Let’s have a closer look at some vintage televisions!
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.
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.
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
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”.
Let’s take a trip through the decades since Farnsworth’s genius invention…
Like radios of the time, the first commercial television sets were housed in wooden boxes that were styled to look like furnishings.
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.
Weren’t they gorgeous?
By the ’40s, television screens had become less boob-tube-y and increasingly more square.
Some sets were made smaller and thus were more portable. But others were still styled like large old radios.
Television design in the 1950’s took a notable turn in response to the Atomic Age.
Mid-century design saw long, spindly legs as desirable – a nod to the Sputnik space-age obsessions of the day.
The screens also grew in size to dominant most of the front surface area of these TVs.
By 1953, RCA devised the first complete electronic color TV system.
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.
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.
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.
But the late 70s, however, the styles swung around again.
TVs suddenly became smaller, and sleeker, and were more about functionality than décor. It was all about the electronics by the 1980s!
We all remember these!
So modern and exciting at the time. Look at all the gadgets and channels!
And who could forget the bunny ears?
Oh how far we have come in less than 100 years…
It’s truly remarkable how our TV’s have evolved!
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.
Thanks for sharing those memories Dena 🙂