Remember when televisions were furniture?
Let's look at some beautiful wooden TV sets from the past.
If you were a midcentury television manufacturer, you needed far more than electrical engineers. No, to make boob tubes one required carpenters, lumber suppliers, wood stains, fabric, brass. The TVs of the 1950s, '60s and '70s were more than electronics — they were furniture.
The Zenith or Philo in your living room matched the coffeetable and couch cushions. The bulky cathode ray tubes required sizeable cabinets to house them, and thus televisions became works of true craftsmanship. The facades were decorated with phony drawer knobs and pulls. Ornate oak veneers covered cloth panels. The hefty boxes stood on fancy bracket feet.
Gosh, we really miss these works of art.
Today, televisions are all screen, massive panels of plastic and glass. Unless you live in an ultra-mod, minimalist home, they don't really go with anything. Perhaps that is the point. Televisions today are the focal point, the centerpiece. Decades ago, people tried to hide them behind wooden doors, tucked in the corner like a bureau.
Let's take a look at some old-school televisions.
Early on, televisions were clearly evolved from home radio cabinets, tall and blocky. Like with these sets from a 1955 catalog.
Soon, the footprint began to expand, as sets looked more like console tables. You could put a bowl of fruit or flowers on your television. Or, if you had the model in the upper left, with the shelf, you could decorate with both.
Some could even hold a large lamp. Televisions were meant to be tucked away. When company was over, the screen went bye-bye. This hidden pop-out is gorgeous.
Zenith's Space Command remote control may have been something from the 21st century, but the television itself could have fit in the Victorian era.
A faux keyhole. What were we trying to pretend to hide inside our televisions?
How many times did you yank on the handle as a kid?
There were looks to match any home, from colonial to midcentury modern.
In fact, people thought televisions would always look like this. Check out RCA's vision of the new millennium, circa 1969.
What did your TV look like growing up? Do you miss these grand, classy televisions?
Probably not if you're moving apartments.