Philco Televisions - High deaf gifts?

It's nuts how much television you can get for five hundred dollars. To the unfortunate troglodytes of 1957, twenty-four inches of grayscale was dizzyingly exciting. Know what, though? I'll bet their TVs sounded better than the built-in speakers of our TVs.

Here are two reasons your TV probably doesn't sound as good as these Philcos.

Reason number A) Unless your a pharaoh or a sultan or something, your TV's cabinet is probably made of ABS plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). It's my favorite plastic. Yeah. I know. Who has a list of favorite plastics? Dorks, that's who. But ABS is great. It's damn strong, but you can easily trim it with a knife. It comes in brilliant colors. It tolerates thermal softening and reshaping without weird results. Also, it doesn't easily discolor over time and isn't very susceptible to sun bleaching. Legos are made of ABS for chrissakes, so shut up.

However, there isn't really any plastic that makes a good acoustic resonator. That hasn't stopped people from making everything from radios to drum kits out of plastic - mostly because it's so easy and great to make it look cool. Know what resonates very nicely with sound? Wood. Even plywood can sound great with a speaker mounted to it. Go rent a plastic cello and see how that sounds.

Yes, there are companies making carbon fiber cellos and stuff, but CFs freaky stiff properties can be manipulated to great effect in an acoustic instrument. Plus, it's a composite material, and not technically "just plastic".

Yes, you can get a tabletop radio made of plastic that sounds amazing, but the manufacturer has engineered into it special subwoofers and labyrinth channels to coerce decent sound out of a plastic radio. With wood, just give it a strong-ish speaker and screw it in nice and tight and you're done. Wood is acoustically wonderful.

Thing B) Almost all TV speakers today are an afterthought. They're only included to tick the box on the product manager's clipboard. "Yep! It's got speakers!" Yes, it will make sound at useable volume, but televisions are all about the picture. You're pretty much expected to buy, at least, a sound bar or use a component surround sound system with your TV.

Then there's the fact that TVs can be so thin nowadays. There's hardly any room for a decent speaker in there anyway. You think they're going to design a hefty cabinet just to make room for nice speakers when they can have a sexy thin cabinet to show off their anorexically thin LCD tech? Pull the other one.Your TVs picture is way better than your TVs sound.

Because all non-portable TVs were made from wood back then (the one that woman is carrying probably wa smetal and plastic), the sound quality was probably pretty great. Plus, nobody assumed you would be hooking up your TV to an external system. That was crazy talk, daddy-o.

Ooo! I just had a brilliant idea!
1 - Source two really old, beat-up cellos somehow. School rummage sale or SomebodysList.com?
2 - Take the guts and electronics out of a pair of nice, but possibly beaten up 12" three-way floor speakers.
3 - Make the cellos into your new speaker cabinets.

I am a genius. You're welcome!

So, let's see what you could expect to pay for these bad looking, good sounding TVs, back in '57.

Let's see. Inflation Calculator says that $279.95 amounts to $2,361.45 in modern day FutureBucks. And that's the starting price for Philco's "Wrap Around Sound" models. Oof! Philco's regular TVs started at $179.95 (or equivalent $1,523.09). Ladies and gentlemen, we are truly spoilt.

Hey! That lady carrying the TV looks familiar! Sure enough, she's basically the same piece of art Philco used in that other ad we posted in August '14. See?

She's obviously a heavily referenced painting of a photograph. They just did a new version with different clothes and slight changes to her face, and added the bow on the TV. It's interesting to look at two different rendering sof the same photo reference. It makes you wonder if the model looked exactly like either painting, or if they were taking creative licence with her face in both cases. I wonder if the model got an extra check for the re-use. Only joking. I don't wonder that at all. Of course she was paid just for the one photo shoot. Random models don't get royalties.

In any case, we posted her as a Graphic Gift back in '14, and of course we must provide her Christmas version now, just for the sake of completion, right? Gotta catch em all! She's a PNG.  She's got a present for you. She's 1600 pixels tall of pure woman, and she's all yours. You're welcome!

Click for full ad.

Click for 1600px left page.

Click for 1600px right page.


Michelle_Randy said...

You could make some cash money on Etsy with that cello idea. Of course, shipping would be a bugger, but there's plenty of hipsters out there with too much of daddy's cash.

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