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    

1956 Rca Deluxe Ctc-5 Color Television1949 Belmont-raytheon P-301 A-7dx22p 7-inch Vintage TvVery Nice Vintage 1970's Panasonic Tr-005 Television, Silver Orbital Tv Jetsons1948 Deco Motorola Vt-71m-a / Ts-4h "golden View" Television - 7jp4 Crt - Fok Late Rebuild 7jp4 Tests Strong1948 Deco Admiral Model 19a12 S 7" Round Picture Tube Television - Fok Stromberg Carlson Vintage 12 Inch Television TvVintage 1959 19" Predicta Princess Model Space Age T.v. Television Still Works!Rca 12kp4a Strong EmissionRca 10sp4 Crt Used Test Ok Clean! L@@k! 1950's Tv's 10-inch Round Tube Vintage Sony Transister Tv Model 8-301 W For Parts Or Repair No ReserveRare Philco Predicta Modern Danish Holiday 21 Inch Vintage Television Rare ReadVintage Rare Rca Zenith Magnavox Universal Clicker Tv Remote Television Awesome!1983 Compaq Portable Ibm Pc Compatible ComputerGe General Electric M157sbk-3 15" Vintage B/w Tv Works!!!!Vintage 1978 Color Tv Sony Trinitron Kv-9300 Vintage Rca Victor Console Tv Used Sinclair Ftv1 Flat Screen Pocket Tv Boxed C1984 . Complete With Original ExtrasVintage Mga Mitsubishi Electric B&w Portable Tv Radio Bb-0580 - TelevisionPhilco Television13" Ge Television Black And WhiteWashington Redskins Football Vintage Sony Watchman Flat Screen Tv Radio Am FmVintage Television Signal Booster - Tele-booster Model Tvx -vision Research LabsMagnavox Bh3908 - Portable Bw Tv And Am Fm Radio Complete In BoxVintage 1984 Sony Watchman Television Model Fd-20a Los Angeles DodgersVintage Tv Antennae Retro Mid Century Atomic Space Age Rabbit Ears Sputnik SearsVintage Realistic Color Tv -1980's Portavisonஐღ K.b Toyclub Portable 5.5" Black & White Television & Am/fm Radio - 52r - NibVintage 1956 Original Motorola Television Dealer Sales Book Of '56 TelevisionsVintage 1952 Photo Pretty Girls W/ Tiny Tv Television In Home Interior 554513Vintage Optimus 2.3'' Auto-tune Color Pocket Lcd Tv Portable TelevisionCasio Lcd Color Tv-880bVintage ... Casio Pocket Lcd Tv-30s