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History Of the Philco Predicta

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Introduced in 1958, the Philco Predicta line rejuvenated the industry and made TV fun again. In 1957 the economy was experiencing a mild post-war recession causing some manufacturers to try gimmicks to augment sales. Philco didn’t quite know what to do; they were perpetually in a state of management turmoil. Clearly, they needed something dramatic to turn things around if they were going to survive as a company. This led Henry Bowes, the marketing vice-president, to set the future direction when he said, “We need a dramatic new concept of TV forms.”

The Philco “Pedestal”, as it was originally called, was quick to attract nicknames such as “gas pump”, “cyclops”, and the “barber pole”. The Pedestal was designed by Severin Jonassen and German Emigre’ designer, Cathrine Winkle, one of the few women who worked in the Philco design department during the 1950’s.

As Predictas were black and white, the combination of color television becoming more popular (and less expensive), and internal/external problems with the sets, led to their demise. The worst problem that plagued the 21″ Predicta was poor picture tube performance, and as the novelty wore off, the news of its unreliability spread, sales dropped and never picked up. In 1960, shortly after the Edsel was dropped by Ford, the Predicta was permanently shelved. Some remaining sets were sold in bulk to hotel chains. Sadly, in 1962 the Philco company went bankrupt. Its remaining assets were purchased by the Ford Motor company.

If you enjoy 50’s, 60’s, Retro or Art Deco style decor or you are someone who just wants a television that is different and unique, that no one else has, you will want to have one in your home.

 


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