1940s television, resurrected

Andy Brown has been working on a project to re-create a 1940s TV using a set he found in a barn a few years ago, and a Raspberry Pi. The TV plays period programs from a USB hard drive (it can also stream content from the internet), and will be part of a display at Making the Best, the Brown family’s shop in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. Video first from different stages in the project’s development, then some explanatory notes from Andy.

The Original Television Set – Probably built by Pye or Invicta, this 405-line, black and white television set was made between 1939 and 1947. The original tube is a Mullard MW22-7. This tube was used in a number of different television sets of the wartime era.  This particular set, was rescued from a barn in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire in 2004.

Original Condition – The television set itself was in remarkably good condition and has been retained, possibly for future restoration. Much of the veneer on the cabinet was peeling and the cabinet, overall, was beyond both economic repair and my veneering abilities.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is ideal for painting wooden furniture. The paint is very easy to work with and it is not usually necessary to strip or prepare pieces before panting. With Annie’s range of paints and waxes, it is possible to create a wide range of finishes with the minimum of fuss.

My concept was to re-create a 1940’s-style ‘television’:

*By replacing the original CRT with a modern flat screen
*Use a Raspberry Pi computer in place of the original television receiver
*Re-produce a cabinet style, using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, to compliment that of the original
*Use a light distressing technique to give the impression of ageing
*Producing a working unit, capable of playing period programmes from the internet and/or stored on a USB memory stick
*Produce a working internet ‘television’, mimicking the original set.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Andy – it’s looking great. Send me a note letting me know where your shop is so I can direct people here to it; my parents live quite near you, and I’d love to drop in too some time. (And maybe buy some paint.)