Early televisions were monsters—very large and very heavy. This is especially true of the earliest pre-World War II models that are the rarest TVs of all. You’d better have a lot of space if you’re going to collect those.
I’ve found that collecting transistor televisions is just as much fun and a lot more practical, space-wise. Transistor TVs were the first truly portable televisions and the forerunners of the portable video revolution.
Here is the Sony 4-204UW “Walkie Watchie” 4-inch TV in black & white (1965, Japan), and beneath it the Panasonic TR-1030P Travelvision (1984, Japan). And hard to miss is the pink Sharp 3LS36(P) 3-1/2 inch color set (1986, Japan) that is on the cover of my book about collecting these great little televisions.
I was lucky enough to find the original box for the very collectible Panasonic TR-005 Orbitel, usually called the “flying saucer” TV (1971, Japan).
In a sort of side collection are these period graphics, from vintage tv station title cards: “To Tell the Truth” and “Art Linkletter's House Party”— a couple of TV shows popular at the dawn of the transistor TV era.
The Philco Safari (1959, USA) was the world’s first transistor television but it was a magnified reflected-view set and a bit difficult to watch. The first direct-view transistor TV came from Sony in 1960. It was model 8-301W and it was Sony’s first television ever.
It’s shown in this video, which also makes the case for what is known as “cross-collecting.” While looking for matches for my match collection I came across this amazing little pack of Sony promo matches in (more or less) the shape of this pioneering Sony TV.
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