Ed Reitan's Color Television History
Early Field Test, Prototype, and Commercial Color Receivers
Many manufacturers developed color receivers for use during field testing of the NTSC color television standards during 1951 through 1953. Commercial versions of these prototype receivers were introduced for sale during 1954. The public ignored purchasing any significant number of these expensive 15-inch receivers or the following 19-inch or 21-inch versions introduced in late 1954 and 1955. By 1959, RCA was the remaining major manufacturer still trying to sell color sets. The following identifies the manufactures and picture size of these models.
Field test ("FT"), experimental or prototype, and early production sets are listed. CRT sizes were 10" and 16" in triniscope sets, 16" experimental metal shadow-mask color CRTs (in FT models), 15" glass (15GP22 and 15HP22 in production models). 19" round, 21 inch round, and 22" rectangular.
I would enjoy sharing information with readers about corrections and additions to this list. If you know of any surviving sets, please let me know.
Over several years I have developed a detailed computer database that documents these early receivers. Information in the data includes picture size, model number, date produced, cabinet style, chassis number, number of tubes, and type of color demodulation. The sell price and availability of schematic, manual and photograph is also noted.
The data base also identifies those models known to survive in the hands of collectors. I will respond to inquiries on the content of this database. However, many collectors who contributed information have requested to remain anonymous. I will relay requests for information on a surviving set to the owner who may respond directly to the inquirer.
V1.02 2006-12-03, Corrected Pacific-Mercury HTML error, Added Muntz 21"Return to home page