Beware the television mutilator

Last week on my way to work I discovered dozens of obsolete CRT televisions placed out for the hard rubbish collection – this week I walk past and a half dozen of said televisions have had their screens shattered and the back panels ripped open.

Broken shadow mask on a thrown out TV

Mutilated television number 3

Mutilated television number 2

Mutilated television number 1

Mutilated television number 4

Mutilated television number 5

Mutilated television number 6

So why have the backs of these televisions been broken open? It appears someone wants the deflection yokes, not to be confused with someone stealing egg yolks.

Egg yolk

Boom boom tish!

This is what the back of a cathode ray tube normally looks like (photo from Wikipedia).

Rear view of a cathode ray tube

By themselves the deflection yokes are rather boring: they are just a coil of wire that produces a magnetic field, and a functional equivalent can be made in the workshop in an hour or two.

However, there is a far more interesting component at this end of a CTR: the electron gun. A colour television has three of these guns – red, green and blue – and each of them produces a beam of electrons which is used to draw the actual image on the screen.

So what could someone do with a few dozen scrounged electron guns? I would like to find out.

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6 Responses to “Beware the television mutilator”

  1. Boyd Adamson says:

    I’m guessing it’s for the copper. After all, if it’s worth risking your life destroying railway infrastructure, it’s gotta be worth destroying some TVs

  2. Tim says:

    The same reason why the electrical cords are the first thing to go on anything you put out, copper.

    Yes, you can take stuff to get recycled, but that costs money and you have to drive there.

  3. enno says:


    • Marcus says:

      There seems to be all kinds of exotic metals inside a CRT:

      first layer includes particles of one of or plural of noble metals selected from the group consisting of gold (Au), ruthenium (Ru), rhodium (Rh), palladium (Pd), osmium (Os), iridium (Ir), and platinum (Pt).

      I would how one would go about extracting them at home!

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