View Full Version : Found a 1961 Motorola 23" Table TV!


drh4683
01-04-2016, 10:21 PM
Another Chicago estate sale find. This was on the northwest side of the city. I found this nice, well preserved 1961 Motorola 23" B&W table TV on the original cart, still on the main floor of the house in one of the bedrooms. I have to mention that this was a particularly unique sale. The 90 year old woman who lived here grew up in this house. The house was built in 1921 and her parents were the first owners and they had one daughter, Evelyn. The father and the mother passed away in 1968 and 1970 respectively and Evelyn continued to live here by herself ever since. The inside of the house was truly a 1921 home, right down to the original kitchen and bathroom, all of the original light fixtures throughout as well. Very unusual to see what an undisturbed 1920's home looked like. Evelyn was a talented organist and had an apparent love for music judging by the contents of the home.

So then there's this unusual Motorola TV that survived. And it's a low hour set too. It's another one of these TV's that just sat around and nobody ever used it, and 55 years later, it's still here! And after 55 years, it still works perfectly without even needing to touch the vertical size and linearity. The set appears to have never had it's back cover removed either until I checked it out. It has ALL of it's original tubes and CRT. Perhaps this was her mom or dads TV? We may never know the story on why it was never used, but it wasn't and it's condition proves it.

I've never seen a Motorola TV like this one before. Any 23" B&W table TV from the early 60's is an unusual find to begin with. What makes this particular set so appealing to me is that it's a big 23" set, but in an "economy" cabinet. It's not your typical plain wooden box or metal box construction. If you study the pictures, you'll see that it's assembled in a very atypical way. The set is constructed out of laminate panels with wood grain photo finish and those panels are all secured together with aluminum corner bars. It's how they fastened the parts and panels together is what makes this set interesting to me. The base of the TV is simply a perforated fiberboard and reinforced with copper plated brackets in which the sides of the cabinet mount via screws. There was no attempt to covering up those screws either. It's rather utilitarian in construction, but still sports the aforementioned wood grain finish, so it wasn't meant to be tucked into a wall and out of sight. It's as though Motorola engineers were assigned to make a bare minimum cabinet design that still had some degree of structural integrity. I can't say that I've seen TV's built like this before and that increases the coolness factor. And you wonder how many were built, and how many even survived? It's the cheap flimsy cabinet sets that were typically used the hardest and lived the shorted lives with few surviving examples in existence.

The chassis is Motorola's TS-570 with a February, 1961 build date (the "2M61" chassis stamp). Like most all Motorola TV's built after 1952, it was built at the Franklin Park, IL TV plant. The Franklin Park complex would eventually become home to Motorola's headquarters in 1960 when the new HQ building was completed. The original Augusta Blvd complex and HQ in Chicago would remain active as part of the Military Division. The move to the Franklin Park plant on Grand Ave. was literally just a move down the street from the Augusta location. So Motorola was already headquartered in Franklin Park for over a year by the time this set was built, yet it still has the old Augusta Blvd address on the back cover. In a way, this TV is truly kind of "left over" 1950's with the old address, that side mounted speaker and the big 5U4GB low voltage rectifier.
This set is full of 6BL8's. It seems like every manufacturer had their "signature tube" that they used a bunch of in their sets. RCA had their 6GH8's, Zenith had their 6KT8's and Motorola and their 6BL8's...
The CRT is an EIA code 836 which was a National Video Corp. built tube. As we know, Motorola has a history of being partners with NVC as an exclusive CRT supplier. The CRT also has the February, 1961 build date. What's also interesting is how Motorola had a staggered "Motorola" stamp that is superimposed over the serial number tag on the bell of the CRT. Most likely a visual "seal" so the serial number couldn't be swapped if the tubes ever got changed.

All the set really needed was a slight de-dusting and a check of the caps to make sure they're OK. The original caps all test excellent ESR, so I'm leaving them alone. This is another reference TV, so we can study and see how they looked when they left the factory. The picture quality is razor sharp. Watching a clean crisp B&W picture is always a pleasant experience!

Many photos below:

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https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1606/23814791159_1ee35627f3_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Chr2Hz)DSC01562 (https://flic.kr/p/Chr2Hz) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1557/23554421644_de56dbdd77_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/BTqyW1)DSC01557 (https://flic.kr/p/BTqyW1) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1577/24100004071_743fa6aeea_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CHCPzz)DSC01567 (https://flic.kr/p/CHCPzz) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

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drh4683
01-04-2016, 10:22 PM
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drh4683
01-04-2016, 10:23 PM
https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1494/24161048935_5fb7909c10_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CP2G6e)DSC05093 (https://flic.kr/p/CP2G6e) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

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https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1661/24052986932_568a03cbf9_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CDtR2f)DSC05068 (https://flic.kr/p/CDtR2f) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

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drh4683
01-04-2016, 10:23 PM
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dishdude
01-04-2016, 10:27 PM
Wow! That house is like a time capsule. That TV looks really modern for 1959 inside and out.

radiotvnut
01-04-2016, 11:10 PM
That set looks like it just left the factory!

Electronic M
01-04-2016, 11:19 PM
I'm now convinced Doug has a time machine. That is an AMAZING find!

I've been early 20th century houses with their original features save for paint and wall paper....Always a interesting experience.

OvenMaster
01-04-2016, 11:28 PM
My God, it's like a museum. I love it.
Besides the TV, if I were closer I'd love to get my hands on that gas stove, the organ and the tone cabinets!

rca2000
01-04-2016, 11:45 PM
I'm now convinced Doug has a time machine. That is an AMAZING find!

I've been early 20th century houses with their original features save for paint and wall paper....Always a interesting experience.


But he STILL...has been UNABLE to find me a sylvania E0-1 or E-02 set, an Admiral M20 or 25 set, An RCA direct address set (ctc 81, or the ctc 74 19" version), An RCA CTC 49 set, or a Zenith 1Y21B55 68 model SS set...

Radiotronman
01-05-2016, 09:54 AM
Last summer I bought a smaller set, maybe 17-19", that looks just like that. It has a white painted, leather grained metal cabinet though. Same knobs and chrome trim. Mine has a smooth metal back instead of hardboard. If I get a chance I'll post a picture of mine tonight. It's not as old as I usually collect, but I grabbed it because I don't see too much of post 1954ish Motorola tvs either. They were also remote capable too and the mic pickup was a screen below the logo in the circle.

maxhifi
01-05-2016, 10:07 AM
Thank you very much for the excellent photos and write up, this is a true survivor!

dieseljeep
01-05-2016, 11:23 AM
I want first dibs on that set. It's intended for a true Motorola collector.
I always wanted to buy a house similar to that one, but they were in the areas of transition, going from good to bad. We always called them "Milwaukee Bungalows". You refer to those as "Chicago Bungalows". Well planned and well constructed.
Range looks like a later 30's Roper. The kitchen sink is like late 40's, early 50's.
I never saw a bathtub with the faucet and drain setup like that. Then, of couse, there's the horizontally mounted duplex receptacles, so typical of Illinois.

Eric H
01-05-2016, 11:46 AM
That's amazing, it probably hasn't been used since the J.F.K assassination.

Olorin67
01-05-2016, 12:18 PM
awesome find! Ive never yet seen a 23" tabletop set in the wild..Closest thing I have is Setchell Carlson School TV

dieseljeep
01-05-2016, 12:40 PM
awesome find! Ive never yet seen a 23" tabletop set in the wild..Closest thing I have is Setchell Carlson School TV

I used to buy and sell a lot of them, especially Zeniths and RCA's. I know for sure, I have, probably one of the last Zenith's, with the big metal cabinets.

LovesZenith
01-05-2016, 06:56 PM
That house reminds me of my own grandmother's house. Her's is a little newer (1951). She's lived there for 64 years of her 89 years here on Earth. The house has it's original floors, cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, bathtub, and counter tops, ordered and installed by my late grandfather in 1950-1951. In the kitchen is a newer late 1960s-early 1970s stove. The living room and kitchen have light switches on the wall, but the bathroom and all bedrooms have pull chains from a bulb in the middle of the room. The house has the original light and phone wiring. I absolutely astonish my twin brother (who has a new Xbox and an iphone 6) whenever I'm over there and use her rotary phone (tan one in the kitchen, and a pink/rose one in her bed room, that's it for the whole house) without hesitation.

Radiotronman
01-05-2016, 07:51 PM
Here is my set!

old_tv_nut
01-05-2016, 08:04 PM
Hi Doug - can you tell who made the CRT?

dieseljeep
01-05-2016, 09:30 PM
That house reminds me of my own grandmother's house. Her's is a little newer (1951). She's lived there for 64 years of her 89 years here on Earth. The house has it's original floors, cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, bathtub, and counter tops, ordered and installed by my late grandfather in 1950-1951. In the kitchen is a newer late 1960s-early 1970s stove. The living room and kitchen have light switches on the wall, but the bathroom and all bedrooms have pull chains from a bulb in the middle of the room. The house has the original light and phone wiring. I absolutely astonish my twin brother (who has a new Xbox and an iphone 6) whenever I'm over there and use her rotary phone (tan one in the kitchen, and a pink/rose one in her bed room, that's it for the whole house) without hesitation.
It's hard to believe that a home built that late, doesn't have wall switches in the lesser rooms.
The only homes I seen, were homes wired well after the original construction. My mother's family had a home that was at least 60 years old when it was first wired for electricity in the mid-20's. That home was wired when the electric company subsidised the wiring of homes, so it was wired with the minimum of extras. All the lesser rooms had pull-chain switched lights, instead of wall switches. :sigh:

Sandy G
01-05-2016, 10:17 PM
Oh, MAN... Talk about "Pristine".... I'm in Love..

bgadow
01-05-2016, 11:00 PM
Simply amazing how many super clean sets you're finding! Great housekeepers in Chicagoland, I guess!

In 3rd grade my homeroom teacher had a very similar Motorola in her classroom. I never saw it work. One day there was a space shuttle launch and she tried to tune it in. There was a brief flash of light on the screen but nothing else. One of the little things that kindled my interest in old TV.

fixmeplease
01-05-2016, 11:10 PM
Great story and pictures! I want everything in that house but love the yellow chair next to the TV.

TUD1
01-06-2016, 01:48 AM
WOW! That set is incredible! I have never seen a set that clean "in the wild." Amazing! Glad you found it, Doug!

LovesZenith
01-06-2016, 06:12 PM
It's hard to believe that a home built that late, doesn't have wall switches in the lesser rooms.
The only homes I seen, were homes wired well after the original construction. My mother's family had a home that was at least 60 years old when it was first wired for electricity in the mid-20's. That home was wired when the electric company subsidised the wiring of homes, so it was wired with the minimum of extras. All the lesser rooms had pull-chain switched lights, instead of wall switches. :sigh:

I asked her today about that, and the story was pretty interesting. In 1951, they had two kids (Joe, b. 1945, and Geraldine, b. 1946), and another baby on the way. They didn't have much, as my grandfather at the time was struggling to keep a job. (He had problems with alcoholism, leading to his premature death at 60 in 1985). His brother was an apprentice electrician, and did the wiring himself. My grandmother took me around the house, showing me all the lights with pull chains. The lights were all slightly different, something I've never noticed, but they were all painted to match. She told me, since they were tight on money, that they got the fixtures (3) from a building that the brother's boss was called to inspect before it was torn down. The building was built in 1891, and wired in 1916. So, the brother was free to take the fixtures after they had removed them to demolish the building. Therefore, they had salvage light fixtures, (already out of date in 1951) and they were just included in the wiring of the house.

dieseljeep
01-06-2016, 09:36 PM
I asked her today about that, and the story was pretty interesting. In 1951, they had two kids (Joe, b. 1945, and Geraldine, b. 1946), and another baby on the way. They didn't have much, as my grandfather at the time was struggling to keep a job. (He had problems with alcoholism, leading to his premature death at 60 in 1985). His brother was an apprentice electrician, and did the wiring himself. My grandmother took me around the house, showing me all the lights with pull chains. The lights were all slightly different, something I've never noticed, but they were all painted to match. She told me, since they were tight on money, that they got the fixtures (3) from a building that the brother's boss was called to inspect before it was torn down. The building was built in 1891, and wired in 1916. So, the brother was free to take the fixtures after they had removed them to demolish the building. Therefore, they had salvage light fixtures, (already out of date in 1951) and they were just included in the wiring of the house.
I knew, there had to be a reason for that wiring installation. In the big cities, any newly built home, had to be built, wired, plumbed by licensed contractors and inspected before occupancy. There were minimum standards, that had to be met. :scratch2:

snelson903
01-06-2016, 10:25 PM
like new condition ,,,,nice

timmy
01-07-2016, 09:00 PM
So how much did you get that Motorola for ?

kramden66
01-07-2016, 09:02 PM
I had the same set. It was from a Tv shop and never sold. Had the original sales sticker on the front screen boasting of the 20k volts and the one on the channel knob. It was even still bolted to the cardboard bottom. It need electrolytics and ran like a champ. I no longer have it but was nice.

Sandy G
01-07-2016, 09:35 PM
Oh, about 20-25 yrs ago, I started going to auctions around here in Greater Bugtussle, just for the Hell of it. Picked up a few items, but I got to see ALL MANNER of wiring & construction. Quite a few of the older homes had BARE copper wires, & glass insulators. But these things were apparently STILL legal, I don't remember many, if any ever being "Upgraded" to 20th century style wiring..

dieseljeep
01-07-2016, 09:50 PM
Great story and pictures! I want everything in that house but love the yellow chair next to the TV.

The home, where the set is shown, must be Doug's.
The old home, where the set came from, is totally different, from the home where the set was photographed.
If you look at the pictures of the old home, it looks like a stand from a newer large screen CRT color set, which would be in, what would be the dining room. It appears that the home has a newer furnace, by the looks of the thermostat. It looks like a lot of deferred maintenance of the home.
Awful narrow lots in the area, just like many areas of Milwaukee. :scratch2:

maxm
01-09-2016, 06:23 PM
I was at the same estate sale, I've been lucky to be at several sales in 1920s homes that have been kept in original condition. One bungalow similar to this still had the original stenciling on the walls in the living and dining rooms. The kitchen in my 1926 Chicago home looked similar to this one when I purchased it, my home had also been in the same family for most of its life.

Unfortunately homes like these get purchased by flippers who remove all the original quality materials and turn the interiors into something that resembles a new suburban condo.

Additional photo of the original tile work and lighting that was in the bathroom:

dieseljeep
01-10-2016, 01:55 PM
I was at the same estate sale, I've been lucky to be at several sales in 1920s homes that have been kept in original condition. One bungalow similar to this still had the original stenciling on the walls in the living and dining rooms. The kitchen in my 1926 Chicago home looked similar to this one when I purchased it, my home had also been in the same family for most of its life.

Unfortunately homes like these get purchased by flippers who remove all the original quality materials and turn the interiors into something that resembles a new suburban condo.

Additional photo of the original tile work and lighting that was in the bathroom:
I was considering buying a home similar to the one shown. It was, at the time, a better part of town. The kitchen was even more original, with the old wall-hung cast iron apron sink. I would've just replaced the sink and linoleum in the kitchen. The rest of the home was really nice.
In a way, I'm glad, I didn't buy it, as the neighborhood changed and the trouble makers moved in. :sigh: