The Danger Zone —TV Technicians in Carleton Place



Television reception came of age in the 1950s. It was a time when prosperity had returned to most homes and many people could afford to purchase a black and white television.  However, television reception in the 1950’s was an expensive, and at times a challenging, experience. I know first hand that my father was on the roof on an almost daily basis adjusting the antenna for better reception. Those were the days of TV repair safety hazards– technician and home owner.


In the 1950s, a black and white television receiver might have had several dozen vacuum tubes and cost approximately $300.That was a lot of money at a time when an AM table radio cost only $20. The 1950s television receiver was physically large and complex. In fact, it was probably the most complex device ever to be introduced into our homes.



I have deep respect for the people who could decipher that mess– but then again, hello fellow vintage Volkswagen owners. Service techs back then didn’t have cameras on their phones to remember where that piece they took out went back. There was no board. Technology and wiring in general was really complicated/clusterfinicky before circuit boards

My father, the electrician, told a story many times about some fellow who was working on a television who went out the room to get a beer. His partner in crime decided he would take matters in his own hands and plugged the TV back in. It didn’t do anything, so he turned it off. The  original guy assumed it was still discharged, touched something in the back, and sent the screwdriver in his hand flying so fast it embedded itself in the wall.

They were fire hazards, and lethal to anyone that dare take the rear cover off, and poke around with a screwdriver. If it was an old TV, you better also know how to safely discharge the high voltage cap that was still charged even after pulling the plug! Many an old TV tech got the crap zapped out themselves on a regular basis. Do you know how many times I was told never to touch or go near the back a TV set– and for God’s sake unplug the TV when there was a storm.


Top marks for being able to service something like this. Considering the amount of bare wire inside, it makes me wonder how these things didn’t just burst into flames. Wait, didn’t they burst into flames periodically?  So were the dangerous days of being a technician. Hence the offer of a free house from Mr. Flint!

Ah, the smell of old electronics… oh man!

1959 ad in The Ottawa Journal
Photo of one of the first Televisions from Flint’s TV store from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.


Dedicated to Keith LeChausseur- Our man of the hour for TV repair back in Cowansville, Quebec.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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