Industrial Television

Industrial Television and Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

Based on the knowledge of its Broadcast Camera Technology Pye developed miniature camera systems for Industrial Television Applications.

Main Areas of Activity

• Nuclear Power Stations

• Underwater Television

• Remote Industrial Processes Monitoring and Control

• Air to Ground Television

• Medical Applications

• Astronomy


B.J. Edwards appointed Harry McGhee and Ian Waters to design a small camera for Industrial Television applications using information he had obtained from visiting America.

After developing a MKI Prototype the MKII was introduced in 1954.

Nuclear Power Station Applications

A special radiation proof inspection camera was designed to go into the space occupied by a fuel rod when the reactor was shut down and the rod removed.

The camera was able to show any problems inside the fuel element enclosure.

The camera was subjected to a high temperature and high level gamma radiation.

The in-pile inspection camera

The first Nuclear Installation was at Calder Hall in its Magnox Reactor

The camera was cooled by feeding Carbon Dioxide gas down the cable.

It was equipped with a rotating mirror and headlight to view all round the inside of the fuel rod space.

Special winding gear was installed.

Eventually Pye Installed Systems in eight UK Nuclear Power Stations and one each in Italy and Japan.

The winding gear, camera control unit and picture monitor


In this year the MKIII Camera was introduced with a compact camera head and a control unit connected by a cable.

The small head enabled the camera to get into spaces not possible with earlier cameras.

Remote Pan and Tilt heads as well as waterproof housings were available to protect the camera head from adverse conditions.

MKIII Camera head

MKIII Camera operating in a radiation protected enclosure for stripping out used fuel rods


This year the MKIV Camera was introduced.

It was cylindrical in shape as many applications required it to be inserted through a circular hole.

As well as featuring the latest components it was capable of automatically controlling the video signal when the light level on the scene changed.

Rocket Science

One interesting application of CCTV was in conjunction with the UK ICBM named Blue Streak.

Prior to going to the launch site in Australia the rocket motors were tested at Spadeadam in the UK.

A special shock proof housing enclosed the MKIV which monitored the engine performance from a safe distance.

Underwater Television

A standard industrial television camera was built into a pressure resistant housing to enable it to work underwater.

The idea was that a free swimming frogman could operate the camera in relatively shallow water.

Because of its unique shape it was called ‘The Football’ camera.

Basing the design on the existing Image Orthicon Studio camera an Underwater camera was developed for use by the Admiralty.

A major problem was to enclose the electronics in a pressure resistant container capable of working at considerable depth in sea water.

The design team consisted of Bert Horlock, Ben Coleman, Cy Babbs and Doug Allanson.

In the 1950’s two major achievements were obtained using an improved design.

The first was when the camera was used by the navy aboard HMS Reclaim to recover the wreckage of a Comet 1 jet aircraft which crashed off Elba. The successful recovery of the Comet wreckage led to the ground breaking discovery of the phenomenon called Metal Fatigue.

The second being the recovery of the wreckage of a crashed Dakota aircraft which crashed into Lake Constance.


Another use of the modified broadcast camera involved attaching it to an optical telescope.

This arrangement gave an improvement in sensitivity over film as well as enabling more than one person to view the scene.

Successful tests were carried out at an observatory in South Africa.

Television in Astronomy In 1956

Aerial Surveillance

Experiments were carried out using a camera fitted into a helicopter at Pye. The aim was to see how well the system operated when surveying activity on the ground. The aircraft was a Bristol Sycamore and the radio link was at 250MHz.

This was the forerunner of police surveillance

Camera mounted in helicopter

Aerial view of Pye factory

Many other applications saw the use of remote television being used in steelworks, hospital operating theatres, traffic control systems and the first crowd safety installations.