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CED in the History of Media Technology


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Philco Predicta Princess TV

1959: Philco Predicta Princess Swivel Television

Like RCA, Philco was a pioneering company in radio from the early days. One of their major innovations, shortly before World War II, was the first wireless remote control, in this case for the large radios of the time. This was called the Mystery Control as Philco was deliberately vague about how it worked. But the remote was itself a small RF transmitter of limited range. In the 1950's Philco was facing hard times and came up with the concept of Predicta televisions that featured a tilt and swivel CRT. The first model in 1958 was a floor-standing unit that looked a little like an old-style gas pump. Philco introduced the tabletop Princess model above in 1959 and had another model called the Penthouse with the CRT on a 25 foot cord. Unfortunately the Predictas did not rescue Philco from its financial woes, and the company went bankrupt in 1962.

These Predicta TV's have amassed such a loyal following that the Princess and other models are being authentically reproduced by CB Electronics. The Apple iMac computer introduced in 2002 owes some homage to the Predicta, which may account for its simultaneous retro and futuristic appearance. The Philco Predicta Princess model was used in the CED title Grease. It can be seen on Side 2 of the disc in the diner scenes at 01:00, 16:53, and 23:40.


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