Telcan Domestic Video Recorder

Contributed by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

The Telcan domestic video recorder designed and built by the Nottingham Electric Valve Company in 1963 © NCMG

The Telcan video recorder was demonstrated to the public at Alexandra Palace, home of the BBC, on 24th June 1963.Developed by Michael Turner and Norman Rutherford of the Nottingham Electric Valve Company, the Telcan or 'television in a can' was an early attempt at production of a domestic video recorder. Using quarter inch tape on a reel to reel system, the machine could record up to 20 minutes of low quality black and white television programmes on each side of the tape. Available in a variety of formats, including a rather challenging kit, it required a good deal of skill to construct. The machine was finally demonstrated to the public at the BBC's Alexandra Palace, on 24th June 1963. While it proved a revolutionary development in home entertainment, machines were expensive and could not meet the increasing move towards colour programming. As a result, the parent company Cinerama withdrew funding, bringing an end to the Telcan. Only two machines are known to have survived, this one at Nottingham Industrial Museum and one in San Francisco.

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