Zenith Space Command

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How I loved this gadget!

Chrome exterior, a bit weighty in the hand, a very cool name, set screws for easy investigation on the under casing, and a definite, snap-CLICK action to each trigger.

This is analog because the "buttons" are actually spring-loaded triggers that strike one of four aluminum rods in the housing. Along the principles of tuning fork harmonics, the resonance and pitch were received by 1970's TV Zenith sets to engage one of four functions that are listed on the faceplate.

Well I remember my brothers and I taking this apart to drop the rods to the floor for random, analog-ous effect!

bbaltimore, travísimo, suzannelong, and 21 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. SF buckaroo 115 months ago | reply

    interesting little piece of memorabilia, and a good shot too todd. my grandpa had this when i was growing up. the grandparents also had a playschool schoolhouse with a bell. when i would ring the bell, it would turn the tv on and off-- talk about harmonic convergence...

  2. gem66 115 months ago | reply

    Very interesting. I never knew that such an analog device had ever been made. Good photo too!

  3. exLondoner 115 months ago | reply

    Haha, wow! That's too cool.

  4. Roadsidepictures 115 months ago | reply

    I've had several "Space Command" remote controls...The 'clank' that they produce is music to my ears!

  5. nailbender 115 months ago | reply

    Very cool!..... and in mint condition!
    The sad part is that I remember using these :-(

    Thanks for your comments Todd.

  6. Todd Ehlers 115 months ago | reply

    Thanks everyone!

    Golly Gee--yes, the origin of the "clicker" name must stem from these early remote controls. And boy, did they CLICK!

  7. travísimo 114 months ago | reply

    As much as I'd prefer not to admit it, I used one of these growing up as well. I too disassembled it in curiosity. Eventually we replaced it with a battery-operated model with soft-touch buttons. It synthesized the ultrasonic control signals, eliminating the loud click. Like SF Buckaroo I found various objects that could control the TV. Ours seemed most responsive to a small metal chain I had lying around the house. Jingling the chain would cause the TV to change channels (which happened mechanically in the TV -- chuunk!). Thanks for the memories Todd (and Zenith! ;).

    Oh - and I agree about the shag. It just doesn't look the same lying on a Berber carpet. :)

  8. Todd Ehlers 114 months ago | reply

    Thanks, Travismo, for adding your memories to the pot.

  9. GeorgiaT - (Xanadu-g) 111 months ago | reply

    My parents had an older TV until recently that must also have responded to ultrasonic sounds. The computer monitor used to be on the opposite side of the same room and as it started to get older it must have developed a different toned hum because if the TV was pointing in the right direction and the computer was on, the volume used to turn itself up full blast! Took us a while to figure out what was happening!

  10. Todd Ehlers 111 months ago | reply

    All right, Xanadu!

    How sweet the memories..

  11. shefishe1023 103 months ago | reply

    OH MY GOSH!!! I haven't seen one of these in a hundred years! I have tried to explain to my 2 teenagers what a remote control used to look like...& they look at me like I came from Mars....ohhh this brings back memories :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. technogamy 95 months ago | reply

    Yeah!! I just bought (do people still say "won"?) one of these little suckers on eBay. I unwrapped it and showed it to a friend at my office, who immediately asked, "How does this work?" To which I responded, "By infrared." And he said, "Um, dude, I don't think so... look at those little rods inside the top. I think it works by sound." I was incredulous... until I read this thread.

    As Travismo noted above, the heavy click was eventually replaced with soft-touch buttons in a battery-operated model. My grandma and grandpa used to have one of those. I can recall distinctly how the remote smelled, even... that gently fried smell of batteries and hot dust and printed circuits.

    Best thing ever about grandma's Space Command remote: the ZOOM button. See Wiki for details. My friend asked, "Wait, so 'zoom' just gave you a really crappy, low-res shot of the middle of the screen?" Yes indeed, my friend. Yes indeed.

  13. cherilynhannen 90 months ago | reply

    neat....even though I don't have a Zenith I like Zenith that was the first remote control huh email me and tell me.....is that from the '50s?

  14. Todd Ehlers 78 months ago | reply

    Cheryl: Boy, is this comment late!

    This was not from the 1950s. Early 1970's is more like it.

  15. cooldude166861 69 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Zenith Space Command, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  16. Patrick W. Price Photographer 65 months ago | reply

    I need this remote.....!!!

  17. Era: '51 - Gone to Ipernity 55 months ago | reply

    Ours was an earlier version, devoid of the off-on button. The sound volume progressed through low - medium - high - power off - low - medium - high.
    Channel changing was accomplished by a motor driving the electro-mechanical tuner drum:
    whirr-chunk whirr-chunk.
    No dead batteries in those remotes!

  18. Kieran Whiteman 49 months ago | reply

    Fantastic photo have used this in a recent report for a University assignment and credited your work.

    Great shot

  19. Todd Ehlers 49 months ago | reply

    Thank you, Kieran, for crediting me. I appreciate your integrity and class.

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