The Geek Atlas: terrific tech shrines that every geek should see

This new book outlines the best places in the world for nerds and geeks to visit before they die. We selected some favorite places, including the HP Garage, the MIT Museum, and da Vinci's last home.

Early Television Museum, Hillard, Ohio

The Early Television Museum is dedicated to the mechanics and electronics of television.

The museum's collection begins with the mechanical television sets of the 1920s and 1930s, which had between 30 and 60 lines (compared with 480 visible lines on a conventional NTSC TV set today). The museum's collection includes a working 1930 Baird Televisor (which originally came as a kit), and a Davin Tri Standard built from articles that appeared in "Popular Mechanics" at the end of 1928.

The museum's collection continues with black-and-white electronic TVs made as early as 1936. It has a large collection of U.S. televisions as well as a collection of British, European, and South American sets. Many of these are in working order, as the Early Television Foundation (which runs the museum) works to keep history alive by restoring or repairing its exhibits.

The first color television sets on display date to the early 1950s; the first two color televisions were made available to the public in 1954.

The transmitting side of TV is not overlooked, either. The museum features a collection of cameras, monitors, and test equipment, plus another of TV tubes, antennas, and accessories. It even has a mobile TV transmission van dating from 1948.

And no visitor should miss the chance to appear on 1930s television. The museum has restored an RCA flying spot camera, which traces a spot of light over the visitor's face to build up an image. Stand in front of this camera, and your face will appear on a working, 60-line, 1930 RCA television set.

Shown above is a DuMont RA-103 Chatham TV, from 1947.

Photo courtesy of the Early Television Museum.

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