I want my, I want my, I want my UHF TV....
June 10, 2021 11:25 PM   Subscribe

I would like to find at least the front face of the kind of TV I grew up with, with one dial of VHF and one dial of UHF. This is for a personal art project. The TV does not need to work.

I looked on eBay, I looked on Craigslist, I looked on Facebook Marketplace, I've asked my neighbors. Where can I find at least the front of an old TV?

Please assume that I am physically and emotionally lazy and not willing or able to travel far for this, that I am not willing or able to hunt through flea markets or secondhand stores, so I am not looking for recommendations of "if you go to this place they may have that but if they don't keep trying every weekend, or call them to see if they have this."

I would be willing to pick it up in Los Angeles in any condition, or would pay for shipping if it's from somewhere outside my orbit. But I just can't/won't call anyone about it (text or email is ok) and my current life and brain don't allow me to go hunting through potential treasure troves.
posted by erst to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I meant to put this as a hyperlink in the post and can't edit it now, but this is what I mean about the dials.
posted by erst at 11:30 PM on June 10

I would call a local electronics recycling facility. They may or may not be able to help you...for a price.
posted by amtho at 12:03 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

If you search eBay for "vintage TV", you will find a number of old TVs with separate VHF and UHF dials.

Are you just looking for something of the right period with two dials, or for the exact model you had as a kid?

If it's the latter, you need to work out what the manufacturer and model number for it are.
posted by automatronic at 12:05 AM on June 11

Although I didn't have any luck with the photo that you posted, you can try a reverse Google image search for the television that you're looking for.
posted by mezzanayne at 12:14 AM on June 11

Response by poster: Just to elaborate, the pic I linked to was meant to be an example of an old VHF/UHF TV dial set as an example of what I'm looking for, and I didn't mean to imply any specific model.

Also, in case it wasn't clear, I'm not willing/able to make a bunch of calls to places to find out if they have an old TV, I'm not willing/able to go to or call different vintage shops or flea markets to find out if someone has an old TV. And also if it wasn't clear, I have searched eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace repeatedly for months. If you can find something like this there, I would welcome a link to your search, because I can't find it. I am really bad at searching for these things sometimes, which is why I reached out to the hive mind.

If anyone has seen something like this recently and knows it exists at a specific physical place I will happily contact that place. I am not looking for recommendations of how to potentially search for this. Thanks!
posted by erst at 12:29 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ebay has a whole section for Vintage Televisions here
posted by Lanark at 1:14 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]

Have you tried putting out a "Wanted: old TV with dials" on the localish sites you've mentioned? There's a difference between "what I have that I want to get rid of" and "what I have that I didn't know somebody wanted for something".

Also, Pawn shops.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:47 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Worth mentioning that there are potentially lethal voltages inside old TV sets, so you shouldn't attempt to take one apart unless you know exactly what you're doing. And also, the front of the TV doesn't include the glass, because that's part of the vacuum tube.
posted by pipeski at 4:19 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

there are potentially lethal voltages inside old TV sets
Just to emphasize, this can mean 20,000 volts several days after you last powered it on.
posted by Lanark at 4:40 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Best answer: And also if it wasn't clear, I have searched eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace repeatedly for months. If you can find something like this there, I would welcome a link to your search, because I can't find it.

Here is one on eBay for $100, free local pickup from Woodland Hills, LA.

I found this in two minutes of searching eBay for "vintage TV" so I don't know what you've been doing for months.
posted by automatronic at 4:57 AM on June 11 [16 favorites]

Best answer: I feel you on the fatigue issue. It's real.

Also, I don't know how relevant this will be, but I did find a seller that makes 'prop' vintage TVs, just like the one you mentioned. These are sold as bar decorations, and are nonworking TVs - so there's no risk in electrocution if you need to dissect one. However, upon close inspection, it's pretty obvious that the 'screen' is just an iron sheet that is stapled onto the body of the TV: TV Bar Decoration.

If you need an actual TV, I did find this one that's available on ebay. It's advertised as nonworking, which seems perfect for your project: Vintage TV for parts/repair. It's also reasonably priced, and a lot less expensive than the 'TV bar decorations' above.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:28 AM on June 11

I would check the Goodwill site. A cursory search for vintage tv brings up quite a few interesting pieces.
posted by General Malaise at 10:32 AM on June 11

eBay, Facebook Marketplace. Not sure why you weren't seeing these very same results.
posted by metabaroque at 3:53 PM on June 11

Are you familiar with Freecycle? Freecycle is the low-energy way to find (and give away) free stuff. It's basically reverse Craigslist - you post "hey I'm looking for this" and if someone has it, they contact you and you work out the arrangements to transfer the stuff. This is the site for the LA chapter.

Unfortunately, a niche request like yours is almost always going to require some level of effort, due to the relative scarcity of the item being asked for, but Freecycle's probably the most low-stress way to find things like this.
posted by pdb at 5:53 PM on June 11

Response by poster: Thanks for the links, y'all, even with all the "you are lazy and stupid" snark. I mean, hey, I already knew that I was currently lazy and stupid, thought I made that clear, sorry if I didn't. Currently working through it with therapy and meds, sorry to put my inability to do anything on y'all, maybe I should have posted some backstory or something so you'd feel sorry for me and help me kindly out of pity or some shit, but that's actually the last thing I want right now.

I'm very tired, and the people who posted actual links were very helpful.

posted by erst at 1:12 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

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