Oldest working telly
I wonder if he went for the extended warranty option?
One of Britain's oldest tellies - set to go under the hammer later this month - is 75 years old and surprisingly still in working order. When the Marconi Type 702 was made, in 1936, the BBC had only been broadcasting television shows for three weeks, offering just two hours of programming a day on one channel. Marconi type- …
According to the description on the Bonhams website, it comes with a Freeview box. And no, I'm not joking. In addition, it was serviced in 1946 by a bloke called Gerry (formerly Jerry) Wells described by Bonhams as being famous. A quick Google and it turns out he is something of a vintage radio and telly legend, with a museum consisting of over 1500 devices in his house that can be visited by appointment (curated by the octogenarian Mr Wells himself).
Never mind the digital switchover, 405-line broadcasts stopped in 1985.
But not to worry! It comes with a 625-405 line converter and a Freeview box thrown in, so it really is a genuinely working, usable TV set. This setup appeals to me just for it's sheer bloody-mindedness. "I'm damn well going to keep using this TV if it kills me, I paid enough for it and couldn't even use it for a decade back then."
Reminds me of the caution printed in the original Sinclair Spectrum user manual: if your television could not receive BBC 2 you would need a converter box to connect the computer to it.
That's really impressive. I wish consumer electronics had as much class these days.
mahogany looks so much cooler than cheap plastic with metalised pieces.
"in 1936, the BBC had only been broadcasting television shows for three weeks"
And even then, 20% of it was reruns of 2 pints of lager...
"Unfortunately for Davis, Crystal Palace burned down 3 days after he bought it, meaning he couldn't receive signal until after the war"
And the lucky buyer will be similarly shafted (though likely for considerably longer) when they finally turn off analogue in the next year or so.
Flames ... for Crystal Palace, of course.
> the lucky buyer will be similarly shafted (though likely for considerably
> longer) when they finally turn off analogue in the next year or so.
Actually the lucky owner has been shafted since 1985, when 405-line transmission was turned off.
(Which was surprisingly late; certainly much more relaxed than the current changeover.)
I guess the vintage TV people have some sort of converted gadget.
The beginnig of an endless road to re-runs, crap advertising and mindless pap for the masses to vegetate in front of!
If I had the choice I would sell the thing and tell the Beeb where to stick their 175 sovs a year, sadly I'm outvoted by 2 kids and a wife who loves CSI!
From the Bonhams pages,
"Operational apparatus including:
A Domino 625/405-line standards convertor;
A Home-made modulator with leads, contained within metal OXO tin chassis;
A modern Freeview set-top box;
And a small quantity of valves and some components, mostly boxed, but limited use for this set."
Whoops. BBC TV didn't transmit from Crystal Palace in the 1930s. From the start of BBC TV in November 1936 until closedown, a couple of days from the outbreak of WW2 in Sept 1939, and then again from 1947 until the 1950s, the service was transmitted from Alexandra Palace in north London.
It was only in the 1950s that a new transmitter was built, on the site of the old Crystal Palace in south London, and services were moved there.
The Ally Pally mast is still there. It was used in a Doctor Who programme, the Idiot's Lantern, in 2006. The BBC used the space at Ally Pally for its studios from 1936 until the 1970s (when they were used for Open University programmes).
Alexandra Palace began transmitting at the beginning of November 1936, using most of the equipment from Crystal Palace. So by the time Crystal Palace burnt down at the end of November 1936, it wasn't transmitting TV anyway.
So he would have been perfectly able to watch TV on his Marconi.
>> How do we know it works if nobody is broadcasting on 240 or 205 lines anymore?
Well, they have things called signal generators - that's what pretty well all TV repairers now use for adjusting TVs and why the test card transmission isn't needed anymore. I'm sure there will be plenty of 405 line signal generators around, and it wouldn't take much to make a 240 line one - modern computers are now fast enough to do this in software !
>> And the lucky buyer will be similarly shafted (though likely for considerably longer) when they finally turn off analogue in the next year or so.
Doesn't matter, AFAIK, there have been no VHF/405 line TV transmissions in this country for a very long time - as the article states, UHF/625 line was introduced back in the 60's (I still recall the excitement when we got our first colour telly). So this set will not have had any transmissions to display for many years.
If you were masochistic enough, it would be possible to make a Freeview-405 line converter. Once again, modern computers are fast enough to do it in software.
Marconi and HMV (His Masters Voice) were both brand names of EMI. At that time they had a large consumer electronics business. They also conducted large scale R&D, with the worlds first complete television system, stereo sound recording, radar, computers and the CAT scanner. All of which has long gone. As with much of our "industry", EMI is a shadow of its former self.
Yeah, they had a habit of taking about an hour to warm up to the point that the picture was stable and locked, rolling/tearing was commonplace.
Some of the very early TVs needed them changed every few weeks because the hot/cold cycles would eventually cause heater-cathode shorts and other "Fun Stuff" ...
I was saying to someone a while back that the vertical tubes were prone to debris falling into the grids over time, this is still a major problem on the old style games machines with a large CRT positioned facing upwards.
AC, because this would probably fail fire safety, PAT, EMC *AND* RoHS at the same time :-)
The information is somewhat garbled. Fellow enthusiasts and I have been discussing the telly for a while:
The television was sold some 3 weeks after the start of the BBC television service. Initially this was broadcast using the Marconi-EMI 405 line system (interlaced) and the Baird 240 line system (non-interlaced). The systems operated on alternate weeks. Televisions sold at this time had to support both systems, and they had a 405/240 line selector switch.
The Baird 240 line system was dropped at the start of 1937. First generation televisions sold after this date do not contain the extra valve and switch needed for 240 lines and have blanking plates fitted instead.
The problem is, many sets were returned to the factory for servicing, and any sets with the switch and 240 line circuitry had it removed. So now we have sets which never had the switch, and ones which had it removed. It is hard to tell exactly, as they both have blanking plates fitted.
Because this set was sold before 1937 we can say it definately will have had the circuitry and the switch. However, like all sets it had it removed and a blanking plate fitted. The switch is not original (it is completely wrong) and it is not connected to anything.
Having said that, it is still an interesting set. Some extra notes:
1) The television service was broadcast from Alexandra Palace, not Crystal Palace. It closed down for the duration of WWII, but reopened in 1946.
2) These tellies use the Marconi-EMI 405 line system, that was finally turned off in 1985 (although 625 lines had been in use since 1964, and PAL Colour since 1967).
3) Using a standards converter converting from 625 to 405, you can connect up pretty much anything you want to it. I've even demonstrated playing a PS3 on mine.
I would guess zero too. But the question is hardly fair.
I would ask - How many of the latest TVs are designed to last more than 10 years, how many cost over £10,000, (article says the old TV cost half average annual wages) and how many will have owners prepared to pay to replace approx 1/3 of the parts over the life of the TV.
Thanks to the cheap cheap prices stuff costs, most people will bin and replace the entire TV.
"Things often do keep working for a long time, as long as you replace the components when they break."
Only if you can get replacements, which nowadays is the exception, rather than the rule.
Big Brother, who had a vested interest in keeping television sets working. : - )
*The Waitresses, 1982
Maybe i didn't really undestand what you want to point out, but..
Given that MPEG transport streams contain presentation timestamps on all content frames it is hard to believe that all of them would be unable to present stuff at the time specified in the stream, that is, not be proper MPEG decoders. And the clock has some quite high frequency (90MHZ IIRC) so it seems unprobable to be a source of inaccuracy or visible/audible jitter.
Of course if the program is already broadcast with desync, the TV doesn't magically know how to fix that :)
I recently re-watched the utterly charming Secret Life of Machines, and the episode on Television Sets has a section with Gerry Wells and one of the devices in question. Dunno how internationally accessible this direct video link is:
so perhaps Hunkin's series page at http://www.TimHunkin.com/41_slom1.htm is better. 40-50% of the way through the TV episode, though I can't imagine not wanting to watch the whole thing.
As fine as geek art gets.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019