A little over a month ago we were contacted by someone from NBC News in New York who was looking to put together a custom “retro TV” installation for their new offices. They had sent along a rough artist’s conception of what they were looking for- essentially, a large retro floor console TV on a 10 foot wide blank wall, along with smaller fascias hung on the wall, and needed something that was authentic, and could stand to run 24/7 with modern everything.
We exchanged some ideas; we happened to have a couple of 60s era console TVs here which were not yet listed on the web site that could possibly fit the bill. Out of the two, they chose this glorious 1964 Magnavox roundie color TV in a terrific Danish Modern cabinet.
It hadn’t even been two weeks since we picked this set up from an Estate in the Chico area, and the cabinet wasn’t without character… the primary reason we had not yet listed it as being available. Well loved, the top of the cabinet had years of accumulated muck where one might place their hands to fuss with the built-in tuner and record changer. The cabinet simply needed to be restored in order to be up to standard.
Seeing as this set was going to become a Masterwork series color conversion, it needed to be immaculate. NBC opted to delete the AM/FM tuner and record changer, and to convert the changer cavity into a storage area for cable box, DVD player, or Laptop with convenient HDMI port inside. We’ve fabricated a replacement bottom to replace the piece cut out for the changer. The tuner-side door will be sealed shut.
Hot out of the shop: we’ve just finished up another Masterwork Retro Color TV. Based on the 1958 GE Ultra Vision, we’ve fully modernized the electronics and updated to color.
Stellar’s Masterwork Series of Retro Color TVs are seamless updated adaptations, intended to bring the classic vintage styling into today, with modern technology and reliability. Every unit is a one-off custom built work of art.
CRT screens are notoriously difficult to photograph, as interference patterns appear which do not to the naked eye, as in the photos shown. The cabinet is in near mint condition. Front panel volume and power buttons are fully functional, and the set is remote-control operated.
This set comes standard with RF and composite inputs. Seamless HDMI functionality available at additional cost.
We have a number of vintage television sets which can also be updated like this listed in our Vintage TVs For Sale section. We can also convert your own vintage TV or empty cabinet!
All Masterwork Retro Colorsets come with an industry standard 1 year warranty from the date of purchase. Financing and layaway are also available. Come see the set on display inside Googietime Fabulous Fifties Furnishings, located inside the incomparable Midway Antique Mall here in Sacramento.
The time has come: the ’58 Olympic B&W to color conversion is complete. This is a custom unit that we’ve restored and retrofitted for Mel and Shane O’Brien over at Hepcat Restorations. Do check out their blog- they’re doing some really incredible restoration work and have one of the finest collections of 50s modern furniture I’ve ever seen!
Retrofitting old black and white televisions by gutting the old TV and setting a new one inside is not a new idea- but the main problem with this is degraded aesthetic and authenticity, and a loss of function of the original front panel controls.
We’ve seamlessly retrofitted the 24″ black and white TV with modern electronics, and have taken great care to make the original front panel controls function appropriately, along with the added benefit of a remote control. The original radio and audio amplifier chassis has been completely rebuilt, as well as the phonograph. We can do similar conversions to most other pre-1965 television sets as well. Here is a video tour of the unit’s operation:
Shane came up with a pair of very cool Grundig satellite tower speakers off of a high end Grundig Hi-Fi console, and inquired whether we could adapt the TV to use these speakers externally. Of course we can!
I’ve fitted the TV with a secondary car audio amplifier and 12 volt power supply to drive his speakers, shown above. Trying to find proper speakers to fit in the mondo openings was going to be a real challenge…. as it’s not really the size that was going to be an issue- I could throw some 6x9s in there just fine. The issue is that most speakers do NOT generally have shielded magnets, and stray magnetic fields wreak havoc on color CRTs. Ever place a magnet near the screen of a color tube TV? If so, then you know what I’m talking about! Using the external speaker towers actually alleviates some of the potential engineering difficulties by having allowed me to use standard (albeit small) shielded TV speakers inside the cabinet. Not bad though, as these little speakers are still designed to handle some power, but not like the Grundigs soon to be paired up!
The back cover has come together nicely. Originally, I hadn’t envisioned having any of the donor’s black plastic cabinet being used in any way, or at least being visible like this. Lacking the facilities to craft an all-wooden back cover, this ‘hybrid’ was the best I could come up with by freehanding with the old jigsaw. Not too bad, but on the lower limits of what I’d call acceptable. Oh well, Onward and upward!
New video electronics installed and set is displaying a picture!
This Olympic used a very unusual 24″ black and white picture tube… when most TVs of the era were 21″ this was a king-sized model. There was no way to prevent the small bits of the top and bottom of the new picture tube from showing when the set is turned on. A 21″ set would not do this, and is something we’re just going to have to live with on this set. The next size larger tube would definitely not fit in the cabinet.