Vintage Televisions

vintage televisions

Let’s have a closer look at some vintage televisions!

vintage TV sets

If you have one of these old things in your attic, basement, or garage – don’t scrap it! These boxy beauties can be worth some serious cash these days.

vintage TV sets

House Crazy Sarah remembers when she was a child visiting her grandparent’s house and there was a stack of old vintage televisions from the 50’s through the 70’s in the basement. Anyone else have parents or grandparents who kept all their old TVs?

Let’s do a rewind and start with the oldest and earliest televisions to hit the market.

vintage TV sets

Electronic television was first successfully created in San Francisco in 1927. The system, which scanned images with a beam of electrons, was designed by 21-year-old Philo Taylor Farnsworth, an industrious lad who had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14.

Farnsworth wasn’t the only one with a claim to inventing the television, however. Boris Rosing of Russia had conducted some crude experiments in transmitting images 16 years before, and, a mechanical television system had been demonstrated by John Logie Baird in England and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States earlier in the 1920s.

Farnsworth’s invention, however, was the technology that was most effective and it stuck.

Philo Taylor Farnsworth & His Prototype, 1927

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

In the 1930’s, RCA paid for a license to use Farnsworth’s television patents. RCA then began producing and selling television sets with small round picture tubes.

That’s why the TV is sometimes referred to as the “boob tube”.

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

 

Let’s take a trip through the decades since Farnsworth’s genius invention…

1930’s Televisions

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

Like radios of the time, the first commercial television sets were housed in wooden boxes that were styled to look like furnishings.

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

The idea back then was to hide the electronics and instead make the item look sculptural and decorative – something you would be proud to have displayed in your parlor or living room.

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

Weren’t they gorgeous?

vintage televisions

antique televisions

 

1940’s Televisions

1940's vintage television

By the ’40s, television screens had become less boob-tube-y and increasingly more square.

1940's vintage television

Some sets were made smaller and thus were more portable. But others were still styled like large old radios.

1940's vintage television

1940's vintage television

1940's vintage television

 

1950’s Televisions

1950's vintage television

Television design in the 1950’s took a notable turn in response to the Atomic Age.

1950's vintage television

Mid-century design saw long, spindly legs as desirable – a nod to the Sputnik space-age obsessions of the day.

1950's vintage television

The screens also grew in size to dominant most of the front surface area of these TVs.

1950's vintage television

By 1953, RCA devised the first complete electronic color TV system.

vintage televisions

 

1960’s Televisions

1960's vintage television

1960’s televisions did not look much different than the TVs of the 50s, however, you could see the electronic control panels were becoming more sophisticated.

1960's vintage television

1960's vintage television

 

1970’s Televisions

1970's vintage television

In the 1970’s there was a return to the notion that a television should look like a substantial piece of furniture, rather then an electronic device.

1970's vintage television

It made sense: if you were going to have this large thing as the centerpiece of your living room, it may as well have a stately presence.

1970's vintage television

But the late 70s, however, the styles swung around again.

1970's vintage television

TVs suddenly became smaller, and sleeker, and were more about functionality than décor. It was all about the electronics by the 1980s!

1970's vintage television

 

1980’s Televisions

1980's television

We all remember these!

1980's television

So modern and exciting at the time. Look at all the gadgets and channels!

1980's television

And who could forget the bunny ears?

1980's television

 

Oh how far we have come in less than 100 years…

vintage family watching tv

amily watching flat screen TV

It’s truly remarkable how our TV’s have evolved!

 

Sources:

www.https://bebusinessed.com/history/history-of-the-television/

https://stephens.hosting.nyu.edu/History%20of%20Television

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2 thoughts on “Vintage Televisions

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  1. So fun, I remember the ones from the 1970’s and 1980’s quite well. My dad did keep and mend a few of the smaller/late 80’s TV’s and gave them away to folks that wanted them/did not have cable yet–this was the days before you had to have cable ready. The last one was circa 2000, he brought one to the hospital where he was having chemo, so folks could listen to local news (no cable but located in the city, so could get a signal from two nearby TV stations), while they were in the chairs getting treatments, others while waiting after treatment/to make sure no reactions, would stay and play cards for a bit, and have it on in the background.

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