Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Television Early Television
Early Television Early Television
Mechanical Television

RCA Scanning Disk Set

Early Television

Early Television

(click on pictures for high resolution images)

Technical information

This set was made by RCA in 1929-30, using the cabinet from a common phonograph of the time, the RE-45. It was used by RCA in their early TV tests, and was never sold to the public. Five of these sets survive.

Recently, we acquired a schematic diagram of the television camera and receivers sold by RCA to CBS Columbia in 1930. The receiver schematic is identical to that of this RCA set, so it is likely that RCA sold these sets to CBS for their inaugural TV broadcast of their New York station W2XAB

The set uses a 60 line disk and has a shortwave receiver which picked up TV broadcasts in the 2 - 3 mHz range.

This picture appeared in a 1945 magazine article about RCA's early television development. The camera shown next to the receiver is identical to the drawing in the CBS schematic mentioned above.

In 1931 RCA created its first test pattern, used to determine how much detail could be seen in a 60 line picture.

We have constructed a mechanical flying spot scanner camera to use with this set.

Early Television

The cabinet before restoration. Notice that it is missing its doors and legs. The hole near the top is where a lens was located to view the picture. The three holes near the bottom are for the receiver controls.

Early Television

This is a photo taken around 1930 of a picture from a 60 line mechanical set


Early Television\

This is an animation made from the 60 line video signal fed from the PC to the scanning  disk set. 

Early Television

Early Television

These are photos taken of the lens of the RCA 60 line scanning disk set recently. The video was originally made in 525 line format, then converted to 60 lines.