In 1968 Arthur Bracegirdle (yes, really!) Created one of the greatest space age designs of all time, the Keracolor Television!
The Keracolor goggle box was made in England, it was the first perfectly spherical television made from fibreglass.
Along with the Eero Aarnio ball chair these are for me, the most definining products of Space Age design. They featured in many period publications as well as ” L’Utopie Du Tout Plastique”, “The Sixties” Phaidon and “Collecting the Sixties” by Madeline Nash.
The small scale production was expensive and this was reflected in the staggering retail price, you could buy a standard family car for the same amount in 1968. It was sold only through a few exclusive outlets, Harrods of Knightsbridge being one of them.
The original television had a Decca Bradford chasis, which was state of the art for the day. After a few years of production Bracegirdle switched to Polycarbonate for the outer casing, as it was more cost effective and durable. This also made the Television a lot lighter – if you have ever tried moving the Fibre glass model you will know!
By 1970 the range grew to include a rectangular model – boring! also hanging number, wood effect! Various screen sizes were available, including 20″, 24″ and 26″.
Also that year some groovy advertising came in to affect, with Lotus; another Great British company using Fibre Glass, branding the Keracolor name on three of their yellow Lotus Europas for promotional purposes! This model was the car recently purchased by the football star George Best, to give it even more kudos.
The company dispanded in the late 1970′s, with a brief reprise in 2007 when they started producing the old bodies in small quatities using the old casting machines to order using Thompson CRT chasis. At over £2500 they were expensive for something that contained 1990′s technology, but they were hand assembled and it did at least have a scart socket for a digi box! They also had a great official website which seems to have dissapeared along with the newly re-formed company…If anybody knows of there were-abouts, I would be keen to know?
This bring me on to my own “Project Keracolor”! I own a matt black 20″ set which I purchased about 4 years ago after much searching. The original valve chasis was complete but beyond repair…so I removed the chasis and replaced it with a curved mid nineties Sony Trinitron chasis. I realise this must be sacriledge to most Television purists! Sorry. I currently have a cheap LCD flat screen in it whilst I service the Sony Trinitron tube, this can be seen in the accompanying images.
The second part of the renovation is purely down to aeshetics. The Polycarbonate body is rather dull and scratched, so needs a re-spray by my local Carbody Paint shop, this is essentially like re-spraying a car bumper. Question is, do I spray it its original black colour (a much sought after and rarer colour) or go for white, which is my preffered colour? Hmmn, decisions decisions!