I have Tammy to thank for my latest and greatest find. She happened to spot something in the “Free” section of Craigslist that she knew I’d probably love.
An awesome vintage console TV! When she sent the link I didn’t figure I had a chance because the posting was over a week old. Much to my surprise it was still available and a few days later I picked it up from a very nice couple who were downsizing and were just happy not to have to haul it out of the basement themselves. Their trash, my treasure. It was love at first sight.
I don’t know exactly when it was built. RCA’s New Vista line of electronics ran through the 1960s, but a quick web search for the model number from the back of the set returned several old newspaper ads that seem to put it right around 1968. Although this black and white beauty is a walnut clad console model, its electronics are a mix of solid state and vacuum tube components, making it much lighter in weight than earlier versions.
I’ve had other consoles before—a couple blondes and a 1959 Zenith with a swivel base that I was quite partial to—but in the end I’ve always given them up because they usually don’t work and take up a lot of space while contributing little beyond aesthetics to my small house. But I always knew I’d eventually find one that I loved too much to get rid of and I feel like I’ve finally got a keeper. Although many people might gut it to make it into a bar or a pet bed or put a flatscreen in it, I like it for what it is and I have no plans to modify it except for having it electrically restored to original working condition.
It’s important to mention that safety should be taken into consideration when buying vintage televisions. While solid state electronics (those made with transistors versus vacuum tubes) are usually safe to plug in and test, tube-based technology should be handled with more care. With circuits capable of handling thousands of volts, failure of the old paper electrolytic capacitors can smoke, damage components and possibly even cause a fire. If you’re in doubt, have a repairman check it out before plugging it in. If you plan on using the device regularly, it’s a good idea to have all of the capacitors replaced to ensure trouble-free operation for another 40 or so years.