While forever synonymous with the Project G stereo the Canadian company Clairtone also ventured into television manufacturing. Designed by Tony Mann and introduced in 1966 the pedestalled G-TV was evocative of Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chair. With its cast aluminum base and rosewood and leather body the design of the G-TV was meant to compliment the Project G stereo. And its looks was not the only thing the TV had in common with the Project G. Priced at $1,150 the G-TV was twice the price of an average TV of the time. This was due in part that the very latest (if not the most reliable) technology was used in the television’s manufacture and, as it was a first for the company, production cost overrides.
The TV’s designer Tony Mann recalled mocking up the G-TV in a single weekend, “Peter [Munk] called me Friday at four in the afternoon from his car phone. It was my first experience with a car phone. There was a press conference on Tuesday and he wanted to launch the new television in a cabinet that didn’t have a traditional look. Could I have something ready for Tuesday? he asked. I took an old bicycle wheel as reinforcement for the circular base, which I turned in plaster. It was unheard of to have such a short time frame, even today … but that was Peter.” As well as the body design the G-TV’s well-proportioned panel – its small knobs reminiscent of a cockpit instrument panel – was influenced by Mann’s research at Macy’s in New York, where he tested TVs and interviewed TV salesmen and customers. Despite the rush the overall result a well-balanced and elegant piece of technology.
Clairtone's G-TV. Click on image for full view.5411 false true true false true true false auto false ease-in-out 300 auto false 0 true true
However the G-TV did not fare well. Despite an aggressive advertising and promotional campaign Clairtone itself was heading for trouble and the company shut its doors a few years later. In business for only 12 years Clairtone left behind a tremendous legacy of wonderful design that no other Canadian company has ever been able to replicate
1967 commercial for Clairtone’s G-TV directed by Frank Spiess
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