An advertisement from Life Magazine, April 26, 1954.
From the Early Television Foundation:
“This set was the *first color set for sale*, in March of 1954. It was priced at $1,295. Westinghouse ran a full page ad in the New York Times introducing the set, for sale at 60 stores in New York. Not one of the stores reported a single sale.
In April the price was cut to $1,110 after only 30 sets had been sold. Only 500 were built, and most were never sold, because there was very little programming in color at the time, and the set was expensive and temperamental. This is one of only a few of these sets still in existence.”
* Added by author. Actually it appears the Admiral C1617A was the first all electronic color television offered for sale. See this page. The Westinghouse H840CK15 may have been the first electronic color set sold, but no one knows for sure. We found photographic evidence that an Admiral C1617A was in a dealer showroom as early as January 17, 1954 and evidence the first documented sale (discovered by this author) was sometime prior to May 16, 1954 in a restaurant and “a few sets were in installed in private Chicago area homes” earlier. How much earlier? We do not know when the first Westinghouse color set was first sold.
Westinghouse Starts Production January 10, 1954
April 3, 1954 Admiral Cuts Price.
First documented sale (I’ve found so far) of the Westinghouse H840CK15 sometime prior to April 30, 1954.
Admiral Stops Production
As of July, 1954, Westinghouse color sets were on sale in the New York/Jersey area, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Los Angles and San Francisco. Courtesy Star-Gazette, Elmira, New York.
By September, 1954, Westinghouse reduced the price of the H840CK15 to $595.
We just acquired a Westinghouse H840CK15 at the annual Early Television Convention auction held on May 5, 2018.
This photo, courtesy of Wayne Bretl at the convention.
The set was described as having an “excellent” 15GP22 CRT with a complete, but unknown chassis condition. Three photos of the flyback area look clean. As always, tap on image for larger size.
The set will be crated with five layers of protection. I asked Larry at the museum to make sure the chassis’s bolt are tight and secure. When the 21CT55 arrived, we found two bolts on the cabinet floor. No damage occurred because the set was immobilized in such a way that the set could not move within the crate. We are doing the same for the Westinghouse with a “floating” isolation platform on a pallet.
This time I won’t have the pleasure of uncrating the Westinghouse, instead, it’s going directly to Mike’s ranch about 50 miles Northwest of me. That will save him three trips to my home. Mike will be doing the restoration as I do not have the skills to work on a television of this complexity.
A word about Mike Doyle, a Videokarma member.
I met Mike in 2011 on EBay after calling his phone number to talk about a recapped Sony Micro set he worked on and which I purchased. His next project for me was bringing back to life a SONY TV 8-301W, followed by a RCA 21CT55 and a RCA CTC-7.
Mike started out his career as a television repairman. Over the decades he worked on well over a thousand televisions, both color and black and white of all brands. He told me he has repaired over 500 flybacks and never had one fail within their normal lifetimes.
In the 1980’s, Mike worked for CalTech/JPL. He was the lead engineer of the team that designed the prototype Hubble space telescope. Specialty, optics. Later, he worked at the Mt. Palomar Obseratory in Southern California. He helped to maintain the telescope optics and other projects. Mike is a very low key man and I had to coach this information out of him.
Tap on images.
Mike is now enjoying his retirement with his wife on their ranch. We have high confidence in Mike’s abilities to restore this set. Still, we will undoubtably reach out to the vast data bank of information possessed by the members of the VideoKarma forums. More to come.
Update, July 11, 2018
After a long delay, the Westinghouse H840CK15 is finally on its way to Mike in Arizona. Here you see the set crated. The only way to go when shipping 2000 miles.
Update, July 20, 2018
The Westinghouse arrived at Mike’s place today. Below, the meeting and unloading operation.
The meeting at Exit 20 Interstate 40.
Pix 1 and 2. A smooth transfer from the FedEx truck to my truck.
Pix 3 loaded and strapped in and ready for the trip on 12 miles of dirt road. SLOW
Pix 5 A 1954 loaded in the back of a 1974
Pix’s 6 and 7 Rigged and ready to unload. This is really a lot safer than it looks.
Update, July 21, 2018
Uncrating completed. Good news, no apparent visual damage. We won’t know more until basic testing. Full recap will be done prior to attempting to light the tube. More photos to come.