Flying Spot TV Pickup Device

The unit shown here was part of the material provided with a television correspondence course, circa 1938, provided by the American Television Institute, of Chicago.  

Some of the copy from a 1938 advertisement for this course can be read here.

The unit shown consists of a photocell mounted in a metal housing.  Internally, it was wired as a photoelectric relay (one of the hundreds of experiments they advertised).  Similar photocell setups were used as "cameras" for flying-spot TV pickups.

A.T.I. Photocell Unit

In 1938, all-electronic TV broadcasting was already a reality in Europe, and only a year away in the US.  It is interesting that outdated mechanical TV techniques were included in this course.  The explanation may lie in the unavailability of reasonably priced camera tubes for the experimental market, a problem that RCA corrected with the introduction of the type 1847 iconoscope in 1940, intended for the amateur market.

A.T.I. Nameplate

A.T.I. Photocell