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Early Electronic Television

RCA TRK-12/120

(click on picture for high resolution image)

Screen Size 12 inch
Year Made 1939-40
Quantity Manufactured 1779
Original Cost $600
Number Still in Existence See Pre-1945 Database
Cabinet Reinished
Chassis Restored

The TRK-12 was introduced, along with 3 other less expensive sets, at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. The TRK-12 cost $600, more than the cost of a modest car at the time. The picture tube was mounted vertically, with a mirror in the cabinet lid, because it was so long that, if mounted horizontally, the cabinet would have been almost three feet deep. Here is the

The set had four chassis: one for the television circuits, one for the television power supply, one for the radio and one for the radio power supply.

1945 modification RCA Begins Conversion of Television Sets
1946 Article in Radio and Television News RCA Service Company card
Fifth chassis RCA's assembly line
Instruction card Technical information
Magazine advertisements TRK-12 in an airplane
Owner's manual TRK-12s in hospitals during WW2
Popular Mechanics article TRK-12 on the bench
Projection version Unusual set using a TRK-12 cabinet
RCA Dealer Sheet (courtesy of Eric Coon) Valentine Day card

RCA's service manual for this set described how the set should be viewed:

The location of the receiver should take into consideration the viewing by the whole family group plus a party of friends. A minimum viewing distance from the screen to the first row of chairs might be on the average two to four feet...Seating might be arranged as follows: first row 3 chairs; second row 4 chairs; third row 5 chairs

The TRK-12 has a socket on the rear to allow connection of an external phonograph, such as the RCA model R-100.

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