Color Line

Early Field Test, Prototype, and Commercial Color Receivers

Color Line

Many manufacturers developed color receivers for use during field testing of the NTSC color television standards during 1951 through 1953. Commercial versions of these prototype receivers were introduced for sale during 1954. The public ignored purchasing any significant number of these expensive 15-inch receivers or the following 19-inch or 21-inch versions introduced in late 1954 and 1955. By 1959, RCA was the remaining major manufacturer still trying to sell color sets. The following identifies the manufactures and picture size of these models.

Field test ("FT"), experimental or prototype, and early production sets are listed. CRT sizes were 10" and 16" in triniscope sets, 16" experimental metal shadow-mask color CRTs (in FT models), 15" glass (15GP22 and 15HP22 in production models). 19" round, 21 inch round, and 22" rectangular.

I would enjoy sharing information with readers about corrections and additions to this list. If you know of any surviving sets, please let me know.

Manufacturer
Model Size
Admiral
FT, 15", 21"
Arvin
15"
Capehart
19", 21"
CBS Columbia
16", 15", 19", 22"R
Chromatic Television Labs
Chromatron
COL-R-TEL
(converter)
Conrac
15" monitor
Crosley
FT
Douglas
15"
Dumont
15", 19", 21"
Emerson
FT, 15", 21"
General Electric
FT, 15", 21"
Gilfillan
Chromatron, 21"
Hallicrafters
FT, Chromatron, 15", 21"
Hazeltine
FT, trini (6 models)
Hoffman
15", 19", 21"
Magnavox
21"
Majestic
15"
Montgomery-Ward
21"
Motorola
FT,15", 19", 21"
Muntz
Chromatron, 21" (CTC5N)
Olympic
21"
Pacific Mercury
16" Prototype
Packard Bell
21"
Philco
FT, 15", 21", Apple
Polarad
15" monitor
Raytheon
15", 21"
RCA Labs
(15 trini models)
RCA Clr Prd Gp
(14 FT models)
RCA Victor
(6 commercial models)
Sears-Silvertone
15", 21"
Sentinel
21"
Setchell-Carlson
21"
Sparton
15"
Stromberg-Carlson
15"
Sylvania
FT, 15", 21"
Tele-King
FT
Western Auto
21"
Westinghouse
FT, 15", 19", 22"R, 21"
Wilcox-Gay
15" (Majestic)
Zenith
FT, 15"


Over several years I have developed a detailed computer database that documents these early receivers. Information in the data includes picture size, model number, date produced, cabinet style, chassis number, number of tubes, and type of color demodulation. The sell price and availability of schematic, manual and photograph is also noted.

The data base also identifies those models known to survive in the hands of collectors. I will respond to inquiries on the content of this database. However, many collectors who contributed information have requested to remain anonymous. I will relay requests for information on a surviving set to the owner who may respond directly to the inquirer.

V1.01 12/15/96
V1.02 2006-12-03, Corrected Pacific-Mercury HTML error, Added Muntz 21"

You can email to Ed Reitan by using ereitan "at" novia.net

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Color Line