Color TV tuning wand?
November 21, 2009 10:50 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend was telling me this story last night. I think the TV guy was just having fun with them. She also said the "wand" made "colors" on the screen. I think it was a stick with a magnet on it. Does the Hive Mind have any recollections of this "tuning" wand? Story after the jump.

I lived in Logan, Ohio when we got our first color television. It was around the early 60’s. The television was a floor console. A tech man came with it and set it up. I remember him telling us until he used a color wand it wouldn’t show color well. I watched him go in front of the television and wave it in front of the screen for awhile and when he was finished he said it was all set to go.
posted by patnok to Society & Culture (12 answers total)
Was it a degausser, I wonder?
posted by GPF at 10:56 AM on November 21, 2009

It's possible it was a degaussing wand.

Ah, analog.
posted by mkultra at 10:57 AM on November 21, 2009

The terms seems to be "degaussing wand" or "degaussing coil."

With pictures.
posted by GPF at 11:00 AM on November 21, 2009

Thanks.....That must be it.........
posted by patnok at 11:07 AM on November 21, 2009

This used to be a common problem (particularly with nearby stereo equipment), but in the 1970s and 1980s TVs began to have degaussing circuitry that activated with every power cycle. These may have originated with CRTs, as displaying text was more sensitive to the distortion effect; at one point many included a degauss button you could press.

For a long time it was still a high school physics trick on the level of putting everyone on the van de Graaf generator.
posted by dhartung at 11:14 AM on November 21, 2009

Yeah, even the last tube display I owned (an Apple Studio 21") had a degaussing button hidden on the back. But it also auto-degaussed on power cycling.
posted by rokusan at 12:03 PM on November 21, 2009

I once very cleverly decided to use a PA speaker as a stand for my 80's colour TV. Even the degaussing circuitry couldn't undo the rainbow coloured damage done by the huge speaker magnet.
posted by merocet at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2009

Definitely a degausser. I learned this when I pressed a stack of neodymium magnets against my TV screen to see what would happen, and it left a big purple discoloration. Apparently, if you find yourself in a similar situation, you can stick a couple of magnets on the end of a drill and spin them around in front of the screen; the rapidly switching magnetic field evens everything back out.
posted by Dr. Send at 3:08 PM on November 21, 2009

Yeah, we had one of these when I was a kid. It was kind of a circular thing, and you'd sort of pass it in front of the TV. I have no memory of whether it did anything real or whether it was just fun to wave around.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:13 PM on November 21, 2009

Definitely a degaussing wand, yup. The pawnshop where I used to work had one we used to fix the colors on TVs that had been exposed to magnets.
posted by EarBucket at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2009

Bought one last year and used it to fix a friend's horribly magnetized CRT TV... they are still in widespread use. Magnets (or strong fields) + CRTs = bad. Soon to be obsolete, but not quite yet so.
posted by FauxScot at 2:25 AM on November 22, 2009

A regular magnet will also affect the colors. Sometimes permanently.
posted by yohko at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2009

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