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Test Pattern

The Indian Head TV Test Pattern Revisited


Here's the new Peterson rendition of the classic Indian-head test pattern on the screen of a vintage TV set. The underlying pattern is highly accurate and faithful to the original while the distortion, the raster lines, vertical hold and even the reflections on the picture tube are realistically rendered for a 1950s cathode-ray look and feel. The gold metallic trim bezel and cherrywood "cabinet" frame are part of the image. The ghost-like figures of three famous characters from TV's Golden Age appear in the background of the picture tube.


This cultural icon conveys a nostalgic silvery luminance that almost seems to flicker like the electronic campfire that mesmerized a generation. A high-resolution print/poster, it is a value-added work of art showing the test pattern as it appeared to the eye when--after normal broadcast hours--it was electronically conjured onto the picture tube of that familiar piece of talking furniture found in the living rooms of a bygone era.

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This 16" X 20" color print is on premium photo paper. The frame & bezel shown are part of the image - no border margins. It will be shipped flat between heavy cardboard within 24 hours of order.

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TV Test Pattern Revisited

16" X 20" Color Print
Free shipping in U.S.


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Canadian customers:
plus $20.00 shipping to Canada



The original Peterson version of the Indian Head TV Test Pattern (out of print)


The classic Indian head TV test pattern became an industry standard in the 1940s and '50s. Originally developed by RCA, the image was electronically generated onto the picture tube with an instrument called a monoscope. Rarely available in printed form, the very limited-edition print by Peterson shown here was one of only fifty that were screenprinted on poster board, matted and framed, and sold for $125 a piece to a handful of art collectors including TV executives, engineers and nostalgia buffs back in the '80s (noted in Playboy magazine - Feb. '87).

A second edition of this print was slightly enhanced to better emulate the image that early TV viewers saw being generated from a carbon black etching on a small aluminum plate in a vacuum tube: the RCA TK-1 monoscope. This edition - offered unframed and unmatted - sold out quickly. 25 years after the first offering, a 3rd and final edition of this collectible icon by Peterson was also sold out. Not to worry: The new-generation art print by Peterson is available above.