The Philco Predicta: One of the most recognized TV sets in North America

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Milica Sterjova
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One of the most recognized designs of television sets in North America belongs to Philco, a major radio and television manufacturer in the 20th century. It is the Philco Predicta television receiver set, which was first produced in 1958.

Unfortunately, the Predicta series didn’t enjoy a long life. Philco discontinued production of the Predicta in 1960. Nevertheless, a large number of these TV sets were sold between 1958 and 1960, and thousands of them can still be found today. There were several versions of the Predicta: 17“ or 21“ screen, wood or metal cabinets, table top or floor standing versions.

One very important disadvantage was that Philco’s new TV set appeared at a time when color television was the leading-edge technology; the Predicta was black-and-white. Another problem was the poor picture quality and the overheating of the circuit boards. This lead to a huge rate of returned TV sets and warranty service problems.

Philco Predicta, Pedestal, 1958 Photo credit

 

Philco Predicta, Penthouse, 1958 Photo credit

Philco Predicta, Holiday, 1958 Photo credit

One of the Predicta sets, called “Pedestal”, was introduced in 1958. It was a console model. The 1958 line also included two other models, the “Holiday” and the “Penthouse”. The “Holiday” was the first model offered to the public and the “Penthouse” was a first attempt at some kind of remote control.  It was also the model with the detachable screen.

The latter was apparently popular in bars due to the fact that it could be moved closer to the customers. In 1959, the “Princess” appeared. It had a light and compact metal cabinet. A similar version of this model called “Siesta” appeared in 1960. This one had a clock above the tuner designed to turn the set on and off automatically. The last model of the Predicta series was the “Continental”,  produced from 1960.

Philco Predicta, Princess, 1959

Predicta Continental model Photo credit

The Predicta series have become so popular over the years that in 1996 Telstar Electronics obtained the rights to their patents and began manufacturing the television sets with modern technology. The series was known as the Telstar Predicta and came in all the styles and colors that were once produced by Philco. They were produced until 2011 when high-definition televisions appeared on the market.

Although not as successful as Philco might have hoped, the Predicta models left a mark because of the uncommon design. Today they are favorite items among collectors and they maintain a reasonable value as evidenced by the fact that a large number of them still exist.