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Object Timeline

-0001

1959

  • Work on this object began.

2008

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2018

  • You found it!

Predicta Television, 1959

This is a Television. It was designed by Severin Jonassen and Richard Whipple and manufactured by Philco (Philadelphia Storage Battery Company) and the design director was Herbert V. Gosweiler. It is dated 1959 and we acquired it in 2008. Its medium is metal, glass, molded plastic. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The Philco electronics firm was founded in the 1890s in Philadelphia and became a leading manufacturer of audio products, particularly low-priced radios. Philco television sets of the late 1950s and early 1960s are among the most iconic of American television designs; the sets were made with a swivel screen so that viewers could adjust the monitor to face them at various angles. The Predicta model television set was first introduced by Philco in 1958 as the first of several portable television models produced in the late 1950s. The initial design, made in both pedestal and wood-case models, was a floor-standing unit. The Predicta’s trademark “low neck” screen was a departure from the classic home television and was first produced for the Holiday Inn hotel chain before it became popular with the 1960s consumer market.
This 17-inch Philco Predicta Princess is a tabletop television. The screen sits atop a case of perforated metal, which makes the set particularly compact and lightweight. This move towards portability marked a change in American living room culture—from the television as a family’s central gathering point toward a more individual interaction. As its name suggests, these models were marketed toward women, particularly for the homemaker who could adjust the position of her television while doing housework. The Predicta Princess is an example of the trend to specifically target the female consumer through product design in the late 1950s and 1960s.
The Predicta’s modern casing was an intentional departure from the traditional stationary designs that mimicked the furniture-like radio receivers of the early 20th century. The futuristic aesthetic was influenced by an interest in space age technology, prompted by Russia’s Sputnik launch in 1957. Philco’s advertisements for Predicta touted a “TV Today From the World of Tomorrow!”
The Predicta would be the first example of an American television to enter the museum’s collection. Its distinctive aesthetics and formal qualities make it a worthy design object in its own right.

This object was donated by Jan Staller. It is credited Gift of Jan Staller in honor of Max Staller.

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 62.2 x 62.5 x 27.3 cm (24 1/2 x 24 5/8 x 10 3/4 in.)

It has the following markings

Lower right front, above channel dial: "P" logo in red and black above "P H I L C O"

Cite this object as

Predicta Television, 1959; Designed by Severin Jonassen and Richard Whipple; USA; metal, glass, molded plastic; H x W x D: 62.2 x 62.5 x 27.3 cm (24 1/2 x 24 5/8 x 10 3/4 in.); Gift of Jan Staller in honor of Max Staller; 2008-29-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18715437/ |title=Predicta Television, 1959 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 December 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>