Treasures & Trends
Question: My parents lived in Chicago throughout the 1940s and ’50s. They purchased their first television set, an RCA T-120 in about 1949. The tabletop model had a 15-inch screen and matching wooden stand. Incredibly, even after more than half a century, the primitive set still works. We also have the original instruction booklet that came with the set. I have two questions: What is it worth and is it worth keeping? – Alice, Tucson
Answer: Some of the more popular television shows your parents would have enjoyed during the 1949 season included “The Goldbergs,” “Stop the Music,” “Roller Derby” and “Wrestling from Chicago.” Although Chicago had TV as early as 1943, it was a full decade later when switches were flipped in Tucson and KOPO-TV, Channel 13, became the first commercial station to sign on in southern Arizona.
Your set was manufactured in Camden, N.J., and featured a black-and-white metal television that had four tuning knobs on its front and two speaker openings on the top. It is remarkable that your television set still works but even more so that you still have in your possession its original instruction booklet and stand. Although collecting TVs is not as popular as old radios, I contacted several enthusiasts who are active in this field of collecting. Together, we have come to the conclusion that your set is worth in the $350-$500 range. That is the answer to your first question.
The second inquiry must be something that you and your family discuss and decide.
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In addition to his work for the Tucson Citizen, Larry Cox writes book reviews and a weekly collectibles column that are syndicated by King Features and distributed throughout the United States and Canada. E-mail: email@example.com.
Q: I have an older Steinway piano that has several broken strings. Since the instrument is a family heirloom, it means a great deal to me. Can you recommend a good technician in Tucson who can do this work for me? – Lisa, Green Valley
A: Several years ago, when I had my 1924 Weber Duo-Art player piano restrung, I hired Scott Ramsey to do the work. He did excellent work at what I thought was a fair price. Ramsey, a member of the Piano Technician’s Guild, tunes, repairs and restores older pianos. His telephone number is 744-7234.
Q: I have a cuckoo clock which was made in the Black Forest of Germany during the early years of the last century. It has stopped working, and I suspect it might need a general cleaning to get it functioning once again. Whom do you recommend? – Eric, Tucson
A: Viki Watson, owner of Ye Olde Clock Shoppe, can advise you. Her contact information is 6342 N. Oracle Road, yeoldeclockshop.com and 544-4014. Her technician, John Guerin, is one of the better repairmen in the region.