Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Color Television

CBS RX-40/41 Color Converter/Adapter

The RX-40 Converter (in front of the TV set), and the RX-41 adapter (on the left of the set)

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Technical information

This converter was made by CBS in 1950. It was mounted in front of a 10 inch RCA 9-T-246 black and white set. In the black and white mode, the converter slides to the left, allowing the 10 inch picture to be viewed. In the color mode, the unit is in front of the picture tube. A switch on the adapter reduces the size of the picture to about 7 inches diagonally. When you view the picture through the magnifying lens, it looks to be about 10 inches. Here is a Popular Science article featuring the converter.

The unit was missing the slide assembly. We have made a replica, which looks somewhat like the original. It was also missing its color wheel, but we have made a replica.

The converter was attached to a RCA 9-T-246 using the RX-41 adapter. It contains a separate horizontal output section, with a voltage doubler to make the picture brighter in the color mode. Our adapter was missing its flyback transformer and wiring harness.

We have restored the Converter and Adapter. Here are some photos off the screen:

From the Historic Photo Archive, courtesy of Cliff Benham

The electronics, which synchronize the color picture, are built in. A cable connects it to the adapter.

Rear view of the unit, assembled

Front view of the Converter

Rear view, with back cover off

Peter Goldmark in front of the Converter.

Courtesy of Ed Reitan

A photo from CBS, showing a similar unit attached to a 12 inch Zenith. The scanning of the black and white set was reduced to produce a 7 inch image

1950 Pictures of the converter in front of a RCA 9-T-246


A picture of the adapter from 1950

Front view of our adapter. Controls are to switch from black and white to color and for vertical and horizontal hold

Bottom view

Rear view. Socket at right top is to plug in the color converter. A cable came out the grommet at the lower left


Inside the adaptrr. The flyback transformer and high voltage rectifiers are missing


A diagram of the color wheel

Courtesy of Dennis Choinski

Photo of the color wheel (from the other surviving CBS converter)