Museum of the Broadcast Television Camera

E-mail Received, April 2009

The camera Peto Scott

Link 101 camera similar to the 105 camera

James writes in his email:-

I designed the Peto Scott cameras in the 1950's. I had a team of 2 other people,one a mechanical designer and the other a electronic technition. The lenses were designed and supplied by Taylor Hobson Co. with tests carried out at the BBC. Such a long time ago to remember details, but I remember tests at the Albert Hall and at Broadcasting House, to check lag problems which were considerable.

The first model shown on your site looks like a prototype to me,of which only a small number were made and used in trials.
I remember the lens change mechanism was a bit noisy and had to be modified for studio use. When I started the design I had two helpers John (the draughtsman) & Fat George (Technician). George was colour-blind, which didn't help much in choosing colour coded resistors.

The first model to be installed for BBC was in a cellar at a tobacconists opposite The Houses of Parliament. A reporter could dash from The House to the basement, the camera having been switched on over the telephone from Alexandra Palace previously, to warm up.

The reporter would sit at the desk in front of the camera looking at a picture monitor, showing a return picture from Ally Pally. He was cued when to start his report. At first his picture was awful,having gone through repeaters. Every section claimed the picture leaving them was OK, but it took 3 days to get things right. It was a success eventually.

The Albert Hall test was not so successful. The conductor white shirt cuffs produced considerable smear,but I remember the BBC engineer involved thought it added dynamism to the picture.

The Boat Race was a success, but I only saw the results at home, not being involved with the programme. The submarine episode, started with a calamity. Trying to get the camera down the submarine hatch by using the camera cable as a lowering rope, it slipped and fell into the sea.
It was pulled out, dried with hair dryers and it worked. The second try was successful.

The lenses used were especially designed for the one inch vidicon in conjunction with the BBC and used a C mount.

Regards, James E.Attew, C.Eng. MIEE. MRTS. MBKSTS.


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