When television first appeared, Americans thrilled to the sight of the spectacular moving images on a whopping seven-inch screen like the one on this 1948 Admiral TV. NBC demonstrated the first television broadcasts at the 1939 New York World's Fair, but it took another decade for televisions to move into the average American home. RCA set the industry standard in 1947 by mass-producing the first affordable TV, which, like this Admiral set, featured a seven-inch screen. In the fall of that year, NBC, owned by RCA, reached almost four million viewers when it aired the first broadcast of the World Series. By the end of the year, 170,000 American households had a TV. In 1948 there were three television networks and one million TVs in use in America. This 1948 Admiral television exemplifies TV sets of the late 1940s: the Bakelite case and small screen made it more affordable than TVs with larger screens and wood cabinets, but the small screen made viewing difficult. An early owner upgraded this set with a clamp-on magnifying glass. Imagine needing that for your TV today! Still, regardless of its size, a TV set brought great magic into the American home.


  • Title: Television
  • Creator: Admiral Corporation
  • Date Created: 1948
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Type: Entertainment and Music
  • Medium: bakelite, glass, metal
  • Object ID: 98.474
  • Credit Line: Gift of Dane Gordon

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps