Museum of the Broadcast Television Camera

EMI used the word "Emitron" for a number of products, cathode ray tubes, valves, and for TV both the tube and the camera. Later in c.1947 for the CPS Emitron tube and again the camera.
There is a good description of the "Marconi-EMI television equipment at the Alexandra Palace" in the journal of the Television Society, June 1936 page 169.

There are some fine pictures of the Emitron tube at Giorgio Basile vacuum tube museum.

Peter Scott has good pictures and information about Emitrons at his site :- Peter's Nostalgia


EMI Emitron Index
1934 & 1936 prototypes
1936 camera with short neck tube
1937 camera with long neck tube
1937 camera with Super Emitron Tube
1948 Olympics, cameras used at, notes
Long and short neck Emitron tubes, notes
Surviving Emitron cameras


Emitron or Iconoscope? a short history:

bullet The British tubes developed by EMI were all called Emitrons, the American RCA tubes were called Iconoscopes. Both types operated in a similar way but were mechanically different. Both EMI and RCA went on to develop the image version. EMI named theirs the Super Emitron and RCA called theirs the Image Iconoscope.

bullet During the war EMI stopped work on television, but during the 1939 - 1945 period RCA developed smaller Iconoscope tubes, as well as broadcast work these smaller tubes were used as part of guided flying bombs. The Germans were also developing midget Image Iconoscope camera tubes for use in secret weapons. Post 1945 EMI and Pye developed cameras using midget tubes. EMI camera type 4051 with a midget Super Emitron, and Pye a camera using their version of the midget Image Iconoscope called a Photicon.


Standard Emitrons:
The early Emitron tubes had a short electron gun assembly (short neck). The later tube had a longer electron gun assembly (long neck) and in 1936-7 the cameras were all modified to accommodate the longer tubes, hence the bulge at the front. Notes.

Super Emitrons:

bullet It is reported in Wireless World November 18th, 1937, page 497&9, that the EMI Super Emitron camera was used for the first time at the Lord Mayors Parade. This was probably the 9th of November 1937. The article gives a simple description of the operation of the new Super Emitron (Image Iconoscope) tube.

bullet A fuller description of the operation of the Super Emitron tube can be found in Wikipedia and in "Television Engineering", by Amos & Birkinshaw, pub. by ILiffe 1953, pages 68 to 78.

bullet The bulge on the side accommodates the gun assembly of the Super Emitron tube. It is thought that the Super Emitron tubes were retro fitted into standard emitron camera bodies. The photographs of the camera suggest a number of different case constructions. No cameras are known to survive.

Surviving Emitron Cameras
bullet John Trenouth writes:- The "BBC do have 3 emitron heads - 1 is on display in tbc 1 is in storage & 3rd is on loan to media museum. Media museum also have an emitron head of their own - ex science museum with an acrylic panel fitted on the side so you can see in. This is the only emitron that has a complete chain, cable CCU & PSU. There is also an example of an emitron head belonging to EMI stored at Bradford. So that makes a total of 5 heads. They all have minor differences - hand built of course.
There is a rumor of a very incomplete 6 th example but I was never able to run it to earth."

All the surviving cameras are of the long neck standard Emitron type, as far as is known no examples of the earlier short neck camera or the Super Emitron camera survives. BS.