initial page available, in a category I call the engineering connection. Check out the first of what I hope are many more pages:
Early Color Engineers
Here’s an update and call for help with the 15GP22 rebuild. You've probably seen the new 15GP22 stems that have been manufactured recently in New Jersey (04-15-2003 photo below). Our current challenge is locating a 15GP22 gun that can be sacrificed for small structural parts so a Georgia contractor can complete the filament/cathode replacement in a gun being used to establish and validate the process. Success here means the gun can move on to a CRT rebuilder in Iowa where a dud 15G' already awaits the final step. If you can and care to contribute information or hardware to this quest, or if you'd just like to share a word of encouragement or comment, email me at:
One final fun entry this mid-May Sunday. Ever since starting this site I've been looking for a picture of my broadcasting days. Thanks to my brother Dave who found one in his attic. Indulge me; I'm 43 years younger in this link:
Bench restoration of a CTC2 is simplified when the chassis has its yoke connected. One method shown here clamps yoke to upper edge of chassis B8000728. (Number 77 on the Living CT-100 list) More about this active restoration as it develops...
Seventy-ninth on the Living CT-100 list is a set sequestered in California at the UCLA Television Collection of Technology & Design archives. Thanks to Steve's Dichter and Kissinger who saw and photographed B8002886 in April. Operational status unkonwn.
Just back from the first annual Early Television Convention held in the museum facilities of the Early Television Foundation in Hilliard, Ohio. Let's get right to the major news:
Right out of the manufacturer's box, it's one of the first new run of stems made for a 15GP22 in at least 25 years. This and others will be used by the rebuilder to develop a process that bonds a stem to the neck of a dud 15GP22. Many more hurdles will be surmounted before a dud 15G glows again. But the attempt moves forward.
Many sets were on display at the Convention in addition to the ETF museum's collection. My personal favorite: A never-sold CT-100 looking every bit as though it just came out of the packing crate.
We'll be looking for you next year! --Pete
Certainly a bit pricey for this (hitherto unknown) CT-100 whose operational status is uncertain, B8000728 is up for bids on ebay with a "buy it now" of $6500. The (more realistic) opening bid is $1500. Number 2169477139. This Merrill becomes number 77 on the Living CT-100 list.
For great pictures of the latest operational CT-100, click the "[c]" link under "25 December 2002."
A page showing locations of CT-100 serial numbers has been added to Tidbits III.
Can you name the person in this highly compressed (read pixilated and fuzzy) seven-second video of an experimental, CBS field-sequential color television demonstration, probably made in 1949? It would be great to be able to preserve remaining snippets of early color development, but who knows where, or if, any others survive. Yes, my original is better, but this .wmv (multimedia video for Windows) clip displays the flavor of the original. There is also a Real Media (.rm) version.
Note: Since the clip was silent, I grabbed the first theater pipe organ MP3 file I came across (Rule Britannia) and added it to the .wmv version just for fun. Viewers of the .rm file are graciously spared the folly.
[If, as conjectured, this is Patty Painter, who was the model for the Nyack, New York color demonstration by Peter Goldmark, this could be from that 1946 CBS color demo. If you have any information to share about this clip or where this film is or if it still exists, please contact me. -- Pete 2-9-2003][See an update to this entry under the Tidbits IV head " CBS FIELD SEQUENTIAL COLOR"[click here for Tidbits IV][click here for Windows Media Video]
There's a CT-100 cabinet (includes the pencil box; no electronics) to follow on ebay: 3003541707
The Early Television Foundation, just outside Columbus, Ohio, will be hosting its first annual swap meet for vintage television collectors and those so inclined on April 12 and April 13. Hope to see you there!
Our newest hitherto unknown CT-100 -- the seventy-fourth -- was just today added to the Living list of surviving CT-100s. There's an entry in Tidbits III about this set, which is now in Gloucester, MA.
If the CT-100 were a kit, here would be more pieces of the puzzle. Includes the glass front and a 15GP22 dud. On ebay: 802538529 , 802537734 , 802536877 , 802535976
Here's a scene that may never again be duplicated. It occurred in California early in November 2002.
There's an interesting historical tricolor kinescope on ebay, the HD-266A, a CBS-Hytron "Colortron." This is a 22-inch rectangular CRT listed on early CBS color television schematics as an
for the 19VP22. Its screen area of 260 square inches was only five more than the round RCA 21AXP22 of the same era. Ebay number: 727427675
[Interesting, yes, but not particularly useful when compared to a 15GP22, which has so many vinage color sets to inhabit. Reserve not met. Final bit $312.50.]
There's another 15GP22 to watch on ebay: 2138573302
This tube, like mine, lost its vacuum. If the rebuild effort is successful, it may not work for a tube without vacuum.
[Winning bid: $400 (included the mu-metal shield)]
Here's what sealant added to an operational 15GP22 looks like. Just added to a page buried in this site under a labyrinth of links; cut through the clutter...
I've often said that talent required to create electronic circuits from wire, solder, and components should be recognized as genuine artistic expression.
Who then would deny this to be a lesser form of art
than any other human endeavor that creates works for esthetic value?
The 19-in. Motorola 19CT1 sold on ebay for a reasonable $2200.
Model 19CT1... vintage Motorola color from 1954. Virtually all Motorola 19-inch color television sets from the dawn of color telelvision had the 19VP22 tricolor CRT replaced with a 21-inch round tube. But, not quite all. There's one, for example, at the Early Television Foundation, and now there's one on ebay. See number 2131479345
I once mounted my CT-100, sans cabinet, into a wall -- it was a year when David Brinkley still had that sometimes-color news show "David Brinkley's Journal." That's why I've listed the latest known CT-100 as operational, even though it's not in its cabinet. Here's email from the owner.
Pete, Add me to the list of "Living CT100s." I bought mine at a church sale on Sept 16, 1995. The CRT is good. The owner was an electronic instructor who could never get the unit working. I paid $25 for it and ran into the standard issues described, such as open coils and B+ shorts. Fortunately, Miller Coil was able to supply coils to replace those ill-fated cement types used throughout the chroma circuits. The chassis and CRT are mounted presently in a homemade jig for servicing. The cabinet is rough, so I will have to have it professionally refinished. The only setbacks (excuse the pun) are the missing "set-back" and channel selector indicator knob. This unit is a point of pride for me. Would I sell it? NEVER! It is just too much fun to speak with the field and say "You think you have problems with an XYZ 25" color - I'm restoring a CTC-2!" Paul
Here's a typical email re the 15GP22 rebuild effort.
Pete, What if any progress has been made towards actually rebuilding the 15GP22? There were a lot of emails, then the trail got cold. Sounded like they had all the stuff together to remake one. The page does not give any results as to whether or not the job was completed. I was really taken by the effort to bring such a set back to life. Very interesting reading. I am on the lookout for such a set. I WILL find one one of these days. Rich Hi Rich, The 15GP22 rebuild effort moves slowly, stops, gets another push, and waits for more action. It's being done as time permits by guys interested in it as a hobby and not as a business venture, so therefore the jerky progress. Keep watching, we're all interested and excited about the prospect of pulling it off. Pete
A 15GP22 is on ebay. The seller and the tube are unknown to me, so we'll be watching this together. Thanks to Terry Wise for the alert. The tube's a bit hard to find with an ebay search because the seller doesn't identify the 15G in the title. Ebay number 1364877873.
[7-13-2002 update: Last evening the tube went for $1858. The new owner expects to pick up his new 15G personally. (7-30-02 Word is the tube has been picked up and getter flashes are silver.)]
The Folsom-restored CT-100 is listed on Steve McVoy's classified pages, along with other classified notices including parts, services, and vintage black and white sets.
WOW! Who would have expected
as of today, is it the only known survivor? On June 9 Dave Abramson acquired an experimental 16-in. metal funnel RCA tricolor picture tube of the type used in 1950 era experimental compatible color receivers. Dave reports, "This came from a TV shop near Philadelphia. I got a call to go get what was described as a gassy 15GP22 headed for the trash. I almost choked when I saw it." This tube was of the type used in sets like this...
Neck label of metal tricolor CRT built for early compatible color developmental sets.
Congratulations to Steve Dichter who now watches 1953 NTSC color on the eighteenth known operational CT-100. He was aided on the West Coast by Steve Kissinger who helped troubleshoot a very balky horizontal oscillator with long-range assistance from Steve McVoy on the East Coast.
[5-22-2002 update: Pete, thanks for the mention of my CT-100 becoming operational. Steve Kissinger along with Steve McVoy do deserve special mention for their assistance. I believe you and John Folsom also contributed to the effort. Many thanks. I am thrilled that a bright color picture again graces the screen. Steve K. spent many hours on this chassis and traveled some miles to complete this project (we do live about 50 miles apart). I am very grateful. Thanks again for your great site and the support. Steve D.]
John Folsom's restored Merrill did not garner the bid he sought and so was not sold in that market.
There is solid but sketchy information about two more CT-100's that have surfaced and now appear on the Living CT-100 list. Further data about these sets, which were sold in "...an auction of an old TV shop in Minnesota(?) recently," would be welcome. One of the 15GP22s in those sets is operational. Have information? Please email Pete:
[5-22-2002 update: I have received info on one of the sets. Terry Wise in Wisconsin reports that his newly acquired Merrill has a good 15GP22 and has a reasonable, albeit poorly converged, picture in spite of having to jumper three open peaking coils. His first test of the 15GP22, while still on his truck, can be seen with a screen shot added May 23.]
One of the seventeen operational CT-100s on the Living CT-100 list is up for auction on ebay. It's worth following the optional link to pictures of the set in operation. The digital images are excellent representations of an operational Merrill. Ebay number 1099094055.
Saga update: 5-11-02 The auction missed the reserve by 1k (pick-up price) and so CT-100 980/B8000619 is still on the market. Look for it to appear on ebay again for a 3-day auction with the same reserve. (05-13-02 Ebay number 2103411727)
Here's another update to an existing Tidbits I page. A new link at the bottom of that page briefly examines the colorimetry story from a professional point of view... to reach the 05-02-2002 update, click
This month another two Merrills on the Living CT-100 list have been brought back to life. The total number of fully operational CT-100s now stands at seventeen. Also, expect new news in the coming months about the 15GP22 rebuild effort as this long-term process gains momentum. And next, the Steve's Dichter and Kissinger have teamed to repair chassis B8002407, so we hope to add the eighteenth set soon.... And finally, happy boirthday [sic] to my brother Dave, who did so much to help me survive the last nineteen years.
Sometimes existing pages are updated without fanfare. Here are two examples: A close-up of another cabinet serial number has been added to this page.
This 2-page link is prompted by an exciting new paper discovery generously provided by Steve Restelli. A new link at the bottom of the first page updates the story of RCA's never-produced 19-inch version of the 15GP22.
First, birthday greetings to Rob Stephens, one of many generous contributors to this and other vintage television sites, who reports that both he and his Westinghouse H840CK15 entered this world 48-years ago this month! (You win that round, Rob; I was 14 when my CT-100 first saw the light of day... Pete :)
Secondly, you haven't been seeing many updates recently -- there are reasons, here's one:
A developmental tricolor picture tube that preceeded the 15GP22 -- the RCA C-73599 -- is on ebay. The condition is unverified although it currently seems to be under vacuum. Well worth watching... ebay number 1077824958.
Winning bid: $835.
There's an interesting CT-100 item on ebay (1069070120), an ID tag from the original carton housing an early production run Merrill with CTC2 chassis B8000991. [I bid the minimum 5 bucks, but if you really want it, another $0.50 will outbid me.] This is one of two newly discovered CT-100s added to the Living CT-100 list -- the 58th and this one, the 59th listed. Thanks to Steve Dichter for alerting me to this auction. Here's a bit of the history of B8000991 from its current owner in a
A comprehensive new museum for early television technology has opened its doors...
for a short report.
[24January2002 update: Just received word that the Westinghouse H840CK15 has been sold to a collector in Texas.][21January2002 update: The CT-100 is awaiting first refusal with a number of collectors in the queue.][Just received word that the Merrill was not refused and will go to a collector in Indianapolis.]
A number of vintage television sets, both prewar, postwar, and early color are being sold by a collector. An operational CT-100 including a good 15GP22 is one of the early color items for sale. The price of the Merrill has been set at $3750.
On this day 48-years ago, the first-ever network-delivered NTSC color program broadcast to 200 of the now legendary RCA model 5 color television receivers at about 30 locations across the country (only three Model 5 sets are known to have survived; there is one on the West Coast, one in the central US, and this one on the East Coast).
RCA Model 5
Here is a 10-second video clip from a color film record of the 1954 parade. The clip is from the CBS program
"Almanac" segment commemorating the beginning of CT-100 production in RCA's Bloomington, Indiana plant on March 25, 1954. The CBS broadcast from which this clip was recorded was seen on March 25, 2001. The file is quite large for this site -- nearly 3 megabytes -- so it may not be retained for too long a time. FYI: It is a recording of an over-the-air broadcast from WCBS channel 2 in New York.
A 15GP22 that tests good for emission is up for private sale. This tube is on the west coast. If not sold privately, its long-time owner will place it on ebay early next year. Interested collectors can email me for additional information.[
sale imminent 12-24-01. (1-1-2002: We now expect the transaction to be completed by the latter half of January 2002)(The 15GP22 arrived in fine shape 1-25-02 as reported by the new owner in Texas.)
Based upon the Living CT-100 list, a 2-digit cabinet serial number is a rarity. Here's a new picture of one added to a Tidbits I
Much goes on behind the scenes. But rarely do we find a confluence of independent restorations like this to report -- the second successful restoration of a CT-100 in just five days. This restoration moved so quickly (it was first powered just a dozen days ago after years in storage) its story has not yet been added to the Information Exchange page. The current owner, Steve Kissinger, bought his Merrill (whose pictures are still in snail-mail transit to me here in New Jersey) for $30 in 1976. Another 2002 Rose Bowl Parade Party is in the works…
A picture of the newest restored and operational CT-100 is now posted on Gary's information exchange page. The green and blue channels (the color matrix and 12BH7-based RGB video amplifier boards) still display some minor distortion issues, while the red channel developes a clear picrure when driving any one of the 15GP22 guns. Jump directly to
I gotta share this one, even before it plays out.
THE_SET@worldnet.att.net Subject: CT-100 Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2001 14:16:55 -0800 Pete, I am sick. I had no idea that anyone was interested in these old tubes. I make color film analyzers and had the old stock from Hazeltine when they discontinued production. There were six of those old 15 inch CRT's, but since there were no more analyzers in the world using the tubes, we chucked them to make room. Regards, Ric
What's the chance that serendipity will rescue a pallet of 15GP22s from a dusty warehouse somewhere? I've always believed it would. This email shows it can happen and probably will.
(6 Nov 01 update: Just missed these by a couple of years! The six 15GP22's had their vacuum broken, then were sent to a Los Angeles landfill sometime in 1997 in their original RCA cartons. Tidbits II has more of the story. Navigate there using link in entry below. We'll keep looking for a pallet with the next batch of 15G's.)
Let's face it, there are more people who'd like to own a Merrill than there are Merrills to own. Stories on this site that document how and where collectors acquire Merrills are popular. All are unique. Here's one that's also very creative.
In the spirit of returning to normal and getting on with our lives, here's a hitherto unknown Merrill owner who has come forward to fill the fifty-second slot in the Living CT-100 list. John's set remains in storage where it has languished for the last 12 years. To quote him, "It's in the rear of the storage unit and the last thing I would reach if I emptied the place." There are no plans to retrieve the Merrill at this time, but it was fully operational when placed in storage in 1989.
We also recently received word of another Westinghouse H840CK15 -- the type in the collections of Rob Stephens and Steve McVoy, among others -- and hope to bring further word of that also.
09-13 to 28-2001
Further progress on the restoration of VHF television broadcast signals from New York City.
A new entry has been added to the record of sets we know to exist. Although not normally reason enough to warrant a "news & notices" update, this Merrill is only the second one in Europe on our list -- Mike's in the United Kingdom and now Marco's in Italy. He's had the Merrill four years, and his collection also includes three early Zenith NTSC color sets as well as examples from Europe. Marco joins me and the other Merrill owners who need a 15GP22. 323 is the cabinet serial number; more information will be posted as it becomes available.
(09-07-2001 update. All three cabinet serial numbers match, making this a factory-original CT-100 cabinet. Marco's CTC2 chassis serial number falls midway between high and low numbers already on record.)
A CT-100 recently acquired by Steve McVoy has been added to the totes on the information exchange page. The cabinet serial number, 602, comes within just three integers of matching another one on record, number 605. A miss, however, is as good as a mile, so we're still looking for a duplicate serial number to circumstantially confirm the five-sets-of-1000
. The chassis serial number falls within existing limits and so we maintain those boundaries.
The number of known CT-100s is approaching the half-century mark, with 13 of the sets fully operational. A new Tidbits II page rounds-up some early tricolor CRTs that used a flange to conduct the ultor voltage. The page also has a link to a short video; I want to test the suitability of the site as a server of short, descriptive videos. In a pre-post test, WebTV wouldn't launch (play) this standard avi file, although it worked fine on all Windows operating systems. As always, comments are welcome.
Tidbits II has just been launched. Find it back on the Restoration Menu page. Or
A Merrill in fine cosmetic condition has just been discovered. Although the condition of its 15GP22 is not yet known, this set will be restored to full operation. Its absolute condition and serial numbers will be available in about 30 days. This set has been added to the Living CT-100 list.
Our collection of CT-100 chassis and cabinet serial numbers begins to paint a picture of CT-100 production that lies somewhere between the conservative 1000-built camp and what I have called the Folklore 5000 figure. S/Ns continue to be received, but the number will never be more than a tiny fraction of the total assigned back in 1954. Perhaps our insight will be more circumstantial than a statistical certainty.
Update from the new owner of the 'ebay' CT-100, cabinet serial number 772.
Pete. Picked up the set today from Harry. CRT is ok. Has not been recapped. No height or horizontal sync. Has vertical sync. Sound OK.
And speaking of cabinet serial numbers, they will probably not be significant contributors to the quest for production figure assessment. There is however always an interesting tidbit to be had. For some Pete speculation,
For the latest CT-100 stats, check the information exchange page. CT-100 owner Fred Hoffmann has been added to the page. He has a website that chronicles his restoration; read his interesting CT-100 story there. There's a direct link to Fred's site on the information exchange page. To jump there,
Two more hitherto unknown Merrills have been added to the list of survivors.
The first set has been in Texas since new, and its serial number falls within the existing limits. It has an interesting history and will soon be one of the first entries in the new Tidbits II page. The 15GP22 from this set is being checked for vacuum and filament continuity.
The second Merrill was just bought through ebay (June 21 entry, below). Its new owner will contribute the serial numbers (cabinet, chassis) to our data base as soon as the set is picked up from Harry. If you haven't checked, it has a good 15GP22, but partially operational CTC2 chassis. The winning bid of $3310.00 was received 35 seconds before close of auction. Another bid just 12 seconds shy and $51 short of winning suggests that, with more time, the Merrill would have gone for more.
In the past year, many of you have contributed to Tidbits, a catch-all page for "...anything related to vintage color tv." Tidbits has been my fun page, something to fill with speculation, to share email, to announce discovery of a model 5, to share CT-100 stories, to use as a soapbox, to hear from two others who also recall the actual sequential color broadcasts of 1951, and much, much more. It quickly became the largest page on this site with the greatest number of links by far.
Today I made the last update to Tidbits. A new Tidbits, Tidbits II, will follow, and I sincerely wish to thank all of you who read the page and particularly those of you who contributed insight, materials, and enthusiasm to the history, preservation, and hobby of early color television. Click here for
, or its
. -- Pete Deksnis
Here's your chance! Harry Poster has a good 15GP22 nestled inside a partially operational CT-100 on ebay. Sale scheduled for another four days. Auction number is 1158291344.
A second operational CT-100 has been added to our list in as many days; information on today's set includes the chassis serial number. Although we have accumulated fewer than a dozen chassis numbers [the "B" number on the chassis rear -- mine, for example, is B8000173, the lowest thus far
(06-22-2001 update. Four additional numbers have been added to our data base, which has extended both the high and low limits; the lowest chassis number now belongs to an operational CT-100 with chassis serial number B8000162.)
]. None indicates a production quantity of CT-100s that matches the RCA press release figures. At least, not so far. Click on the link in the 06-16-2001 entry below for top-level stats.
Although months have passed since the last set was added, the ebb and flow of discovery nevertheless continues. A double six-pack of CT-100s are now known to be fully operational. This is an amazing figure, because it means that over one-third of all CT-100s known to this site are in working order. Even though there's nothing about our data-gathering process that is statistically scientific, it quite satisfying to know that so many early NTSC color sets are being preserved in an operational state. You can see the stats on the information exchange page
Slow but certain, for the latest on the 15GP22 rebuild quest,
One of the few surviving, operational CT-100 vintage color television sets has been graciously donated to a museum -- where a reflection of the history and excitement of early color television can be enjoyed and experienced by many.
Here are excerpts from e-mail THE_SET recently received from the participants.
Pete, I have decided to donate my CT-100 (cabinet s/n 788) to the Bellingham Antique Radio Museum. It is located in Bellingham Washington and has a very fine website that can be seen at [www.antique-radio.org]. We have become the proud owner of Jim Fries' CT-100 Set. In the event that you are able to get the picture tube rebuilt we would certainly want to have this done. We will be continuing to keep this set in operation here at the Museum. --Jonathan Winter, Bellingham Antique Radio Museum.
Check out "CBS News Sunday Morning" this Sunday, March 25, 2001.
March is the month CT-100 color receivers began rolling off the Bloomington production line. Here's an excerpt from an e-mail THE_SET received at 8 pm Friday, March 23, 2001. We're not the only people who remember vintage color.
"I work for CBS and this Sunday on CBS News Sunday Morning we are going to talk about the first RCA color TV in 1954. The producers are looking for a working model or at least one that is intact to use as a prop on the show."
Steve just received a third Dage studio monitor.
to update an earlier entry (02-21-2001, below) regarding the added chassis.
The latest information on Steve's Zenith "clone" 15GP22 has arrived with a picture. As so often happens, this tube held an unexpected surprise. Read the details on Steve's info exchange page, or jump directly to the story by clicking
Steve McVoy successfully acquired the final Dage 650A -- this one was without a 15GP22 but included an unexpected addition; see it
. There's an update on the first two monitors
The CT-100 mentioned in the 1-22-2001 entry below can be seen
There are twenty-eight 15GP22 duds in the rebuild queue as of today. Bruce is still waiting to learn the cost of buttons; the manufacturer's response is due next week. The 02-05-2001 entry is still valid.
As you no doubt know, we are trying to rebuild the 15GP22. In that effort, we must now develop a list of rebuild candidates. These numbers will determine actual rebuild costs.
To that end, if you or someone you know can benefit from the 15GP22 rebuild process, please let us know through our e-mail link on the (yellow) MAINPAGE. Thanks. --Pete
(1) Those of you who own a CT-100 know that I've been bugging collectors for serial numbers that appear on the back of their SET's lid and cabinet. As is my practice, the master list will not be published, although many individual contributors to this site allow their serial numbers to be known; mine for example is 605.
What I've just learned is that a third cabinet part, a wooden insert found just under the metal flip-down door, also contains an impression of the cabinet serial number. Apparently the cabinets were not entirely mass produced and so required parts to be fitted. At one stage of the manufacturing process, these parts became one unit with a matching number.
So for those of you who haven't yet moved your Merrill to access the rear, the front of your set will also disclose that little bit of color television history.
(2) It's certainly a slow, slow process, the rebuilding of a nearly 50 year old picture tube that hasn't been made for just about that long. Right now, we're awaiting a quote from the button manufacturer. Since the handful of stems we will use is miniscule in comparison to an order they would prefer to receive, we're not their highest priority. Keep tuned... we'll get there.
(1) A third Dage 650A has been located and negotiations for that 1954 15GP22-based studio monitor are underway. Although also without the 15G, if successfully acquired, it will nicely increase the odds of restoration. (2) Since this page languished for two months without news or notice, I'd like to flesh out this entry with some future news. In 1954 the RCA Service Company (six years before I first worked for them) photographed the installation of a 15GP22 in a CT-100. Those photos appear, probably among other places, in the first-edition / first-printing of an RCA Victor Television Service Clinic for principles of color television and technical features of the CT-100. We plan to photograph the installation of a NEW never used, okay: NIB, 15GP22 in an operational Merrill for this website. What's new? It'll be in color, or course, and we plan to document the critical processes shooting Hi8 video, and make snippets available as MPEGs as bandwidth permits. The set involved is already listed in the Living CT-100 list, although not as operational. (3) And speaking of the Living CT-100 list, today three more OPERATIONAL sets have been added bringing the total of known fully operational sets to 10. A number of other Merrills are already partially operational, and a few more are very close to glowing again. And finally, you can see the current condition of Dage 650A on Steve McVoy's site, and there's a link to a fuzzy and depressing shot of the second Dage below as "yoke assembly."
A 15GP22 that was sold recently on ebay (see 11-07-2000 below) we now know came from a vintage closed-circuit color monitor, the Dage Model 650A. There is additional equipment that includes another monitor with a second 15GP22 (sadly, with its neck snapped off at the still-installed
). There is also a remote-camera control unit. All these items were to have been scrapped, but are now safely in the hands of a collector. We do not have information on the whereabouts of 15GP22 s/n IL 6599. [
Received 11-18-00: "The 15GP22 is also in the hands of a collector, who is hoping that someday it can be rebuilt."
FYI -- There is a 15GP22 up for auction  on Ebay; it is scheduled to end November 9, 2000. Experience suggests white getter flash may be visible. I have emailed the seller asking for the serial number since the label appears to be still attached. [
The seller reports the serial number as IL 6599. This would be the machine-printed serial number and not a later number hand-stamped in black ink. --Pete
] [Final bid: $102.50]
Go directly to TIDBITS for this
vintage color television report.
After a summer hiatus, the 15GP22 rebuild process is again under active
9-14-2000 H840CK15 Sale Cancelled
Just received e-mail that the current owner has decided to keep the Westinghouse. Original news clip below...
Occasionally, a vintage color television set that qualifies for inclusion on this site becomes available. A rare 15GP22-based set that preceded the RCA CT-100 to market -- the vintage Westinghouse H840CK15 -- is to be offered on e-bay. If you are a collector who is interested in acquiring this historical milestone and overseeing its preservation, respond through this site to contact the current owner before this set is put up for auction.