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oldtvman 09-27-2015 09:19 AM

What does collecting old tv's mean to young people?
Here's an interesting question. A good share of those who frequent this site either grew up in the era or were involved in the business. I grew up when color tv was just a novelty, but I thought it was the most amazing thing out there.

So what drives you young guys to pursue collecting these old dinosaurs?

miniman82 09-27-2015 09:35 AM

Preservation of history (I also enjoy WWII stuff), and who doesn't like toobs?

Sandy G 09-27-2015 12:11 PM

We NEVER had a Roundie when I was a Tadpole, but I knew how SPECIAL they were....Still think so !

Arcanine 09-27-2015 12:45 PM

I almost believe me and Tom (Electronic M) are the youngest members here that are so involved with old televisions like this.

I'm 29, and I was born in 1986. My earliest memories are of that Zenith Television I still have, and use this day. Unusually my memory began to retain stuff as early as Late 1987, according to mom when I described what I remember to her.

I grew up in front of a television. I used to remember looking forward to getting home to play Nintendo on my little 13" Sony Trinitron. I still have that set to this day.

I feel older tech, while regarded as "primitive" now, is better built then anything you can walk out and purchase now from (Big box store of choice), and nothing lasts like it used too. Craftsmanship is gone, quality is gone. Nothing feels quite like watching an old CRT television, the bright colors, the smooth image, the easy to understand functions, that reflection of the glass screen when lights are near.

Yeah, you can go out to (big box store) and buy a 32" TV for almost under $200 now from some Asian company no one has ever heard of, and it'll last you two or three years.

I remember when a 32" Sony cost upwards of a grand plus for the better models, and many of those are still working to this day.

Getting off topic.

I found my way in to antique television when I was a kid. I always liked vacuum tube radios, and I had a few when I was 14/15, and then I learned TV's had tubes too! It went from there. I just love antique televisions. I want to preserve them, and enjoy them, and let them stand as a testament to a lost piece of history.

All my "cool kids" friends can watch their HDTV LED flat monstrosities at their home, then they come visit me in my home and they're totally blown away by my old televisions, and most have never even SEEN a television as old as mine are, and they sit down, with excitement, and watch my vintage sets in total awe. I put on some classic Star Trek or something, and it's all smiles, and "wow this is the coolest thing!", and they watch with out ever thinking twice that they're looking in to a 50+ year old screen.

Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING compares to watching classic TV, on a classic TV set.

I get a real delight from the smiles my old TV's bring when people see them, and watch them for the first time. I get endless enjoyment from them, my self. I always like to sit back and watch my color roundy, even with the vertical issues, I still enjoy it

Jon A. 09-27-2015 01:47 PM

1. I like to do what almost no one else does because following trends is boring to me.
2. I've had an interest in electronics since I was a kid.
3. Before the internet, most of my spare time was spent in front of a TV.
4. I grew up around people who didn't have the latest of everything, so it's a nostalgia trip to use stuff about my age or older.
5. I appreciate the quality and styling from my chosen time period enough to surround myself with items from that time for an authentic feel.

MRX37 09-27-2015 02:39 PM

I'm not much older then Arcanine. For me, collecting old stuff, including TV's serves a few purposes:

1: A bit of nostalga, though I'm not one to indulge much in that.

2: Older TV's, older electronics, they worked different, they looked different, and they were built different. TV's are a prime example. With new flat panel sets, something is lost. The picture is better, the sound? From what I've heard not so much. They're fragile, especially the screens, they aren't built as well, and there's less substance, less variety. Swap the brand labels and it'd be hard to tell who made what.

3: Every piece of old electronics I find or receive is a history lesson in and of itself. Everything from a BPC set, to that 50 year old tube TV I found a few months ago has a story to tell about its life.

And 4: I wouldn't have much of what I own today if it wasn't for collecting old electronics. Much of what I own has been found and often repaired.

wa2ise 09-27-2015 02:55 PM

"Young man, back in my day, TVs were black and white".. And there was no cable... :D

MRX37 09-27-2015 03:35 PM


Originally Posted by wa2ise (Post 3144783)
"Young man, back in my day, TVs were black and white".. And there was no cable... :D

And you had to wait for picture AND sound to come up. First it would be the sound, followed by the picture appearing very dim and large, and as the set warmed up it would shrink and become brighter.

And you had only three channels to watch back then, one which only came in on a good day, and if the President was making a speech, all three channels would be covering it and nothing else would be on!

And back in your day you had to listen to your parents tell you about how they walked 20 miles to school, barefoot in the snow...

vts1134 09-27-2015 03:53 PM

When I was growing up my mother didn't have a television for quite some time. We were very poor and rented rooms of our house out to other people. One of the people who stayed with us had a tiny portable B&W television. I used to watch Peter Davidson as Doctor Who until the wee hours of the night on that TV. TV was fascinating to me back then. As I got older it became commonplace and boring. I think a small part of me collects to make TVs fascinating and special again. As Nick said preservation of history is also a factor and I love telling the story of television from the 1878 illustration of "Edison's Telephonoscope" all the way through to television's eventual ubiquity in America's living room. The very best part about this hobby, and the thing that keeps me hooked, is the community. The eagerness to help, the generosity, the patience and skill to talk a complete beginner with zero knowledge of electronics through a restoration of a tube based television, it truly makes this hobby so special.

Oh and yea I'm with Nick...who doesn't like tubes?

LovesZenith 09-27-2015 05:43 PM

I think I can take the title for youngest enthusiast here (I'm 16). My oldest set now is from 1981, but I really do want some tube stuff. What draws me to vintage televisions is that they were so special to the people that owned them. These were people who survived the depression, and spending $1000s of dollars in today's money on them. They were so well built, and taken care of for that matter. The kids I go to school with are all so spoiled, and have to have the latest gadgets. I actually heard one child at lunch telling his friends how he was going to "accidentally" drop his year old Iphone in a sewer drain so his parents would buy him the newest one. Back to televisions - It is magical to me to walk to the front of a big wooden box to click a knob, and hearing it warm up, make noises, and suddenly throw thousands of tiny dots onto a piece of glass. Today, you press a button on a remote, and a flat black rectangle on the wall instantly shows harsh, too bright images. The sounds are different too. Tube audio is so warm, friendly, and inviting, I could listen to it for hours. Flat screen's sound is so dull and irritating. The old sets themselves are better, better made, better sounding, the colors are warm and pleasant. The same goes for vinyl records, they sound so good and alive compared to flat, boring MP3 files. They have more emotion, it gets in your bones. I don't have memories of walking into TV dealerships, or having the 1st color set, but the TVs carry nostalgia. They make me have those memories. It's an entirely different world these days, and I don't like it. I'm severely jealous of all of you guys who were around back then. My whole life has been, and will be, dedicated to keeping that lost old world alive. The clothes I wear, the things I own, the car I drive, the music I listen to, and the way I talk. I see all these dogtanking hipsters who destroy and deface old tvs and console stereos, and it makes me furious. I know I'm certainly a minority in my age group, if not the only one. I want to get all of these things, tvs and stereos and such, to save them from those people. I don't currently own a set too old, but I'm certainly trying. I don't know a thing about electronics, but I'll certainly learn so I can keep these things alive.

TUD1 09-27-2015 06:04 PM

I agree 100% with everything LovesZenith said above. I'll be 17 in less than a week, and I just love old stuff. I'm in Birmingham, AL, so there are quite a few good thrift stores and flea malls to find old electronics.

stromberg6 09-27-2015 06:19 PM


Originally Posted by TUD1 (Post 3144796)
I agree 100% with everything LovesZenith said above. I'll be 17 in less than a week, and I just love old stuff. I'm in Birmingham, AL, so there are quite a few good thrift stores and flea malls to find old electronics.

Your post made me smile. Happy that you can find good stuff where you are! I grew up in the 50s and 60s, and used to drive my parents nuts when ever I brought home another "piece of junk". Now driving my wife crazy LOL. I progressed from AA5s, and now really enjoy TV restoration (positively love early color!),and especially vintage audio.
Best of luck in the enjoyment of your passion, and don't let anyone discourage you! :thmbsp:
p.s. Hard as it may be, try not to become a hoarder. :D

bgadow 09-27-2015 09:37 PM

At 43, I'm out of the real "youngster" crowd now, but most of what I have is older than me. Tubes have always been a fascination for me. We didn't have a solid state TV in the house until the early 80s so I had plenty of chance to stare at those glowing bulbs through the back of a couple old GE sets. On the other hand, the only tube radios I'd seen were beautiful but didn't work. When I found a working AA5, it was just magic. I've been hooked ever since.

jbivy 09-27-2015 10:36 PM

I get the same feeling from restoring a tv and seeing a picture come up nice and clear, as when i get a classic car to sputter back to life after decades of sleeping. Theyre not "junk" anymore, they have a purpose again.

I dont know why i love to repair old things. I just do. Its cool, its history, with a bit of help it can be working history again. Plus, what else do i have to do in my spare time BUT play with old junk? ;)

Sandy G 09-27-2015 10:53 PM

Guys, I feel like there will be a small, but DETERMINED bunch of enthusiasts who would THANK us from, say, the year 2115, that WE took the time & trouble to "Restore" a bunch of these old things... Been a history buff all my life, & getting to "Save" a little of it, figures in BIG w/me... Also takes me back.. When I was growing up, "Happiness" was curled up in my Mama's lap, watching the "Huntley/Brinkley Report". I THINK we had a big old Zenith, & it put out quite a bit of heat.. That good, warm "Homey" smell that comes only from Tooob stuff. That was B4 LBJ's "Great Society", we ended up getting a 1st rate cable TV system early on, as we were "Disadvantaged", & the Gummint thought getting a cable TV system, would lift us out of the isolation, & backwardness that was endemic around here.

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