Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

 

Postwar American Television

DuMont Duoscopic

Courtesy of Don Patterson

Two TV sets were in the cabinet, with mirrors and polarizing filters to combine the images. By wearing polarized glasses, two people could watch different programs at the same time. This prototype was made in the early 50s but was never sold to the public. Here is a replica made in the 1990s.

 

March, 1954 Popular Science article

Nat Pendleton provided the following additional information:

The Smithsonian Institute has a Duoscopic in its collection. Also, the South Carolina State Museum has a console prototype with two RA-101 chassis (like the Chatham, 12-inch) and screens side-by-side.  This prototype predated the Duoscopic by a year or two.  It had a switch to select volume for either TV.  It shows that Dumont had this "thing" for creating a TV unit that could run two separate programs at once.  This is a few years before Zenith's remote Space Command and the idea of surfing came about; and it is 30 or 40 years ahead of the Picture-in-Picture technology of the 80s.

The whole idea sounds eccentric in that it would have been easier, cheaper and more versatile to have just bought 2 TV sets.  But the set in South Carolina and then the later Duoscopic at the Smithsonian show that Dumont was serious about developing his idea.

When Dumont died, the Smithsonian got many of his antique sets.  Thomas T. Goldsmith gave his collection of TVs and gear in 1988 to the South Carolina State Museum.

Courtesy of Tom Buckley

Randy Riddle speculates that the Duoscopic was originally designed for 3D. His comments can be found here.