Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Color Television

Chromatron Color CRT

In 1951 Dr. Ernest O. Lawrence of the University of California proposed a single gun color CRT using vertical stripes of red, blue and green on the screen. Behind these stripes were vertical wires which could be charged with electrical energy to deflect the electron beam to each of the stripes, thereby creating a color picture. Chromatic Television Laboratories built prototype tubes in 1952 and 1953. However, very high power RF (around 50 watts) had to be applied to the deflecting wires, and radiation from the tube interefered with the operation of the TV receiver.

In 1953 the tube was used in receivers to view the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Here is a brochure on this tube from Thomas Electronics and a data sheets from Litton Industries on the 10 and 12 inch versions.

In the early 60s Paramount attempted to perfect the tube, with little success. See this article in Radio-TV Experimenter (Courtesy of Wayne Bretl).

Sony started working on Chromatron sets in 1965. Here is a summary of their work.

Chromatron Data Sheet - 1953

Popular Mechanics, January 1952

Dr. Lawrence with an early version of the Chromatron

Tele-Tech, February 1954