PORTABLE TELEVISION (Dec, 1948)

PORTABLE TELEVISION

A 31-pound set steals a march on the industry

The gentleman shown above luxuriously sprawled in his bathtub is enjoying the newest thing in television—a portable set. (He also is risking electrocution because either a radio or TV set can kill a wet bather if he so much as touches it.) His set, made by the Sentinel Radio Corporation, has a small collapsible antenna, a 7-inch screen, and sells for $206.90 complete. It is easily transportable (below), needs only a socket with alternating current to operate both indoors and out, provides excellent reception which is comparable to that of much more expensive receivers. However at the rate Sentinel is turning out its sets (4,000 a month), it will be some time before the customers can walk into the store and buy them without delay. Another portable set, made by the Pilot Radio Corporation, has a tiny 3-inch screen, sells for only $99.50.

12 comments
  1. Al Bear says: September 1, 20089:55 pm

    The TV very near the bath tub picture is scary.

  2. George says: September 1, 200810:54 pm

    Compare this to the iPhone which weighs, what, a couple of ounces?

  3. Charlene says: September 2, 20081:12 am

    A 31-pound portable TV?

    I guess it’s not that strange; I once owned a “portable”computer that almost tore my arms off when I tried to haul it around. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how quickly things have changed.

  4. Toronto says: September 2, 20088:31 am

    I had a “portable” Hallicrafters TW1000 multi-band radio that weighed close to that without batteries. They would have added another 10 pounds, I suspect, as the battery bay was about 4″x6″x15″. You needed a 90v plus a 9v battery.

  5. Steve says: September 2, 20088:35 am

    The TV perched precariously over the bathwater while the guy smokes a big cigar… I guess he likes to live dangerously. :)

  6. Eliyahu says: September 2, 200810:20 am

    And adjusting for consumer price index and inflation, that same set would now cost over $1600. Some things actually get cheaper over the years.

  7. Casandro says: September 2, 200811:47 am

    Well one has to note that some of those normal sized TV-sets were actally quite save. They had fairly high impedance power supplies which would short circuit as soon as you touched them.

  8. John M. Hanna says: September 2, 200812:21 pm

    Its portable, as long as you’re built like Charles Atlas.

  9. JM says: September 2, 200812:38 pm

    Why someone would like to go outside with this tv on hand? Cuz… let’s thinks, in the street you could not find the AC entry it needs, and if you’re heading to someone else home, just to see a game, better to have he/she comes to your home instead :S

  10. George says: September 6, 20085:28 pm

    Casandro, the biggest problem was the number of radios and TV’s built with a “hot chassis.” To save weight and cost, they had a transformerless power supply and one side of the AC line was connected directly to the chassis. Polarized plugs and outlets were rare in the 1950′s so you had a 50/50 chance of having any exposed metal 117 volts above ground.

    Famous last words, “Hey, it’s 8:00, time to put on Jack Benny. He really kills me!”

  11. beagledad says: September 8, 20081:02 pm

    Is that a prison bathroom he’s in, or did they just have a very different notion of luxury back in 1948? Hmmm. . . . with the electrocution issue, maybe it’s an experimental humane execution system.

  12. Cari says: January 12, 20093:12 am

    Wow this site is so-o-o-o cool for history-both photo and story line!

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