1971 Panasonic Orbitel TR-005C Space Age Flying Saucer TV
Third of my five new Space Age TV's, in Museum-like Condition
In a Nutshell
Attention Earth People, I am called "Orbitel". My number is TR-0005. I am straight from the Space Age. With technology to match.
On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched world's first satellite, Sputnik 1 into an orbit around planet earth, and 4 weeks later Sputnik 2 with dog Laika on board. This surprise success started the space race and what we today call the space age, succeeding but still being part of the atomic age, and precipitating the cold war between USSR and USA. First US launches (Vanguard) were disastrous, but the foundation of NASA in 1958 made missions like Pioneer 4, Mercury, Gemini, and finally Apollo great successes. The Apollo program was launched to do space exploration around (but not on) the Moon. Speaking to Congress and the Nation, President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 radically altered the direction of the program by saying: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish". The projected price tag was an incredible $25 billion dollars. On July 16-24, 1969 Apollo 11 (Columbia and Eagle) on a Saturn V with the astronauts Neil A. Armstrong (commander), Michael Collins (CM pilot), Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr. (LM pilot) accomplished the first manned lunar landing and lunar surface exploration (EVA), watched by over 500 million people around the world. From then on, amplified by the Challenger and Columbiaspace shuttle accidents in 1986 and 2003 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 public perception of space exploration got dominated by its dangers (Apollo 13, the Film 1995, "Houston, we have a problem") and costs (conspiracy advocates are still convinced that the moon landing was faked by using left-over scenes from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"); space exploration shifted to unmanned missions and to the private sector, respectively. Scientific and military progress had triggered Googie and atomic age designs in architecture and industry and space age designs for basic commodities, fashion, music and arts. A prominent example is the 1957 flatware made by Arne Jacobsen (pict.22 of my Video Capsule writeup), used in the Space Odyssey and still sold after 57 years for $20 a piece on eBay.
The 1971 Panasonic Orbitel TR-005C is the third of five space age TV's for sale. It looks very much like Sputnik 1 with its two long antennas, or like the model of a typical flying saucer, with its belt resembling viewing windows around the spacecraft. Unique features of this TV are a) its pearl grey aluminum like color, b) that it rotates 180 degrees on its chrome tripod, c) its twin antenna of 39" length each. Model TR-0005 and TR-005C differ only in the part number for the power transformer (ref.3).
About my Orbitel:
The TV is in mint visual and working condition. There are no scratches on the cabinet except a little mark on the back (center of pict. 12). The screen escutcheon has no chips as often found on this model. The two 39" antennas are original, complete and straight. The antennas and the tripod are free from any corrosion. The same TV, but with visible scratches, a chipped escutcheon and chrome pitting on tripod and antenna recently sold for $850, or was estimated to be worth $1500-2000, in non-working condition (ref.1). The chassis was cleaned and all moveable parts were treated with contact spray (pict.22). The set was tested with a VCR connected directly to the antenna with a piece of wire. The better way would be the use of a 75/300 ohm TV antenna transformer adapter, readily available in many thrift stores and on eBay. Watch a short video (click on pict.26) with the TV playing a section of "Casablanca". During the video volume, contrast and brightness tests are performed. The picture has good brightness and contrast and the sound is perfect. The blackened-out parts of the screen in some of the still photos are caused by missing synchronisation between camera and TV and are absent in live view. Please e-mail me (Kris) for any questions, ich spreche Deutsch, je parle Français.
Here are the specifications:
Technical Description of Item
Panasonic, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Japan
Black and White TV
Pearl grey (silver) perforated cabinet in form of flying saucer on 180° horizontally swiveling tripod
Solid state with transistors and IC's, 5" B&W screen
Standard VHF turret & UHF dial tuner
West to east: volume, contrast, brightness, horiz. & vert. hold, earphones, wave switch, tuning