Saturday, May 5, 2018

My New Toy!

I call it "my new toy," but since "toy" implies that I'll be playing with it rather than just displaying it in my home, "toy" isn't really accurate. Nor is the term "new" really fitting, because it may be new to me, but the thing's even older than I am. In fact, it dates to the late 1940s, and definitely no later than 1948.

Oh, well, at least the "my" part is appropriate.

So, what is it? It's just the coolest television set I've ever owned.

The above two photos, taken in the seller's flea market booth, are a bit blurry. That's a combination of the crappy camera on my cell phone and my shaky hands. I placed an antique box of gelatin mix on top to give you an idea of the TV's size. The picture screen isn't much bigger than a videotape! (And speaking of the picture screen, if it looks like there's a bunch of junk inside, that's just a reflection of the stuff in the seller's flea market booth!)

This thing is so early, the actual brand name on it is "FADA Radio," although this, obviously, is not a radio!

But what's really cool about it is... well... When was the last time you saw a TV with channel one on its dial? That's right, this set has channels one through thirteen! The FCC took channel one away from TV broadcasters in 1948, but there were so many channels already in existence with higher numbers, it wasn't worth dropping them all down one digit, which is why old televisions usually have channels two to thirteen. However, the ad reproduced above mentions "full 12 channel coverage"  (emphasis mine) meaning my TV pre-dates the ad.

(And why does the preceding paragraph make me think of the "These [amplifiers] go to eleven" routine in the 1984 mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap?)

Admittedly, the set doesn't work -- not that I care -- but I was advised by an expert on antique electronics not to plug in old TVs and radios anyway, because doing so may actually harm the appliance.

Just for ha-has, I did some research on eBay. The one shown below doesn't work either, and its cabinet is in fairly rough shape. Nevertheless, the seller was asking $200 for it. Note that part of the channel selector -- that's the dial in the lower right-hand corner -- is cracked off, too.

The next one shown is in much better shape (cosmetically speaking) than the previous one shown, but only a tad better-looking than mine... and it doesn't actually work, either. The asking price for this one was $599.

Furthermore, in all fairness, I should point out that neither one of these televisions sold for their minimum bid price. So as far as how accurate those asking prices were, who knows?

But needless to say, I think the $100 I paid for mine was well worth it, don't you?

Thanks for your time.


  1. I only think I've ever seen one of those in movies, never in real life. That is neat indeed. Although yeah, not new or a toy haha sure have come a long long way. Even though we may have what? A 1000 channels now? Still probably only 13 good ones though. If that.

    1. I got a really good laugh out of "A 1000 channels now? Still probably only 13 good ones though. If that." Thanks for that!

  2. Hey Silver that is an interesting find. Television sure has evolved since the early days. A dial.. haha what no remote? Seriously, that is a small screen compared to my 52 inch tv. A nice new toy for your viewing pleasure. I think it makes a great conversation piece.

    I hope you are having a nice weekend, the weather is fantastic!

    1. Nope, not too many remotes until the seventies, although they've been around since the fifties.

      Before remotes became widespread, I'm pretty sure that most people who had children did so just to have their kids get up and change the channel.

      By the way, the term "clicker" was inspired by early remotes of the 1950s, which would actually click when you used them. That's why so many people refer to their remotes as "clickers," although most of us have never actually heard a click when accessing any of a remote's functions.

  3. I can't help myself. "New Toy" automatically sets this off in my head!

    1. I'd heard of Lene Lovich, but wasn't really familiar with her work, with the possible exception of her cover version of "I Think We're Alone Now." I do remember a 1970s version of that song, but I can't even recall if it was by her or not.

  4. Yes! Only $100 for that gloriously classic tv?! Glad you made the purchase. And who needs the 12 channels anyway? Nowadays, you can get, approximately 1200 channels.

    Have a great week, Silver Fox.


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