Search for Emerson Prewar TV Identity
BY TIM MULLEN
Though he has enjoyed our articles about TV over the years, Tim Mullen found that Ray Bintliff's June article on his early years with RCA prompted the following response. Tim's prewar Emerson needs identifying, and that's what A.R.C. is all about -- the exchange of information among radio collectors. (Editor)
My Emerson prewar radio/TV console is shown in Figure 1. The cabinet is clearly an Emerson design, while the 3-band radio appears to be an Emerson tabletop set modified for transformer operation. But, the television portion is obviously an RCA TRK design with some very odd differences.
In the first place, the RCA TRK-9 through TRK-12 series had a video-deflection chassis and a separate high-low voltage power supply. In the Emerson these functions are swapped around! The low-voltage power supply is on the video chassis, and the deflection is on the high-voltage power supply. However, the circuitry of the sets is nearly the same, down to the special RCA 6L6 specified in the TRK notes for horizontal sweep. I used TRK schematics to troubleshoot the set without any difficulties, except for having to track down the component locations.
There is one other major difference. The Emerson uses a push-button tuner rather than a rotary tuner-- eight push buttons, in fact. The topmost button selects radio, leaving seven for television. This threw me until I discovered every other push button is a dummy, leaving only four for channel selection.
When I found this set, the audio circuit had aIready been converted from AM to FM using slope detection on the audio. The four channels had been aligned for Channels 2 through 5. Paper inserts labeled the buttons for stations in the New York area -- WCBW, WNBT, and WABD. -- with one blank.
l've had little luck finding more information on this set, even to verify if it had been a production model or a prototype. One would think a prototype would have been displayed or advertised somewhere! l've gone through magazines of the prewar era, and have been in touch with the AWA museum, the MZTV Museum of Television in Toronto and various collectors, including Harry Poster in New Jersey and Dan Gustafson in Chicago.
Dan is an amazing fountain of information, but he could only recall possibly having seen a picture of the set once with the then president of Emerson standing beside it. Unfortunately, Dan has never been able to locate the picture in his vast archives. Another tantalizing clue came from a fellow on the Internet who claimed to have a 1941 dealer's brochure showing the set.
I'm hoping someone out there might be able to shed more light on this mysterious set or steer me in the right direction.
(Tim Mullen, 177 West 26th Street, Loft #400, New York, NY 10001)
Figure 1. The Emerson mirror-in-the-lid console TV.