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Early Color Television

 Color Projection Set - 1955

(click on picture for high resolution image)

This set was built in 1955 by William K. Brookshier. It is similar to the set described in a 1955 Radio Electronics magazine article. It uses parts from a 1948 Admiral black and white TV set for the receiver portion, and three Norelco Protelgram projection assemblies, each with a lucite color filter in front of it.

Mr. Brookshier made an elaborate notebook that described the construction of the set, and detailed modifications made up until the late 70s. The construction is very professional. The set was donated to the museum by Gwyn Jirka of Crystal Lake, Illinois.

We received an email from Jack Albert with details of the set's history:

The color projection TV shown on your web site was actually built by a gentleman who lived in Downers Grove Illinois. William K. Brookshier, an electronics engineer, worked at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Illinois. He built the television in the mid 1950s and claims he knew nothing about the 1955 Radio Electronics article.

He designed and built the chassis and acquired the Lucite filters which, at the time, were very expensive. Mr. Brookshier used the television for his own enjoyment until the late 70's and then gave it to his friend and co-worker Gary Hicks, who lived in Shorewood, Illinois. He watched it in his basement media room for several years and retired the set some time in the mid 1980s. By then the picture was too dim to watch.

In 1995 Gary offered the set to me but, because of a lack of storage space, I turned it down. At the time I was working at Tellabs Inc. in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where Mr. Jirka over heard a conversion I had with a co-worker and was interested in acquiring the set. He apparently held on to it and then donated it to your organization. I'm currently employed at Argonne National Laboratory.

I talked to Mr Brookshier and he promised to send me pictures and the real history of the set. When it's available, I will forward the information to you.

When Mr Brookshier described the construction of the projection screen, he said that he used 3/4" strips of aluminum and tediously glued them in place. He also said that the corner posts were made of maple and the cabinet was hand made. He used it with external speakers but he didn't remember that the lower front panel had a large hole in it.

Later, we received this letter from Mr. Brookshier. Here are pictures that came with the letter:

With the top off, the three projection assemblies are visible at the bottom of this picture. At the top right is the deflection chassis, and at the top left is the high voltage power supply for the projection tubes.

Here is a picture with the cabinet covers removed. At the bottom left is the low voltage power supply chassis. At the bottom right is the RF chassis.

This is the screen. It was designed to be mounted from the ceiling of the viewing room, and is about 48 inches wide.