Saturday, June 11, 2011

Finally found a vintage TV, actually two! I Predicta you're going to like these

So I've been wanting to find a reasonably-priced vintage TV set for the house, preferably one that works.  I have this idea of setting it up to play old black and white TV shows (3 Stooges, Leave It To Beaver, stuff like that).  I look a lot.  Sometimes I'll find something I like on that auction site, but it's usually 2,700 miles from me and the seller won't ship!  I also check the local Craigslist, but you don't see too many vintage TVs on there.

On Memorial Day weekend I spotted a sweet looking Predicta on Craigslist, but it had two problems:  one, it was kinda highly priced at $249, and two, it was in Annapolis.  That was Memorial Day weekend.  NO WAY was I going to try driving toward the beach, I would die of old age trying to get there and back with all the beach traffic.

But seeing that ad prompted me to check ebay, and I spotted some TVs that were in Rockville, MD, just around the beltway and not real far from where I work.  I contacted the seller and he said he had a bunch of TVs and old radios he bought from an estate, and he said I could come look at them.  I noticed a number of portable TVs in his auctions, and also, a Predicta that had a starting bid of $19.99 with no reserve.

So I took a long lunch on Wednesday to check out the stuff.  I had enough cash in my pocket I figured to get something.  After looking things over I asked if he would end auctions early if we could agree on a price for something and he said yea, it would save him having to package and ship things.  So we cut a deal on these babies:

This one is small and light weight but has great lines and matches the colors of our 1962 Shasta camper - woo hoo!

This beauty is the perfect size and color to use with our 1962 Shasta Airflyte camper.
 I plan to take it apart and clean it then find someone who can go through it and make it work.

Don't you love the details that went into the channel selector?  Why can't design today be this good?

Even the antenna housing looks cool!

So that's the GE portable.

And this, dear friends, is one awesome Predicta!

I have to do some research on both of these before I even attempt to plug them in.  From what I know there are people who know a lot about the Predicta, and one or more who will even restore them.  In the meantime, I'm now looking for the right TV stand for the Predicta.  Being a fanatic for black wrought iron hairpin legs, I want one of those TV stands that has a swivel base - I think that would be perfect for this set.

So, how will these sets look after they're cleaned up? Don't touch that dial!  I'll be back with more on each of them once I make some progress.


  1. Awesome finds! I have a Philco 1954 Golden Grid console with radio/phonograph but it doesn't work properly. From asking around and looking online, it is a lot of money/work to repair old TV sets and often the picture tubes will just crap out so I'm not going to be fixing it. I'll fix the radio/phono one day though :) I bought it mostly because it is in a cabinet with doors, so I can put a modern LCD inside but close the doors and it will still look authentic!

  2. Wow, love them both but man, the Predicta is to die for! What a wonderful find. I can't wait for your updates.

  3. Sweet! Congrats! It feels so good to finally find that one thing you are hunting for so long!

    Can't wait to see them after you worked your magic!

    I'm not sure about running my 50's Packard Bell. No doubt a tube will go any time soon. I don't know how to fix them (The Drug Store no longer has that nifty tube tester it had when I was a kid).

    Times I am tempted to gut it and stick a new TV screen in the back, and DVD old shows like you!

  4. They're gorgeous! Congratulations!

  5. WOW AWSOME! I love both of them but the first would be GREAT in a camper and what nice colors!

  6. Oooohhhhhhh, great Predicta! I can't wait to see yours all spiffed up! I have one almost exactly the same but mine is called the 'Siesta' model. It has a little clock that you could set to turn the TV on and off automatically. My Predicta actually came with the original stand. They are pretty basic stands really, with brass legs and a bottom shelf.

  7. Thanks for the comments everybody. From what I've learned so far, this is the Debutante model, the lower end, and somewhere I read that these were used in motel rooms. I'll do some more digging.

  8. Wow! These are really fantastic. You really never see vintage tv's around the sales anymore. I can't wait to see them all tuned up and turned on!

  9. For my Predicta, I am using a hairpin aquarium stand until I find something better.

  10. Thanks Amber.

    Mike, that's a cool idea, I'd love to see a photo.