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Featured CED Patent No. 4,227,699


US Patent 4227699

US04227699: Manual scanning mechanism for video disc player

This patent was applied for on November 29, 1978, just one month prior to the publication of an article in Fortune magazine that spurred RCA chairman Edgar Griffiths into officially announcing that the RCA VideoDisc system would be introduced in approximately 18 to 24 months. The detailed player description provided in this patent thus represents the state of CED player design just before the prototype players were given their final round of design changes resulting in the production SFT100 player.

The prototype player described in the patent is outwardly similar to the final production model, but was substantially different internally. As seen in the photograph below the player is the same size as the production SFT100, and is much smaller than the prior generation prototype. In this late 1978 time frame RCA had also decided on carbon-doped discs housed in caddies.

Proto-SFT100 CED Player

The familiar function lever can be seen at the right front of the player, but immediately to its right is a control absent from the production players, and absent from this particular prototype are the search buttons present in the production models. With all the design changes, I believe a list covering each one in detail is appropriate:

Patent No. 4227699 was issued to Leslie Torrington, a mechanical engineer who originally joined RCA as a record-changer designer. Later he worked on RCA's MagTape system before joining the VideoDisc project in 1973. There he received a number of patents relating to mechanical design, particularly for the disc caddy system. On November 3, 1981 he was awarded a Technical Excellence Award for his work on VideoDisc.

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