The Incredible 1958 Philco Predicta TV

With increasingly bad money problems at the old radio company, Philco, the company sought to market a daring science fiction influenced television model for 1958 called the Predicta. With an external picture tube, the then futuristic looking TVs often found themselves as some prop in some movies. The TVs are an iconic late 50’s item, just like the Edsel, but both the Predicta and the Edsel unfortunately sold very poorly.  By, 1961 Philco was facing bankruptcy issues and Ford Motor Company stepped in to buy out Philco creating the new Philco-Ford brand. Ford used the company to build radios for their cars, but later  sold to GTE which owns Sylvania. Philips Electronics purchased the company in 1981 so that they could use their Philips name in the U.S., which previously they could not because the names Philco and Philips had enough similarity under U.S. patent and trademark laws.

With the lack of color TV models as well as product quality problems, and only the strange look of the Predicta as their best marketing effort, the Philco company really didn’t have a lot of game in the fast growing TV business compared to brands like Zenith, RCA, Westinghouse or GE, and it was only a matter of time before the producer of old time cathedral style radios would be out of the modern electronics business.  But, the Predicta is a great collector’s item and pretty representative of some of the more excessively styled 1950’s products. 

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