Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5


Early Color Television

TK-41 Color Camera Equipment

Support equipment

A truckload of TK-41 cameres and support equipment arrived at the museum, a donation from Mike Mehlos of Watertown, WI. There are three TK-41 cameras and most of the support equipment and cables needed for a complete chain. There is documentation, including staion schedules, equipment maintenance report, and even scripts for local commercials from WTMJ in Milwaukee. WTMJ was the third TV station in the country to have local color production capability, in July of 1954.

Thanks to Bob Dobush and Bob Galanter for all their help in getting the equipment to the museum.

Camera 1

Camera 2

Camera 3

Bob Dobush drove a truck to Mike's barn from Columbus, and Bob Galanter drove over from Milwaukee to help load. Here are pictures that Mike sent of the equipment in his barn. Based on these, we were sure that the support equipment would be damaged beyond repair. However, most of it is in good shape, just very dirty:

Here are pictures of the guys loading the truck. Bob Dobush said that some of the stuff was upstairs in the barn, and he was afraid that it would collapse while he was there:

Mike sent me this information on the history of the cameras:

Ever since I was like 6 or 7 I had a strong interest in electronics.

Lemme think . . . My first memories of the equipment was back in high school, somewhere around 1968 or 69. My good friend, Bob Shult was the electronics teacher at the school I went to (Oconomowoc High School), which was where we became friends. I had never taken his class, but I learned electronics kind of on my own by experimenting, and for summer jobs, I had my own sort of TV repair business. Later, Bob set up a small black and white TV recording studio at school, for instructional purposes, and also to record instructional material. One day, I was called from class, to go see him there. When I got there, he had one of the videotape recorders apart, because something had gone wrong. At the time, I had really no experience with TV broadcast or recording equipment, mostly just vacuum tube type TVs, radios, and radio transmitters. I had a little solid-state experience, and I guess he thought I'd find it interesting, which I very much did.

Fast forward a little bit, I had changed one of my class times to work in the IMC studio for an hour a day, and learned a lot. I don't know exactly when or how he got the equipment, but one day Bob took me down in the tunnel (That's what they called the school's basement), and he had all the stuff stored there, and talked about how he wanted to some day get it set up and working.

Fast forward a bit more, and Bob has gotten a place to get the equipment moved to and set up. I was in my mid-to-late twenties then I think. The place was once an auto service station, and with a little clean up and remodeling, we were able to use it as a studio. Through a lot of effort on our part, we got the stuff up and running. That was fun. We used it in much the same way; we recorded material for schools, or individuals . . . whatever was needed. There were a number of people involved, and those were fun times. 

Later, the building was sold, and he had the stuff in storage. When my family moved to Watertown, we had this barn, and Bob wanted to temporarily put the stuff there, as he didn't want to keep paying storage. His intention was to set it up again at another place. Bob passed in 1995, and I sort of inherited it. While I enjoyed working with it, and on it, I really didn't have the drive to set it all up without Bob, so the stuff just sat there. That's why I want it to go to someone who'll appreciate it.

Bob had told me that some of it  came from WGN in Chicago. Possibly some from WTMJ in Milwaukee too? I'm not sure.

Becky Shult (widow of Bob Shult), had these comments:

My husband, Bob Shult, were he still alive, would be so happy to know that all this "stuff" was going to a place where there is so much interest in it, and to people who really appreciate it.  I had not seen the cameras, etc. since my husband passed away in 1995.  I do know that one of the cameras came from WTMJ Channel 4 in Milwaukee, and the other two came from WGN in Chicago.

My husband had a small TV studio in Ashippun, Wisconsin called CDP (Creative Design & Production), where he had hoped to make videos in the genre of Walt Disney's Fantasia.  I have some old audio tapes of some of the music that he planned to use.  He developed his interest in TV when a student at UW-Madison, where he worked part time as a video operator for the PBS channel 21 WHA in Madison.  For about six years after he finished college, he taught electronics at Oconomowoc, WI high school, and he and his students built a TV remote bus and went out and recorded opportunities for jobs in different industries for students that didn't necessarily want to go to a 4 year college, but maybe to a 2 year technical school instead.  The videos concentrated on that sort of job.

Unfortunately, the very small town of Ashippun was not the prime location to start this type of a business, and he never got very far other than to build a sync generator and to sell it to a school district in a small town just south of the Illinois border near Union, Illinois (I wish I could recall which school system but unfortunately that was about 30 years ago).  He also bought an IH truck and built and installed remote broadcast equipment for the country of Malaysia, which got shipped over to Maylasia some time in the late 70's or early 80's, again my memory fails as to exact year.  He also built and installed a "communication" system for the room in which the prime minister of Malaysia and his close personnel held their meetings.  He went over there and installed it and spent about three weeks in Malaysia.  Unfortunately the government of Malaysia never paid him for the remote truck, and to get an attorney to follow up would have cost him a $5,000 retainer, which he did not have so he lost thousands of dollars on that venture.  Eventually, after many years of financial losses, he called it quits on the business, and Mike Mehlos agreed to store the cameras and all the equipment for him.  Unfortunately, my husband passed away in 1995, so the cameras and accompanying equipment were stored in Mike's barn.