Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Early Color Television

NTSC Prototypes and Field Test Sets


A prototype is defined as a set with a metal-cone CRT, or with screw socket mountings, or with no engraved stamping on the chassis, or which would have been made in very small quantities, or has characteristics/circuit additions that would indicate it is an experimental/prototype set.

Who Sold the First NTSC Color Set to the Public?


CBS-Columbia RX-89 


CBS-Columbia RX-90


DuMont prototype

1953 Emerson 15" prototype. From November 1953 issue of Radio & TV News 

Courtesy of John Folsom

1954 Emerson

Fada - Mockup or Prototype

1953 G.E. prototype with metal cone CRT

Courtesy of Chuck Azzalina

Hoffman 15M1300U Colorcaster

Courtesy of John Folsom

Pacific Mercury


Courtesy of John Folsom

Philco 1955 Prototype with Apple CRT

Philharmonic (AMC)

Pye experimental 405 line NTSC set (Britain)


Sears-Silvertone 4160


Courtesy of John Folsom

Sparton (photo of rear and engineering manual)

Courtesy of John Folsom



Westinghouse 15"

Zenith 21" rectangular (1954)

Field Test Sets

Most of the sets below were receivers used in "Field Testing" of the NTSC Standards from late 1951 until May 1953. The NTSC submitted its petition after this testing to the FCC in July 1953.

RCA Model 1 Converter (1950)

RCA 16 inch prototype (1950)

RCA 16 inch prototype (1950)  

RCA Model 1 (1950)

RCA Model 2 Converter (1951)

RCA CPA Prototype (1951-52)

RCA Model 2 (1951)

RCA Model 3 (1952)

1951 21 inch prototype

In March, 1950 RCA demonstrated its color sytem to the FCC. On the left is a set using a single gun color tube. In the center is a black and white set, and on the right is a set using a tricolor tube.

RCA Trinoscope #1 (1950)

Interior of Trinoscope #1




RCA Trinoscope (1950) (Danny Gustafson Collection)

RCA Trinoscope #2 (1950)

Interior of Trinoscope #2


RCA 1949 dot sequential prototype. Three 2 1/2 inch CRTs were used.

Hazeltine color projection prototype

Hazeltine CPA prototype

  (RCA prototype photos courtesy of Dave Abramson)