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The Set: Pete Deksnis's Site about the CT-100

Restoring a Vintage Color Television Set



Here are the elements of an interesting CT-100 story brought together on one page.

1. Since November 1999 this box information, or sidebar as it's called these days, has appeared on the restoration menu page.

--ON 25 NOVEMBER 1999 --
Who would have expected to see a CT-100 in a prime-time TV commercial?
But there it was for about a second, a shiny CT-100 -- seen in an RCA commercial
for High Definition TV as it segued into a flaunt of the old RCA track record for technological innovation.

2. Then Dave came on board and offered this tantalizing tidbit.

3-14-00 Just found your site. Over the years I have had the Westinghouse version and two CT-100's. The Westinghouse is long gone and one CT was sold to RCA in Indianapolis.

3. To which I responded -- Tell us more. Could it be the CT-100 in the new RCA ad for HDTV?

4. To which Dave replied:

3-15-00 Actually, my first set was traded to RCA in 1978. A local appliance dealer friend of mine in Rockford, Ill took it in on trade about 1975 and gave it to me. I used to direct his TV commercials at a local station. It was running when I got it and just needed tubes and adjustment. It would pick up Madison, WI (90 miles) on rabbit ears. Eventually, it burned up a vertical output transformer. I could not find one to save my life (or the set's) so I called RCA in Indianapolis to see if they were interested.

RCA offered to trade me their first home VHS color camera, the RCA CC001 for the set and I agreed. A few days later, the local RCA Factory Service driver showed up and took the set away. I never saw it again, but I still have the camera. How crude that thing is now.

As for the commercial, it's possible that it is the set, but I would be surprised if they would ship that thing around to a film studio. It would be just as easy for them to rent one somewhere. Prop supply houses are amazing at finding things.

5. Next, I heard from Steve, the first collector to respond to this site.

3-21-00 I was checking out your website tonight and noticed the speculation about the CT-100 in the RCA ad. I know where that set came from. When I was visiting the Thompson headquarters in Indianapolis last fall, they were in the process of taking the 15GP22 out of the CT-100 they have in their "Museum" (actually a lobby) so that the set could be shipped to Hollywood for a commercial. The tube remained in Indianapolis.

6. I forwarded Steve's info to Dave, who reacted by providing the closing chapter to this little bit of historical trivia.

3-23-00 I'M FAMOUS, sort of, I guess. I wonder if they would trade the 15GP22 back to me for the camera they gave me in the first place. It's historic now, too. If anyone knows of an e-mail address or phone number for them, I would love to chat with them.

Your Famous contributor, Dave
Early Television

Well, okay. The end of THAT chapter. Here's the next...

I have been in contact with Indianapolis, and have received several mails, this one is quite interesting. Feel free to post. Looks like my set may be close to me in NYC. Detective work is fun. I also have a CTC-2B with a minor horizontal problem, but looks strong.

---Original Message -----
From: Jeff
To: Dave
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2000 2:50 PM
Subject: CT-100 and other old TV's

Hi David,
Thought I'd take a quick break and write you a note. Didn't know we received a CT-100 in trade. I'm a video design engineer here at Thomson and just about the only one who knows anything about old product. In fact, many times the switchboard just routes calls requesting information to my phone. I started back when it was RCA in late 1983. I been the one involved in putting the collection together and> restoring the sets we have. I started collecting pre-war TV while I was in college, and radios and Victrolas before I could drive.

The CT-100 in the commercial came from our factory in Montreal back 1993. We were closing it down and cleaning it out. I would expect it was a Bloomington-built model but it does have a small chassis on the bottom for an additional power transformer. I don't know for sure but expect that was done to operate on 50 Hz. Other than the second power transformer it is pretty stock. There are a few others around in various states of disrepair. Over the years the model shop would gut them and pretty them up for some kind of photo shoot. There were two with just cabinets and knobs glued on. One had a tube where the phosphor screen was cracked. Another with a tube down to air.

Back in the late 1980's there was one CT-100 I restored for some RCA> function. It was subsequently loaned to the
Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. This one could have been yours? That one was complete and was working but has been moved around a lot. Couldn't tell you if the vertical output had been replaced. I did have to recap the entire set though. Don't recall ever seeing one that had already been recapped.

The CT-100 in the commercial was working very nicely. But since we only have the one good tube I've warned them that shipping it with the tube installed would be dangerous. I removed the tube before the set went out and the image was superimposed in the commercial. It was a good thing since it came back from LA with the plastic neck protector lying inside the cabinet, breaking a 12BH7 driver.

The tube is back in but has not been set up or really checked out. Have been way too busy here at work. I have designed the video circuits for the MM-101 multi-media monitor and currently working on the DTV-306 and 307 which are our 38" and new projection 16x9 sets.

That CT-100 was the 4th or 5th I've restored. When I was 20 I bought a CT-100 from a guy who was the chief engineer of Philco. He said Philco bought it for him to monitor their Philadelphia color transmission. I sold it to a guy in Georgia about a year ago. I also restored a
"Rose Bowl" set for another collector. And a CTC-2B I later sold to a guy in San Diego.

At one time I collected Radios/Television/Phonographs. Since, I've been exclusively concentrating on Victor Talking Machine products. The pre-RCA Victor electronic models have RCA electronics and I find them pretty neat. There are also very rare and unusual acoustic Victrola's that are about as scarce as pre-war televisions.

Nice to know that people got a kick out of that commercial!


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