Television History - The First 75 Years
Home Pre-1935 1935-1941 World War-II 1946-1949 1950-1959 1960-2000 What's New Links FAQ Collections Index




1935-1941 Advertising

This area shows the advertising for pre-war electronic sets.  In America, there was no public advertising for the sale of sets until 1939.  Most often this material was in the trade magazines of the day.  In early 1939, with the hopes of a national American launch of television, print ads appeared in the New York Times, and upscale magazines like Fortune and Esquire.

Click here to see examples of early British Advertising

Click here to see examples of Italian Advertising


1939 RCA Brochure -USA-  (144K bytes) (144K)    1939 RCA Brochure -USA- (180K bytes) (180K)
RCA Dealer Brochure - Models TT-5, TRK-5, TRK-9, TRK-12

1939 Dec Fortune GE Advert.JPG (92731 bytes) (93K) 
1939 GE Advertising (shows Model HM-226) - "LOOK POP, IT'S A HOMER!"  - December '39 Fortune Magazine 


Also see the 1939 GE Sales Brochure (144K).


1939 TRK-12 Fortune Advert.JPG (60898 bytes) (60K)

1939 Body by Fisher
advert clearly shows the 1939 RCA TRK-12 television in operation.  Interesting to note the the by-line is Telecasting Tomorrow -- Today.  Commercial advertising had not yet been approved by the FCC, so this shows what automotive advertising would look like in the near future!  These Fortune ads are quite large, measuring 11" x 14", and do not fit on the average size scanner bed.

June of 1939 -- Esquire "The Magazine for Men"  (Very upscale American magazine which advertises the latest in gadgets, fashion, automobiles, clothing, jewelry, travel, etc.)  Announces the arrival of "Television" to the USA.  Includes a full page advertisement from RCA, for the TRK-12 television set.  A partial scan of a Chrysler auto ad is also shown below --- for a price comparison.  Buying a deluxe large screen (12") 1939 TV was the same price as a new car!  (About $1000).  Small screen (5") TV kits (you build yourself) could be purchased from about $80 (no cabinet, tubes cost $55 extra).  Factory made 5-inch sets were $190 or more (with finished wooden cabinet).

1939 June - ESQUIRE Men's Magazine (285K bytes) (285KB)    1939 - June Esquire Magazine - RCA TRK12 Advert (221K bytes) (221KB)    1939 CHRYSLER Ad - Esquire Magazine (112K bytes) (112KB)

1939 Phillip Morris w-TRK12 Ad.JPG (106577 bytes) (106K)
1939 Phillip Morris cigarette advertising which shows an RCA TRK-12 television at the top of the page.  (Courtesy Steve Dichter)

Here are three newspaper ads, released at the time TV was introduced at the 1939 New York World's Fair:

1939 April NY Sun ANDREA Ad.jpg (79370 bytes) (79K)
1939 Andrea Ad - New York Sun Newspaper --   

1939 Andrea KTE5 Television Kit  (62K bytes) (62K) - 1939 KT-E-5 Andrea Kit Assembled - One of seven known (Steve McVoy collection)

1939_Andrea_Assembly_Manual.JPG (58355 bytes) (58K)
Click here to see the assembly manual for the Andrea television set.

1939 March 30 NY Times ANDREA Ad.jpg (263246 bytes) (263K) - Large file
March 1939 Andrea - New York Times - Bloomingdale's

1939 Popular-Science Camel Ad w-TV  (148K bytes) (148K) 1939 Pop-Science TV Close-up  (172K bytes) (172K bytes)
May 1939 - Popular Science Camel cigarette ad with a pre-war TV set!

1939 Allied Radio Ad w/TV Kits  (252K bytes) (252K bytes) - May 1939 Allied Radio ad - includes TV kits

1939 April - DuMont Ad - NY Times (100K) (100K)   1939 April NY Times DUMONT Ad.jpg (376251 bytes) (376K) - Full ad, High resolution!
1939 Du Mont Ad - New York Times - Bloomingdale's

1939 DuMont Model 183 TV - (37K bytes)


1939 Du Mont -- Model 183 -- 14" Television -- 38-1/4" High x 21" Wide x 25-3/4" Deep -- Five known to exist - (Steve McVoy collection)  -- (37K)





1939 Westinghouse Brochure  (52K bytes) (52K)

See close-up scans of this brochure


A few examples of hobbyist magazine articles and advertising in February 1939:

1939 Feb Radio-TV ANDREA AD.JPG (148810 bytes) (149K)
Feb 1939 Radio & Television Magazine - Earliest advert for Andrea Kit

1939 GE TV w-WRG Baker.JPG (82740 bytes) (83K)    (12K)
Feb 1939 Radio & Television Magazine - Dr. W.R.G. Baker sitting in front of the 1938 prototype GE model GM-295.

1939 Baird w-16inch CRT at Midland TV.JPG (112193 bytes) (112K)
Feb 1939 Radio & Television Magazine - Baird 16" CRT TV at Midland School, KC -  Looks like a 30" tube being stuffed in a 16" cabinet!


Sears and Roebuck Pre-war Television

Little known to the general public was that fact that good 'ole Sears and Roebuck, in a bold marketing move, obtained several dozen 1939 RCA television sets (a few of each model), had the cabinets slightly modified, removed the RCA markings and placed a tiny "Silvertone" label on these sets.  They were offered for sale in 1940 to ?, based on scant information from various collectors.

Sears' company historians have no records or documentation.  Only two sets (a TT-5 and TRK-12 variant) have been positively verified to exist today --> refer to Steve McVoy's pre-war database 

This September 1939 leaflet titled: What About Television? mentions that Sears "WILL HAVE" television sets available.  

SEARS Radio Ad

1939 Sears Silvertone Leaflet.JPG (207490 bytes) (207K)    1939 Sears Silvertone Leaflet P2.JPG (170998 bytes) (171K)     1939 Sears Silvertone Leaflet P3.JPG (202112 bytes) (202K)

    1939 Sears Silvertone Leaflet P4.JPG (204456 bytes) (204K)    1939 Sears Silvertone Leaflet P5.JPG (57015 bytes) (57K) 

1939 Du Mont  -- Dealer Sales Brochure

1939-DuMont-Catalog.jpg (30969 bytes) (30K)    Click here to see inside this brochure!

Here is the front cover of an original 1939 Du Mont dealer sales brochure.  Always wanting to be little different and unusual, Du Mont laid the graphics out at a 45 degree angle, so you had to twist the brochure sideways to read it!  The interior pages were in standard format. 

1940  Majestic  (Click to see more)

1940 Majestic Catalog.JPG (35297 bytes) (35K)

1941 Advertising - None found to date.


= External website