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May 1, 2022 8:06 pm  #1


For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

Mace, one of SOWNY's frequent posters, was in touch with me off the board, asking to see some pics of a vintage TV set I mentioned that I have in a spare room upstairs. I thought maybe others would be interested in seeing it, as well. 

I have no real idea of the year, but I suspect it's around 1953-4 or so, before I was even born. (The model # is 24C12X, which according to some online sources say it may date back as far as 1949. Either way, it's an old set.)

The story behind this thing, made by Admiral, is simple - I think my parents bought it when they moved to the three-bedroom bungalow I would eventually grow up in near Bathurst and Lawrence (1954 house price: about $54,000 for the entire dwelling, sorry Gen Zers and Millennials!) and then when they bought a considerably bigger set a few years later, this one went to my grandparents, who continued to use it for many years. 

They eventually stuck it up in their attic and I rescued it when they finally moved out the house they'd lived in on Parliament St. for 60 years. 

I will say this - it's not colour, it's not stereo, there are no remotes, there's no place to hook up a DVR let alone a VCR, and it's most definitely not HD. But you know what? It still works, even all these years later, although there's no antenna hooked up to it and of course, there are no more analog signals to get even if I did try and turn it on. They sure don't build them like they used to!

The first pic is of the screen, which measures roughly 12", the second of the controls, which consisted of volume, contrast, and horizontal and vertical (remember when those mattered?) The channel indicator has worn away spots on Channels 9 and 11, which gives you an idea of which stations they likely turned to. 

The other shots aren't great, because it was very hard to get behind the set, but it shows some of the electronics connected to the tiny speaker. 

I have no idea what it's worth, if anything, but it also has a nice cabinet. Back in those days, a TV wasn't just a TV - it was considered a piece of furniture. And consequently, it weighs a ton. 

Well, that's it. I think I'll go turn on the furniture and watch a show...

https://i.ibb.co/Rpx88SF/TV-Admiral-1.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/gWPMNtb/TV-Admiral-2.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/x67KRXD/TV-Admiral-4.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/dbPRrc9/TV-Admiral-5.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/Cb3DjgD/TV-Admiral-6.jpg

 

May 1, 2022 11:39 pm  #2


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

if the set still works I think you can hook it up relatively easy to a VCR and even HD TV using a digital to analog converter. Both devices would also need a 75 ohm to 300 ohm adapter.

Re the house price in 1954, to be honest it sounds a bit high. My parents purchased a 4 bedroom house in Guildwood Village ( near the Scarborough Bluffs) in 1968 for 28,000

Last edited by Fitz (May 1, 2022 11:39 pm)


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May 2, 2022 6:46 am  #3


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

Since the TV would only have the two 300 ohm antenna terminals. I think you may also need an RF modulator. I'm pretty certain that I have been successful at hooking up a VCR to an old CTR TV that has a 75 ohm input plug without an RF modulator. Not sure if the same would work for a TV with 300 ohm terminals by using a 75 to 300 ohm adapter.


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May 2, 2022 7:04 am  #4


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

Thanks for the suggestions, but I'm not all that anxious to go to the trouble it would take to get that done. As you can see from one of the pics, there's a 30-year-old layer of dust on what I think is the transformer where the speaker is, and it rarely gets much attention. 

I like to think of it more as a curiosity that has some special memories for me rather than a working set in any way. But it would be interesting for sure to see if it could be done. Maybe one day if I get a minute, although I suspect that day is a long way away!

     Thread Starter
 

May 2, 2022 7:27 am  #5


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

What a beautiful piece of furniture. Screen looks bigger than 10"  The two "worn" channels 9 and 11 would have been CBLT and CHCH. I wonder if there was an outdoor antenna to get WBEN and WGR. As for the house price of 54K, that does seem a bit high. When my parent's bought their house in Oakville in 1956, it was $14,000 for a 1000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom brick bungalow. It was in the middle of nowhere back then. They had been looking at homes in the Kingsway area, but $17,000 was more than they could afford. Oh and RA I still have one of those analog/digital converter boxes.

 

May 2, 2022 1:50 pm  #6


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

RadioActive wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions, but I'm not all that anxious to go to the trouble it would take to get that done. As you can see from one of the pics, there's a 30-year-old layer of dust on what I think is the transformer where the speaker is, and it rarely gets much attention. 

I like to think of it more as a curiosity that has some special memories for me rather than a working set in any way. But it would be interesting for sure to see if it could be done. Maybe one day if I get a minute, although I suspect that day is a long way away!

I'm thinking the RH modulator would only be needed if one was using the three RCA jacks but since the TV is mono I think the 75 to 300 ohm adapter should suffice but I am not 100 % sure since I have not hooked up a VCR or any other devise to a old TV with the two antenna terminals in several decades.

I also have one of those digital to analog converters. Nifty unit, I like it's tuning capabilities and you can record and save on to a USB stick or any external recording devise such as a VCR. 
 


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May 2, 2022 3:41 pm  #7


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

RA, your tv is similar to my family’s first set, an Admiral. It was placed at the back of the dining room wall, and my brothers and I were warned to sit as far away as possible - at least 15 feet - for fear that the radiation emitted from the screen would damage our eyes, possibly blind us for life. It wasn’t an uncommon concern at the time, with this new mysterious entertainment device. To mitigate the danger of being struck sightless for life at age 4, my parents bought a small “tv lamp” to place on top of the set to soften the danger rays. These lights were actually quite popular at the time, kind of an art deco design. I still have that lamp on my desk.

My mother’s best friend was a well known pianist who appeared occasionally on what is now the CBC. I could never understand how this musician friend of hers was able to “get into the tv.” The only answer I received was “It’s a very complicated, almost magical process, similar to trick photography, only with motion.”

A link to the fear of danger beams from tv’s:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/09/when-televisions-were-radioactive/570916/

 

May 2, 2022 4:04 pm  #8


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

What a great article! It's amazing the stuff we believed back then. But lest you think it was only the 50s, when I moved into my house in the early 1990s and put up a 10' C-Band satellite dish in my backyard, my neighbours were understandably curious. One of them who lived directly across the fence seriously wanted to know if he was in danger of getting radiation from that huge circular piece of steel. 

He really believed it put out some dangerous emissions and he wanted to be sure he was safe. I reassured him (or at least I hope I did) that he had nothing to worry about and that it didn't work that way. But for the first few weeks, I got the feeling they didn't entirely believe me.

I had never heard of TV Lamps before, but it's an interesting piece of the past. Apparently, they were quite common in the early days of the boob tube. 

TV Lamp Collectibles

As for "how they got into the TV," I'm ashamed to admit that when I was around 6 years old and CHUM started playing the latest Beatles song, I honestly thought that there must be a HUGE crowd at the station because this popular band was playing there. It wasn't until an announcer one day mentioned it was their latest "record" that I finally clued in! 

Amazing what you think as a kid!

     Thread Starter
 

May 3, 2022 2:23 pm  #9


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

Anyone remember this gimmick? It was supposed to be a miracle, turning a black and white TV into a glorious colour set!

Or not.

But I love the disclaimer. "Do not confuse the color effects of color-V filter screen with genuine color television." 

Yeah, thanks for that. But it was only $2.98. What a bargain!

Does anyone remember these things, and better yet, did anyone ever buy one? What did it do to your TV screen? 

https://i.ibb.co/ZGyZGW4/Colour-TV-Screen-Ad-Oct-1964.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

May 3, 2022 2:53 pm  #10


Re: For Mace: A Look At A Vintage 1950s Admiral 12" TV Set

This Happy Days episode showed one of these,  (poor sound).



 

Last edited by Media Observer (May 3, 2022 2:55 pm)