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Restoring a Vintage Television

With Australia celebrating 50 years of television last year, I thought I should celebrate the occasion and restore a TV set that was around not long after it started. But like the hare in Mrs Beaton's cookbook, I first had to catch my set...

By Timothy Stewart

In my quest to find a television to restore, I had a particular one in mind – an AWA Model 229, from around 1958. My grandparents had owned one back then; in fact it was their very first television. They were the second house in the street to have a TV set and early on they had made many new friends thanks to that television!

Back then television was still magic and somewhat of a mystery to most people. Crowds used to gather on the footpaths outside retailers just to watch the TV sets in the window (often with no sound!).

I had an old black and white picture of the AWA, so knew what to look for. When one turned up on eBay, I just had to have it. One problem: I’m in Sydney and it was in Melbourne. So having won the auction, I arranged to have it freighted to Sydney. This cost nearly three times as much as the set.

What have I done?

The set duly arrived about a week later. It was as described on eBay and bearing that in mind, I knew it would take a fair amount of work before this would be a working clean example of a 1950s television.

Click for larger image
This old, grainy photograph was the picture that started it all. I wanted one of these AWA Model 229s, just like my grandparents had back in 1958

The set, while all there, was dirty. The set had apparently been stored in a damp location as much of the veneer on one side had lifted; some corrosion on the chassis was evident and other components had suffered, which I’ll mention later. And not least were the many bugs that over the last few decades had taken their last breath between the screen and the safety glass.

Before starting any type of repair I like to clean the dust off the chassis, remove all the valves and check for anything that’s obviously missing.

Having removed the chassis from the cabinet and then getting rid of the dust using some paint brushes, a vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth, I then washed all the valves, being careful not to rub off the delicate valve number markings.

One valve in the tuner (a 6U8) was obviously gassy (a white/grey look inside) and was replaced with a new one. I next turned my attention to its underside.

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