When it comes to televisions, Rick Taylor of Ooltewah would rather repair them than watch them. And the ones he repairs don’t come with any initials like LCD or HD.
His passions run toward sets more than 50 years old, ones with names like Pilot and Crosley rather than Sony and Panasonic.
“Since I was a teenager, I’ve had this fascination for electronics and electricity,” said Mr. Taylor, 49, who termed himself more of a collector who repairs rather than a repairman who collects. “I do a lot of my own restoration.”
Older sets, particularly before the mid-1950s, while lacking the screen size or the bells and whistles of a modern television, survive better, he said.
Though they are “timeconsuming affairs to restore” and have “a bit more primitive electronics,” the sets can still be made to operate just as they did when they were new, Mr. Taylor said.
Rick Taylor’s vintage electronics collection also includes about 250 antique radios, mostly from the 1920s through the 1940s. He likes the radios, he said, because of the Depressionera design and cabinetry. “In such a bleak time, some of the beauty, some of the imagination in the design ... they were very much alive,” he said.
“I go for authenticity,” he said.
While picture tubes are harder to find for the vintage TVs, Mr. Taylor said, the many vacuum tubes needed for their inner works are plentiful.
Currently, he has 11 vintage televisions, about half of which have been restored to usefulness. He doesn’t profess a favorite but does list among his prizes a 1948 Pilot with a 3-inch screen (and magnifier) and a 1958 RCA Victor color set (with remote control) that retailed new for $925. That’s more than $6,900 in today’s dollars.
“I have a taste for large things,” Mr. Taylor said, “and not much floor space.”
Once restored, the sets don’t get a lot of use at his home.
“I rarely watch television,” said Mr. Taylor, who admits to occasionally tuning in vintage programs on his DVD. “Current television is lost on me.”
When the all-encompassing digital switch occurs in February, he won’t be lost, though.
“Like any current television,” Mr. Taylor said. “You just get a digital box to put on top of it.”
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...