View Full Version : Biting off more than I can currently chew... with an RCA 641


benman94
11-23-2016, 07:57 PM
So I had this potential diamond in the rough today: an RCA model 641TV. I acquired the set from John Estep; he had acquired it along with a few other sets (including a second 641TV), and eventually decided it was excess to his collection. He offered the set to me, I hemmed and hawed for a while before eventually deciding that this set would make an excellent addition to my 621TS, 630TS, and 741PCS. John was kind enough to give the set to me on the condition I made a donation to the ETF. I sent Steve McVoy and the ETF some cash for the CRT rebuilding fund, and the 641 was mine.

Sun to Snow Transport (out of Pellston, Michigan in the upper Lower) picked it up from John in Pittsburgh yesterday, and delivered it to my home outside of Detroit today. I can't recommend Sun to Snow highly enough. Anyway, the set has definitely seen better days, and will need extensive work to get the cabinet looking presentable, but everything seems to be there and accounted for electronically. If the TV chassis doesn't give me too much trouble, I'll spend the extra cash having the cabinet and changer restored and make it my "daily driver" bedroom set. Right now, the set is residing in the garage. Too much to do at the moment to get it inside and upstairs.

The set is probably from the NYC area. WOR, WQXR, WMCA, WHN, WJZ, and WNBC are the presets on the radio. WHN changed its call letters to WMGM on September 15, 1948, and WJZ became WABC in 1953. Given that this is a 1947 model year set, it's reasonable to conclude it was built no later than September of 1948.

It's definitely seen plenty of use; of the three 5U4s in the set, two of them were changed out to 5U4GBs. I pulled a few tubes at random, and none of them were even RCA branded, much less originals. That said, I suspect the CRT is original. What looks like a possible datecode of some sort is stamped on the base of the CRT. Any ideas what 0/48 might mean? In any case, the CRT in the set, rather surprisingly, is the second best CRT I've ever put on the Sencore. The only tube I've seen test better is a 12KP4 I had Scotty at Hawkeye rebuild for me.

If anybody knows the name of a superb cabinet guy, please let me know. After really looking at this cabinet, I've come to the conclusion it's probably quite a bit beyond my current refinishing and repair ability.

https://s21.postimg.org/l7qpldvx3/20161123_185829.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/fwbt0o9ub/)

https://s21.postimg.org/zfgea18lz/20161123_185845.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/eik65dakz/)

https://s21.postimg.org/5c6gvtuqf/20161123_185851.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5oxv20d03/)

https://s21.postimg.org/xdki9j00n/20161123_185908.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/3lnfucd77/)

https://s21.postimg.org/qbmknbwev/20161123_185927.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/6trx7dzgz/)

https://s21.postimg.org/wqllk034n/20161123_190051.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/kbytjobmb/)

https://s21.postimg.org/g441axa6v/20161123_190114.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/ep2gm793n/)

walterbeers
11-24-2016, 07:38 AM
If you get the set going, and don't mind making a trip to Omaha NE with the cabinet. I know of a man and wife team that does suburb work on old furniture and cabinets. Titan1a recently had a 1936 Philco radio cabinet redone and they did a super job. The radio was moisture and/or weather beaten, and after they were done it looked just like brand new. I suggest that whom ever does the job that you remove the entire electronic "guts" as sanding, staining, and finishing could really mess up the unit itself. It would be quite a trip for you (twice), but they do very good work. Here is a link with reviews of the place. If you by any chance you do make a a trip to Omaha, I would be willing to tackle the record changer.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wooden-ways-and-olden-days-omaha

Eric H
11-24-2016, 01:30 PM
The tubes with the date stamped on the end are replacements, that one could be the 48th week of 1960, my CTC7 has that type date code on it's CRT so I know they were using that type marking in the late 50's early 60's.

benman94
11-24-2016, 01:38 PM
That makes a lot more sense Eric. The 48th week of 1960 would be more in line with some of the other replacements I found in the set. Also, after looking at the CRT again, I noticed it has the "block letter" RCA logo from the mid-50s, not the Victor logo from the late 40s.
If the tube is a replacement from the early 60s, then this set had one hell of a service life....
I suppose if you spent the $795 on it in 1947 or 1948, you would be inclined to use it until something really major came up.

Steve D.
11-24-2016, 02:02 PM
Ben,

A verynice addition to your post war RCA collection. A google search of Detroit area furniture restorers will turn up several. Ie: http://www.oldworldrefinishing.com

-Steve D.

dieseljeep
11-26-2016, 10:54 AM
That makes a lot more sense Eric. The 48th week of 1960 would be more in line with some of the other replacements I found in the set. Also, after looking at the CRT again, I noticed it has the "block letter" RCA logo from the mid-50s, not the Victor logo from the late 40s.
If the tube is a replacement from the early 60s, then this set had one hell of a service life....
I suppose if you spent the $795 on it in 1947 or 1948, you would be inclined to use it until something really major came up.

I think the CRT is from late 1950. It seems RCA didn't use bases with the extra pins after that, unless a electrostatic focused CRT. The only early RCA CRT's that used Electrostatic focus was 7DP4 and the 17GP4. :scratch2: