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Old 12th May 2021, 11:49 am   #1
Panrock
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Default Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

There was an exhibition of vintage television receivers mounted at the Science Museum in London in 1980, billed as "The Great Optical Illusion". Philips Industries and Thorn Consumer Electronics were involved, and I understand Gordon Bussey was responsible for the overhaul of the sets. I welcome more information about this and others who may have been involved.

Certainly, the sets performed impressively and in particular I remember seeing a pre-war Baird T5, showing a large and bright picture.

Now, stevehertz has very kindly sent me the original newspaper-size document that accompanied this event along with some other historical items. I have now scanned this to make it available here. You'll see the 'centre-spread' was hand drawn and shows some very interesting sets!

It's worth noting that at the time of this exhibition, the 405-line service was still on the air, proving that the historical interest of vintage television sets was already being recognised before these broadcasts ceased.

There are three levels of access to the scanned images. Firstly, low definition copies of the three pages are placed here as attachments, to give you a taste. Secondly, you can download three 1500-pixel-high jpegs HERE (the introduction), HERE (the centre-spread) and HERE (the vintage set ads), which are big enough to read properly. Lastly, I have the 300 dpi original knitted-together scans. These can be sent by email following a request by PM.

Hope you enjoy! A big thanks to stevehertz for the original document and keeping it all these years in good condition.

Steve Ostler
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Old 12th May 2021, 1:31 pm   #2
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

Thanks to Steve & Steve !

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Old 12th May 2021, 2:47 pm   #3
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

There was also a working Pye 817 5" vision only set on demonstration. Gordon Bussey told me that there were three of them, one working and another two as spares 'in the back'. Apparently they had been discovered in an outhouse somewhere in London and the sides of the cabinets had literally fallen away to dust, such was the degradation. The might and power of Philips was used to restore them, totally rebuilding them including tubes and cabinets. I was really struck with that set and much later was able to purchase one of them from a gentleman who had acquired one of the three. Alas I no longer have it having sold off the bulk of my collection to fund a domestic situation in the early 90s. The attached photo is not my photo, I found it (the photo) in my collection. It will certainly be one of the three at the GOI show, whether or not it's mine, I don't know, but it looks exactly the same.

As for the GOI show, for a vintage TV enthusiast it was about as good as it gets. I'll never forget it. It's about time they had another..
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Old 12th May 2021, 2:56 pm   #4
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

What a thing of beauty!
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Old 12th May 2021, 3:58 pm   #5
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

And no visible ion burn either! What type of tube is this?

I dimly remember seeing such a set working at the exhibition too.

Steve
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Old 12th May 2021, 4:16 pm   #6
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

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And no visible ion burn either! What type of tube is this?

I dimly remember seeing such a set working at the exhibition too.

Steve
I think Philips rebuilt the tubes including replacing the phosphor coating. No expense was spared according to Gordon.
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Old 12th May 2021, 4:30 pm   #7
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

Was it really 1980 - how time flies!

I went to see it and, amongst other exhibits, was amazed at the picture quality produced by an Ampex 2" quadruplex video recorder playing back a 405 line Armchair Theatre (ABC Television - IIRC) play.
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Old 12th May 2021, 4:56 pm   #8
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

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No expense was spared according to Gordon.
Yes, and I seem to remember Gordon saying all the components to be replaced weren't snipped out, but the joints were taken back to bare tags.

Steve
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Old 12th May 2021, 5:10 pm   #9
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

Thank you for the picture of the 817 Steve. The tube is a Hivac T5M 5 inch with electro mechanically focused and scanned. Some sets had Mullard tubes fitted with a 6.3v heater.
The 817 uses side contact EF6 valves and is a vision only set.
I did talk to Gordon About the set and the 9 inch console which he also had restored many years ago.
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Old 12th May 2021, 5:16 pm   #10
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

The 9 inch set is the 843 of 1938 which is on display at the Science Museum London.
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Old 12th May 2021, 6:53 pm   #11
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

I'd been working at Philips for around seven years when all the restoration was going on. A few sets found their way into the workshops at Waddon for cabinet work. There was one person in the cabinet works who would be described as a 'Master Craftsman'. He did all the Dynatron cabinets with all the inlays BY HAND! So when a few of these old cabinets came to him he actually made new panels and spent ages matching veneers and making replacement panels indistinguishable from the originals. A huge amount of work went into restoring these sets.
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Old 12th May 2021, 7:26 pm   #12
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

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I'd been working at Philips for around seven years when all the restoration was going on. A few sets found their way into the workshops at Waddon for cabinet work. There was one person in the cabinet works who would be described as a 'Master Craftsman'. He did all the Dynatron cabinets with all the inlays BY HAND! So when a few of these old cabinets came to him he actually made new panels and spent ages matching veneers and making replacement panels indistinguishable from the originals. A huge amount of work went into restoring these sets.
What his name? I recall Gordon mentioning that he had a master craftsman who he used to restore his own cabinets to original spec, proper lacquer etc etc. Jack?
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Old 12th May 2021, 8:19 pm   #13
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

He's long dead now unfortunately....he was getting on a bit in 1980! Yes it was Jack although his surname escapes me at the moment ...we're talking 40 odd years ago....!
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:18 am   #14
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Default Re: Science Museum Exhibition of Television - 1980

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He's long dead now unfortunately....he was getting on a bit in 1980! Yes it was Jack although his surname escapes me at the moment ...we're talking 40 odd years ago....!
I recall Gordon telling me that Jack used to work on cabinets at EMI back in the days of wooden cabinets.
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