Television setsIn television's electromechanical era, commercially made television sets were sold from 1928 to 1934 in the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union. The earliest commercially made sets sold by Baird in the UK in 1928 were radios with the addition of a television device consisting of a neon tube behind a mechanically spinning disk (the Nipkow disk) with a spiral of apertures that produced a red postage-stamp size image, enlarged to twice that size by a magnifying glass. The Baird "Televisor" was also available without the radio. The Televisor sold in 1930–1933 is considered the first mass-produced set, selling about a thousand units.
An estimated 19,000 electronic television sets were manufactured in Britain, and about 1,600 in Germany, before World War II. About 7,000–8,000 electronic sets were made in the U.S. before the War Production Board halted manufacture in April 1942, production resuming in August 1945.
Television usage in the United States skyrocketed after World War II with the lifting of the manufacturing freeze, war-related technological advances, the gradual expansion of the television networks westward, the drop in set prices caused by mass production, increased leisure time, and additional disposable income. In 1947, Motorola introduced the VT-71 television for $189.95, the first television set to be sold for under $200, finally making television affordable for millions of Americans. While only 0.5% of U.S. households had a television set in 1946, 55.7% had one in 1954, and 90% by 1962. In Britain, there were 15,000 television households in 1947, 1.4 million in 1952, and 15.1 million by 1968.