Monday, 4 April 2011

Oldest working television set expected to sell for £5,000

Image courtesy of The Daily Telegraph
Oldest working television set expected to sell for £5,000

On the same day that my TV aerial is upgraded ready for the digital switchover next year I stumble across this story about the sale of the antecedent of all modern televisions.

After 10 or so years of development the very first commercially-available television sets went on sale in the mid-1930s and now Bonhams auction house has one of the very first - the seventh production model, if the article is to be believed - in full working order and ready to be sold to some lucky collector.

It joins the (still rare) ranks of functioning, almost antique television sets alongside the example featured in this B.B.C. report some months ago (below)

Despite the intervening 75 years these Marconiphone 702s are still recognisably televisions and you could watch programmes on them today, if you wanted to (I know I do!) - which in fact the chap in the second article has actually done!  It's appearance is (to these eyes) a welcome antidote to today's flat-screen black boxes (why isn't wood and Bakelite used in TVs these days, I ask you?!) but at the same time it is also a reminder about how far household technology has progressed, not to mention highlighting how commonplace the television has become over the last few decades (and not always for the best, it has to be said!).

Sadly I can't stretch to the £5,000 this particular example is expected to fetch, so I'll just have to add it to my dream 1930s home and trust that whoever it ends up with will appreciate it and preserve it for future generations.  Now I'm off to see what other delights are included in Bonhams' enticingly-named Mechanical Music and Scientific Instruments sale...


  1. Too cool. My mom told me she first saw a TV at the world's fair in 1948 - didn't know they were around so much earlier.

  2. I saw that post title and thought there would be a gap in my living room! ;) My TV is a serious hand-me-down!

  3. I’ve been longing for one for my collection for a while now- would settle for a late forties or early fifties one, but would much favour a thirties one (keep dreaming, girl). I don’t think I’m making this up (wouldn’t surprise me both ways though) but I think my grandpa made their first tv- cool huh! Tups x

  4. If a set today came on the market made from Bakelite & adhered to the design principles of Modernism I would beg steal & borrow from practically everyone to get my hands on one. In fact I may just do this to raise the £5,000 for this one!


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