Blighty's oldest working telly discovered
Marconiphone 702 still used in London house
Despite the advent of HD TVs and Freesat, a UK-based telly that’s over 70 years old has won the…ahem…enviable title of being the country’s oldest working set.
Jeffrey Borinsky still uses his Marconiphone 702 - made in 1936
Owned by Jeffrey Borinsky, a consultant engineer from North London, the Marconiphone 702 TV is still, amazingly, in full working order. It’s even been updated for the digital area – thanks to the addition of a set-top box.
When new, the set would probably have cost 60 Guineas – about £11,000 ($18,172/€12,775) in today’s money.
It’s been estimated that the TV – which won its title thanks to a marketing stunt designed to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing digital switchover – was manufactured in November 1936, the same month that a regular BBC TV service from Alexandra Palace was first broadcast.
Owners of the set through the decades would also have probably watched King George VI’s coronation procession in 1937 on its 12in screen, in addition to the 1948 London Olympic Games.
“I still enjoy watching my Marconiphone occasionally, especially cartoons from the 1930s, which the original owner might have seen on the set”, said Borinsky. ®
Reminds me of that urban legend.
This young couple are going round all the electrical retailers in town looking for a TV for their new home. They’re not that bothered about size or price, but they have one vital requirement: it must have doors and a stand. Of course, none of the shops they visit have anything like that, and they get a lot of funny looks, and salesmen trying to sell them other things. Finally, they try the town’s old department store. The electrical department there is a bit small and a bit dated, and the old departmental manager, who the floor assistant passes their request on to, is very old school – shirt, tie, waistcoat and pocket watch on a chain. But he does know his stuff.
“Ah yes,” he replies, “we used to sell a lot of sets like that, back in the day, but nothing like that exists now. There were specialist models, for schools and the like, that had doors and stands, up until a few years ago I believe, but the new flat screen models have rendered even those obsolete. Of course, the idea was that the domestic television was supposed to stand as a piece of furniture on its own, and one could close the doors and pretend it wasn’t there. There was a lot of snobbery against ownership of televisions back then. That has all changed of course, and, in my opinion, not entirely for the worse. To my certain knowledge, though, no set like that has been available at retail for over thirty years.”
“Are you sure?”
“Quite positive. Why would you want such a device, if I might ask?”
The couple look embarrassed, and then, with a resigned look, the man admits, “Because if it’s got doors and a stand, it counts as furniture, and we can get Social Security to pay for it.”
Only a 1964 Cabinet
Nice solid Mahogany cabinet . With folding doors to hide the tube.
Too good to throw out.
Don't make like that any more.
And I thought ...
Here I thought my parents 1955 Philco was old :-)
(Dad worked for Philco back then, and the only reason it still runs is that he built the thing in the first place ... It's the bit of kit that he taught me electronics troubleshooting on in the '60s, and is almost a part of the family. Every now and then we run across a stash of tubes (valves to you Brits), and we have a couple working picture tubes for it (it is on its third). When they go, I'll probably put a flat screen into the console, just because it's a lovely piece of walnut furniture.)