RCA CT-100
The Merrill
Chassis Serial Number B8002390
Cabinet Serial Number 663

This page is devoted to emails and communications with others involved with the restoration of CT-100s.

Email sent to Pete Deksnis 6-24-01
My name is Fred Hoffmann. I came upon your web site when I did a pix tube rebuild search.
I have been in the television broadcast business since I was 20 (1970).
My first job was at KRIS-TV here in Corpus Christi, TX.  I am an amateur radio operator, K5OG, and I collect classic radios, both transistor and tube sets.
NOW ------ I have a CT100 RCA in my garage. I knew it was probably rather rare but had no idea just HOW rare until I found your site. I
will take some time here to give you a history of the set and the condition it is in.

The set was originally owned by T. Frank Smith, Sr. He was a broadcast pioneer in Houston and here is Corpus Christi. KRIS-TV was started in
1955. Prior to that he owned (actually built) KXYZ-AM in Houston. He also put one of the first AM stations on here in Corpus Christi. It was
KRIS-AM which later became KRYS-AM.  Mr. Smith passed away in August 1972. His wife, Helen passed away about
3 years ago. We remained friends until her death even though I had left KRIS in 1983. I have one of Mr. Smith's Signal One CX7B amateur radio
transceivers and a Grebe CR-18. The CR-18 can be seen at my web site: pakratz.com along with a few of my other radios. OK, back to the CT100.

This TV was stored, unknown to me, in a bonded warehouse until about 1976 or so when his son, T. Frank Smith, Jr. had it move to the
transmitter site and stored in the metal transmitter building. I had no idea at the time what kind of set it was and never paid any attention to
it. A new transmitter building was built and the old building became a storage shed for many years. After several years of sitting there, the
building was to be torn down and I was part of the group trying to clean it out. I found the old TV and took a look at it. It was complete
except for the metal screen back and the HV cage cover. All the knobs and tubes are still here. One tube is broken. The CRT appears to be
OK. The neck is OK and the screen is not discolored as if it has gone to air. NOW THE BAD NEWS!!. During all those years, rats made nests in
it and pissed all over the chassis causing the surface to rust. The underside is still very nice but they also chewed thru the paper
cylinder on the electrolytic cap and some of the paper on what looks like a choke or a transformer in the front right part of the chassis.
The tuner area is in about the same shape. The cabinet finish has pealed in some areas and probably needs a refinish. It is also
scratched in many places but no damage to the main cabinet. All the labels are on the back top and inside.  Even though it was in sad shape I
just decided to haul it out of there.  I stored it at the KIII-TV transmitter site for about 15 years or so (air conditioned and clean so no further damage occurred).
I had long ago removed all the rat nests. 

Now for the rest of the bad news. :-((
When I left KIII-TV in 1997 I had to move it here to my house. We used my son's truck to move it. We covered it with a large blanket and took
off. About half way here the blanket blew off AND SO DID THE TOP!!.  Hell, I never knew the top even came off! I felt terrible. There was
quite a bit of damage to two corners and the surface was scratched but it was not totally destroyed.  So, now it sits in my garage. I was planning to start work
on it next year after we get through remodeling our house and I get my new work shop built.
The good news is that it is mostly complete (except as described above)
and will not get damaged any further.
Here are the numbers on the set:
Top label CT100
On the chassis
41 5L1
RVB 274
1103207-1 SUB 4

and something below it I could not quite make out but is similar to the RVB number above.   It looks like THE MERRILL pictured on your site.

Now, considering how rare this TV actually is, perhaps I need some experienced person, to get me started on the CORRECT way to restore this
TV. I think with a lot of work it would play again. I'm an electronics engineer and have worked on TVs and everything else in a television
station for 30 years so electronic knowledge is not a problem, just lack of experience with this chassis. I also have no idea where parts might
be obtained if needed. I would like to restore this set to as close to like new condition as possible. The cost of restoring this set is not a problem.
I have the Sams and all the test gear I think I might need.

Add one more to the number known to exist. It will be great to get this magnificent old set completely restored. I hope to hear from you soon
and perhaps stay in touch during the restoration of this television (for what will probably be some much needed help and information). I have
digital and 35mm cameras and should probably start documenting the process right now.

Till later
Fred Hoffmann

June 25, 2001
Hi Fred,
It's been a long day and I just lost about three paragraphs of my first response to your much appreciated
email. Basically, your serial number has confirmed that a second set of serial numbers may exist. Your seven-digit
number is the second I've seen of that type; the other is 1111283 and is on a CT-100 in Connecticut. All the others
have a B800 number, eg, B8002177, the set just given to the Bellingham museum. Anyway, the B number is stamped in
the metal on the rear of the chassis near the flat resistor; sometimes the resistor covers some of the number.
Great story. I'll use it as the first or second entry of a new Tidbits page -- with a picture if you get a chance.
Have you checked the filaments of the 15GP22? Are the getter flasher still silver? If we develop a successful
rebuild process, it will probable be useful only for tubes still under vacuum.
Thanks for responding to my site.

Pete Deksnis

Emails from June 26, 2001
I found this number under the resistor on the rear of the chassis
I think that's all the numbers. :-))

Yahoo! The B number places your set about 2/3 up the s/n scale.
I'd use the 260 on the X1 range to ring out the filaments. The 15G has three 600 mA heaters in parallel,
so there's no danger of damage. Notice the ebay CT-100 went this evening for $3310 -- good 15G but a sick CTC2.
Hope your tube is good!

June 28, 2001
Hello again from South Texas
I've got good news and bad news.
First the bad news:
I am missing the vertical and horizontal hold knobs and the volume control knob. I thought all knobs were there but they aren't. They had
been removed and placed in a bag at some time in the past. The chassis was also unscrewed from the cabinet so I must assume something went
wrong with the electronics and repairs were attempted. At least some trouble shooting was done.
I found a mint, never used, Sams Folder #252-11 in my collection.  Now for the good news ( I hope):
I checked pins 1 and 20 and found continuity.
I checked the face of the CRT carefully and it looks uniform in color with no distortion.
Between the yoke and what appears to be an electrostatic device of some kind near the back of the tube there is an area of the neck exposed.
The part near the front is black but the rear part is a large area of silver. Is this the getter? If so, it is bright shiny silver all around.
I'll get the pictures shot this weekend and will set up a page devoted to my CT100 on my web site. If you don't mind, I'll put a link to your
site on the page as well.
Summary of my findings to date:
Apparently a good picture tube (Waiting on info on the getter)
Sound cabinet with some overall surface scratches and some damage to the lid, especially the corners. Grill cloth is excellent.
Missing volume control knob
Missing cabinet back
Missing HV cage cover
Broken Horiz output tube.
Surface damage to entire chassis including tuner - rust and corrosion.
Cardboard capacitor and coil/transformer covers damaged.
Underside of chassis appears to be in good condition. More checking this weekend.
My goal is to have this unit working by Sept 2004.
Let me know what you think about the picture tube.

7/12/2001 From Pete Deksnis.
If I had your tube, I'd apply an external filament voltage to see
whether or not they get hot. [I've heard of one collector who claims to
have stabilized a 15G by running the filaments at half voltage for a few
months. I'm not a chemist, but the story is that rids the tube of
contaminates that have leached out of all that metal in there.] Anyway,
you might rest easier if you knew the filaments were still able to heat
up properly.

I'm enjoying your site.


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Created: July 1, 2001. Last Updated: June 15, 2013
Copyright 2001, PakRatz, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA