Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

 

Early Color Television

Thomson CSF Field Sequential System

This is from Jerome Halphen:

Interesting color TV documents gleaned recently via interviewing SECAM pioneers in France.

2 Kodachrome slides used as early color test content while SECAM was being developped. Were used in the lab from 1963 onwards.



(Courtesy of M. Casimir Czekhowski whom we interviewed. He started his career in 1957 and worked with Henri de France as a lab technician, then went on with Thomson CSF.)


Henri de France worked with a very small team in his lab, the CFT (Compagnie Française de Télévision) but all manufacturing was done by Thomson.

Thomson was a huge company back then and had several TV divisions, sometimes competing against each other.

Research was done in Malakoff and Gennevilliers, both on Paris outskirts

The names changed/morphed over time such as:
- TTI = Thomson Television Industrielle
- TAV = Thomson Audiovisuel
- Thomson CSF = Compagnie Sans Fil (after a merger)

Thomson CSF was also heavily into military electronics (Radar, Defense, Guidance, etc.) now an entirely distinct spin-off as THALES.

To come back briefly to the slides, the Thomson people called the second slide "La Fille au Chapeau" - Girl with a hat, but once broadcast over the air the general public named her "La Niçoise", the Girl from Nice as her hat is the traditional regional dress for the city of Nice on the Mediterranean coast.

Casimir also worked with De France's last venture: the color grid CRT which was abandoned in late 1967. Grid vibration spoiled color purity. Problem ultimatly solved by Sony with their very sturdy cast grid assembly.

This 1965 article describes the Thomson THV-170 series, a 150 field/sec sequential color TV system developed for medical use.

Interestingly, the system was oriented for use with an Eidophor projection system using a color sync wheel. Bandwith is quoted as 15 MHz!