Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Camera Tubes

Prewar Camera Tubes

For an excellent discussion of the difference between the first two television camera tubes, the iconoscope and the image dissector, please see this article by James O'Neal. Here is the pre-1945 camera gallery.

Philips Iconoscope (1930)

Used in Philips 1930 camera

Farnsworth Image Dissector (1931)

RCA Iconoscope (1934)

Philco Iconoscope (1934)

Emitron (1936). Used in Alexandra Palace television transmission

Farnsworth 1936 Image Dissector

Used in Farnsworth 1936 camera

German "Super Iconoscope" (1936)

This camera tube was used to televise the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. It was developed by Dr. Heimann of the Post Office Ministry in Berlin. The cathode had a life of only a few hours. Every night after use, the electron gun (in diagonal tube) was removed and a new one inserted. The tube was then evacuated for use the next day.

Courtesy of Jochen Gittel

Philco 1936 Iconoscope

Used in Philco 1936 camera

RCA 1850 Iconoscope (1938) 


Safar Telepantoscope (1935) 


RCA 1848 Iconoscope (1939). Used in RCA prewar field cameras

Specification Sheet (Courtesy of Troy Walters)

Farnsworth Image Dissector (1940)

RCA 1847 Amateur Iconoscope (1940)

RCA 1846 Iconoscope (1941)

RCA Orthiconoscope (1939)

RCA Orthicon (1943)


The Monoscope on the Reverse Time Page website



Monoscope tube made by American Television Institute students (late 30s - early 40s). Usually there is a pattern of some sort on the target (right). This tube has a slotted disk instead. Here is the schematic diagram of the transmitter and receiver used with this tube.

RCA 1698 "Pattern" Monoscope (1939). This tube has numbers and geometric shapes in it.

DuMont Phasmajector (1938)

RCA 1846 Iconoscope with monosocope pattern (1942)

Experimental RCA Monoscope (ca 1938)

National Union Monotron (1938)

RCA 1699 Monoscope (1939). This tube was custom made with the TV station's test pattern and call sign

. The museum has a pattern generator using this tube.

Here is a lesson from United Television Laboratories about this tube.