Television History - The First 75 Years
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1946-1949 Timeline

This section provides a chronological timeline of television-related events.


 

1946

  •   CBS gave the FCC a demonstration of their mechanical color system.  Viewers were impressed.
  •   J. Logie Baird, Scottish television pioneer, dies.
  •   Post war production of American TV sets begins


    1945 August Viewtone Photo -USA- (64K bytes)1946 7" Viewtone - Truly the first post war American television (utilizing a pre-war design), marketed as a 1946 model, but sold in very small quantities starting in August 1945.  The selling price was $100, quite an affordable set at the time.  The president of Viewtone, Mr. Irving Kane, wanted to tap into the post war television market as quickly as possible, and also wanted to offer a set that people could afford.  The photograph at the left was taken in August 1945.  Eventually four different models were sold, all using Du Mont picture tubes.  The company went out of business in August 1947.  There are no known examples of the set shown in the photograph.

 

1946 RCA 621TS  (28K bytes)1946 7" RCA 621TS - RCA  announced both the 621TS (and the 630TS below) to the American public on October 7th 1946.  RCA then had a five city (newspaper) advertising campaign for both sets, with sales beginning in November 1946.

The cabinet of the 621TS (offered in mahogany, walnut and blonde wood) was designed in the pre-war period by John Vassos, however the chassis was a post-war design.  Initial price was $226.40.  The 621 was on the market very briefly and was quickly outsold by the 630TS with a 10" screen (see below).   Production was 17,000 units - not many have survived until today - the set is popular among collectors.
 

1946 RCA 630TS (32K bytes)1946 10" RCA Model 630TS - Initial selling price was $352.00.  It weighed 95 lbs., and was on the market from 1946 until 1949.  Many other manufacturers bought the 630 chassis, and had their own cabinets made.  Even in 1950, the set was offered in kit form and a hobbyist could build a do-it-yourself TV set.  Approximately 43,000 were sold the first year and hundreds-of-thousands continued to be sold in later years.    Collectors call this the Model-T of television, and it is the first set completely designed and marketed post war.
 

1947

  •   RCA flooded the market with black & white sets to slow the potential launch of CBS color.  An adapter (about $100) would have to be installed to all non-CBS color sets.  The FCC ruled CBS color is 'premature'.
     

1948

  •   Pye Television, a UK firm, set up a demonstration at the Australian "Royal Easter Show", held in Sydney, six years ahead of the first public broadcasts.  Read the full story below:

1948 Sydney Royal Show - 1st TV demo (144K bytes) (144K)

1949

  •   Facing the challenge head-on, Sarnoff ordered stepped-up development of an all-electronic RCA color system.  Perfected system is ready by December 1950.
     
  •   Farnsworth Radio and Television is sold to ITT.  Philo Farnsworth, at age 43, suffering from alcoholism, was no longer a part of the television industry.