Algol TV

fernseher-90x90Founded in Milan in 1945,  Brionvega specialized in manufacturing TV sets. Giuseppe Brion and engineer friend Pajetta created a brand that has proven to withstand the test of time. Brionvega products became cult objects. The TVs are in the permanent collection of international museums including MoMA.  The Algol TV which I like best,  was designed in 1964 by the the Italian Marco Zanuso and his German colleague Richard Sapper, who between them produced a string of enduring products for Brionvega in the 1960s using new miniaturised circuitry.  brionvega-algol-tv-lg7

The Algol TV was considered by some, such as Flavio Manzoni, VW’s Creative Design Director, an “everlasting artwork”, and I agree!

Algol (1964) at the Richard Sapper Exhibit in Cologne Furniture Fair '05

Algol (1964) at the Richard Sapper Exhibit in Cologne Furniture Fair '05

This little portable, plastic-cased TV set is shaped so that its screen tilts upwards slightly. The front of it is just the screen — no knobs, buttons or speakers or any kind of surround whatsoever. All the incidental stuff is mounted on the top or sides. A telescopic aerial sprouts from near the front, rather than the back as is more normal, while a hinged metal carrying handle is cranked to fit snugly into the bend at the top of the box.

It sits there on stumpy pads like a cheerful little spaceship, nowadays as well-equipped electronically as any new TV. What gives away its age is the bulbous square-format screen — this object first emerged decades before flat, wide screens became the norm.

Specifically, the original Algol 11″ was a black and white television that came in three colors: bright sun orange, black night, and moon gray.  The metal retractable handle is a hallmark (shared by the TS-503 radio I should mention) that makes this a portable set. The TV receives VHF and UHF signals and uses a one meter extractable rod antenna for the VHF and a 19.5cm circlular antenna for UHF.  It is also possible to connect to an external aerial.  Power is either AC (125 – 16- =220) or via 12V DC.  Dimension is 26 x 22 x 31cm and it comes in at 7.6kg.


There was an Algol 2 version in 1966.


A new Algol (also known as Algol 11R, 1989) surfaced in around the late 80s, and an Algol 11″ and came in red, black, grey, white cabinets in washable material and a sight-saving lens, a black matrix picture tube, and an anti-reflective screen.  It had a remote.

algol3It also has a broadband loudspeaker, headphones output, up to five video pre-defined settings and 100 storable programs, 8 page memory teletext, multifunctional remote control, digital frequency synthesizer, hyperband and cable tuner , PAL – NTSC by SCART – in option: PAL- SECAM L – NTSC by SCART – AST automatic search – video input: SCART, SVHS, A/V. Size is slightly larger than the original: 27.5 x 26.1 x 35.8cm.  Weight is almost the same at 7.5kg. The price then was 600-750 Euros and this set is no longer in stock or in production.  I am lucky to have acquired a number of these in black as well as white and in new old stock condition.


In August 2006, the Brionvega brand was acquired by Super//Fluo SpA, and Algol was given another life again. being reissued in limited numbered editions.

In Apr 2007, the Triennale di Milano Design Museum hosted the “TV with Love” Exhibition presented by Super//Fluo SpA, on the occasion of the Salone di Mobile to mark this episode of return of the classic Brionvega design.



Now, what can be found is the Algol 3 TV is made from new electronics, using the latest generation of digital components, all packed into a design from the 60s. The Algol TV comes in 3 different colors – Sun Orange, Snow White, and Night Black.

algolimited There is also a military green colored numbered military edition that is on the market with 99 preset channels, Teletext, Scart and SVHS connectors and a 10-inch cinescope screen. It goes for a whopping 1800 Euros retail.


Algol 11R

Algol 3

Different Algol’s from the Back


Algol 11R 1989

The Algol 11"

The Algol 11"

Algol 3 12"

Algol 3 12" 1990s

Old original Algols can be found for

New Old Stock Algols from the ’90s and early 2000’s can be had for about $500 (I have some, contact me if interested)

Algol 2’s

Algol 3’s brand new retail for

The numbered edition in a miltary green colour, with details of its number and heritage etched on the side by laser marking sells for 1,800 Euros (7.08).

2 Responses to “Algol TV”

  1. 1 stefan
    October 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    thanks for the excellent article on the brionvega algol!
    i own a vintage model (grey case) including the original
    carrying case. i am not whether it’s a 1st or 2nd generation
    model. how can i tell the difference?

    it has two 2-pin aerial plugs (VHF and UHF). is it possible
    to connect it to a modern cable tv network (coax connectors)?
    if yes, do you know where i can get a suitabe connctor?

    i am also interested in a new old-stock algol you mentionend,
    prefereably white. do you still offer them? do they support PAL?

    thanks in advance,
    stefan (from switzerland)

  2. 2 Matthias
    November 8, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Hi, I would like to buy a new old stock brionvega! Please send some offers. Thanks!

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March 2009


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