The basic technology for electronic television (as opposed to earlier mechanical efforts) was invented by Philo Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworykin around 1930, and the first sets became commercially available in the late 30's. Collectors draw a sharp distinction between these vintage pre-war and post-war television sets, as very few of the former were manufactured and only a few hundred still survive.

1946 through 1955 was the first big growth period for television sets. In 1947 there were only about 100,000 TV sets in the U.S. (many of them in bars and clubs) but by 1953 there were 13 million. CBS started broadcasting in color in 1951, and all-electronic color sets were first introduced in 1954. By far the largest television set manufacturer in those early days was RCA, but other vintage television brands include General Electric, Dumont, Andrea, and Zenith. RCA also made sets for Westinghouse and for Sears.

Most collectors collect black and white sets from 1939 to 1949 and color sets through 1960. For black and white sets made after 1949, the values drop off dramatically, with some exceptions. There were a lot more TVs produced after the mid 1950s, so there are many still around (and they started to become less visually interesting, with metal cabinets). There are also people who collect early transistor sets from the 1960s and 70s, and micro TV sets.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Early Television Museum

Early Television Museum

Curious about early mechanical TV sets from the 20s and 30s? Prewar electronic sets? Or postwar American and Britis… [read review or visit site]

The MZTV Museum of Television

The MZTV Museum of Television

This incredible website by the MZTV Museum of Television (based in Canada) is an interactive playground of televisi… [read review or visit site]

Tvhistory.tv

Tvhistory.tv

Tom Genova’s great reference on the first 75 years of TV history. Organized chronologically, with photos of s… [read review or visit site]

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob is an extensive resource on all types of audio electronics organized by manufacturer, from Aiwa to… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1940s Philco Dog House Style Antique Television This Tv Still Works !!!1961 Rca Ctc-11 Vintage Roundie Color Tv/television - Super Strong CrtClassic Rca 74b Ribbon MicrophoneVintage Jvc Orange/red Videosphere 3250 Spaceage Tv It Works TelevisionVintage Philco Predicta "siesta"television 1958Zenith Flash Matic Remote Flashlight (rare)Vintage 1950s Old Antique Swirled Bakelite Lightup Digital Television ClockVintage Jvc Videosphere Model 3240 Round Red Retro Television - Works1950's Philco Predicta Space Age Tv Tube Television Set Rotating ScreenRca Portable Tv Model 14 Pd 8053 U Red Has Factory Uhf Tuning Vintage Nbc Chimes Sign From Television Studio Camera Rca TvPhilco Predicta Television Table Top Tv SetB&k B+k Bk Dynascan Model 1077b Television Analyst Image Scanner For Vintage TvSinclair Ftv1 Flat Screen Pocket Tv C1984 Complete With Wallet & BatteryB&k B+k Bk Dynascan Model 415 Sweep Marker Generator For Vintage Television TvVintage Admiral Bakelite Floor Model Tv Television Beautiful Shape No Cracks!Rca Victor Tv Television Model 8ts30 Empty Cabinet1949 Silvertone 7" Leatherette Portable TvVintage Rca Victor Coffee Mug - Nipper - Living Color - TvVintage Magnavox "2 B/w Tv, Am/fm Radio, Digital Alarm Clock Bd3902 Sl01 New!**rare**vintage 1940/50's Emerson Tv & Radio-metal Case-non-working- See PicsVintage Rca Tv Indoor Antenna Boxed Vintage 1970's Admiral Portable B&w Television Tv Set Swivel Base Clean Mod LookZenith 13" Tv/vcr Combination Model Tvz1341x W/remote Color Home Entertainment Prepper Special Vintage Jvc Am/fm Radio/ Psb-tv Model 3050Vintage Standard Model B50 Tv Signal Booster2 Vintage Rare Portable Sony Tv-950 Tv-960 Transistor Tv Receiver Solid State Vintage Tv Portable 5" Sylvania W/am/fm Radio Never Been Used. Sencore Va 48 Tv Analyst Generator Signal NtscVintage Sanyo 21t70 Black & White Portable Tv 12" Diagonally2 Workman Electronic Thermistor Fr26.5 Motorola #6s10156a01 Rca #114480 26.5 OhmGenuine Vintage 1950's Rca Victor Television Set Catalog BrochureVintage R.c.a. 5 Inch B&w Television Set Model 16-3001 - Cute & Clean & Complete4 Workman Electronic Globar Resistors Model Fr 19, 191, 291 Motorola Rca Nip Nos1983 Sears 20 Inch Color Tv With Remote And Owners Manual Vintage Clean RareRare Memorex Sphere Video Ball Red Msp-tv1300 Color Tv 13in Retro!Memorex Color Pocketvision-26Sony Portable Vintage TvOptimus 2.7" Vintage Pocket Tv1980 Vornado Model Rv-100 Portable Tv Fm/am Radio Ac/dc (works)Vintage 1986 Sony Watchman Portable Tv Television Fd-10a Flat Black & WhiteVintage Tv Cabinet Mahongany With Stereo Turntable 1950's With TubesCollectible; Jcpenny; Portable; Tv; Am / Fm; Radio; Ac/dc; WorksVintage Panasonic Tr-475f Am/fm Portable Television Radio, Read DescriptionLarge Lot Rca Victor Television Service Data Booklets 1958 1959 1960Lot Rca Victor Television Service Data Booklets 1950s 1960sGe Tv For A Line 1965 Service ManualsMidland 5in B/w T.v. With Am/fm Radio 12 VoltVintage Photo Tv Television 1950s Living Room Home Interior 507379Vintage 1985 Sony Watchman Fd-2a Black And White Retro Cool Collectable Tv