Doug Jaynes remembers the Curtis Mathes Company:
"First my grandmother had a Mathes fan old style with wood. I also worked in Fort Worth for Knox and Poff delivering Curtis Mathes TV’s combo's and just about anything they had. It was a heavy product but it was a good one. I loved the wood and the way they were put together. Also if you will visit Craigslist you will find a model from the 70's someone is trying to sell for $225.00. It is under electronics in Killeen, Texas. It even has a eight track player on it. Love the 70's because they were a time of discovery for me. Curtis Mathes was part of it. Also went to Athens to pick up combo's for my place of work. It was something that was a great experience. We need this back in our country now."
Thank you Doug for sharing your memories and Amen.
Prior to establishing the Curtis Mathes Corporation in 1957, the founder and namesake had considerable experience selling and manufacturing home appliances. Mathes started a distributorship for Philco products in Amarillo before moving his operation to Fort Worth prior to World War II. After the war his company became Mathes Coolers, manufacturers of window fans, evaporation coolers and room air conditioners. Mathes and the company succeeded well with his line of cooling apparatus. They were marketed first in Texas, later throughout the western United States.
In 1957 Mathes made another corporate name change. Within a few years the newly established Curtis Mathes Corporation was producing phonographs, radios and both color and monochrome television receivers.
He watched as each chassis, after being punched and drilled, was passed down a human-powered assembly line on a wooden cradle for workers to fit transformers, tube sockets, filter capacitors, and the like. Each worker had a large drawing highlighted in bold colors showing parts to be fitted at that stop. After a trip down the component line and the wiring line, which Vaughan states was not much longer than a basketball court, the chassis was complete. It was then carried into a small, RF shielding screen Room where the chassis was connected to external components such as speakers and given a final alignment.
Great videos below:
The Chordettes, We Should Be Together, playing on a Curtis Mathes.
I'll Wait for You, Frankie Avalon, 45 rpm Chancellor records
During Vaughan's visit to the Athens plant, Curtis Mathes himself announced to the select group of dealers including Vaughn that C-M Corporation had solved a marketing dilemma by introducing a truly convertible color TV. Vaughan notes that during that period many potential TV customers were reluctant to invest in either another black and white or color receiver. Consumers expected that vastly improved color TVs were on the immediate horizon. Many had chosen to postpone buying a new set until the expected improvements were introduced.
Mathes had a plan to offer a monochrome TV that could be converted to the latest color model at a later date. His company would guarantee a fixed price for the conversion. Thereby, all objections to buying a new TV today would be put to rest.
He Proposed to build every Curtis Mathes black and white and color TV chassis the same size with the same number and placement of controls. When a customer was ready to upgrade his Curtis Mathes monochrome receiver to a improved color model, his dealer merely ordered a C-M color TV in an inexpensive, painted metal cabinet. He would slide out the old chassis and replace it with the new color works. The old chassis was now reinstalled in the black metal box and offered for sale of the dealers floor as a rebuilt TV.
Unfortunately, Vaughan reports, there must have been a few details that needed further attention. That was the first and only time I heard of the revolutionary color convertible TV sets.