Hallicrafters Model T-54 Television (1948)

           

This Hallicrafters T-54 is the same television as my model 505 and 514, only in a cabinet of gray painted metal.

Here are all three TVs pictured together, along with my Hallicrafters SX-42 radio and its matching speaker.

        

The family resemblance is clear. The T-54 and SX-42 are obviously designed to complement one another. The 505, with its wooden cabinet, would look more at home in a living room and it was more popular than the T-54. The last set in this group is a model 514 in a leatherette cabinet with removable cover and carry handle.

Televisions styled like "boatanchor" communications receivers were odd ducks. The only other one that I've seen is the gray metal version of the National TV-7.

I haven't begun restoring this television yet. These photos were taken when it was fresh from the packing crate, before I had even brushed off the dust.

I bought this radio during the silent auction at the 2009 Early Television Foundation convention. My winning bid was $80, a fair price for a TV that was dirty but in complete, original condition. I hired the Craters & Freighters company to pick it up, make a custom crate, and ship it from Ohio to Washington. The ETF folks were kind enough to let me store it in their back room until I had made pickup arrangements.

This photo shows the empty crate on our deck, after I had removed the TV.

Craters & Freighters did an excellent job of packing. The TV was first wrapped in layers of bubble wrap and foam sheets, then encased in layers of stiff plastic foam, all contained in a sturdy double-thickness cardboard carton built to size.

The T-54 cabinet is pretty robust, so I wasn't too worried about shipping damage. The odd scrapes and dents that you see in the front-on photo are the product of use over the decades. Like the SX-42 radio, the T-54 TV has a hinged top, which was partly open when I took the first photo.

The next photo shows the unrestored television from above, with the hinged cover swung out of the way. Before leaving it to be shipped, I removed all of the small tubes. They traveled home in my backpack, causing the X-ray machine operator at airport security to give my pack a long, careful look.

The picture tube was mounted securely, so I left it inside the cabinet. However, I carefully packed the empty interior with plastic scrounged from the museum's back room, just in case the CRT began to wiggle loose.

Stay Tuned . . .

That's all for now. I'll update this article with more photos and restoration notes after I finish the project.

For technical details and more information about fixing one of these sets, see my 505 article.

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