Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Broadcast Equipment

Canadian Iconoscope Camera

We were contacted by an employee of CFRN in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada about an old television camera he found in the basement of the station. At first it appeared to be a World War Two military camera, because of markings on two of the knobs: "True Air Speed" and "Height x100". There was speculation that it might have been part of a training system for bombsights.

Further examination revealed that the knobs didn't do anything that would be related to their markings. We are now convinced that the camera was made by station engineers in the late 1940s to experiment with television, using surplus World War Two parts. It uses the RCA 5527 Iconoscope, introduced in 1947 (thanks to Richard Diehl for this information). It most likely had a tripod at some point.

It is possible that CFRN obtained a construction permit and built a transmitter. In any case, this is one of the earliest examples of electronic television in Canada.

Here is a similar camera, built by a station in Indianapolis, Indiana, about the same time.

Here are pictures:

The camera, showing the focus knob

The camera tube is too small to be an image orthicon and the wrong shape to be a conventional iconoscope. The 5527 Iconoscope is long and tubular.

The tubes indicate an early 40s design

Detail of the focus knob. with "True Air Speed KM" on the inner ring. The knob moves the position of the iconoscope.

The lens, and a knob that says "Height x100". Turning it opens the door to the lens area.

The viewing hood

Underside of the hood. The text says "AMREFN-10 AB/155". There is also a Maple Leaf on the hood.

Here is another piece of equipment found in the basement of the station. It is a slide projector, probably used with the above camera: