Personal radio collection
For those of you who have asked, we now have a web page devoted to my personal radio collection. It is not huge, nor does it contain rare, extravagant pieces that a seasoned collector would drool over -- but it indeed makes for some interesting conversation for those who come to visit.
It seems this page is always under construction -- seems the collection is continually growing/changing, and there's seldom enough time to update this page with proper photos and descriptions. However as time permits I fully intend to "complete" this page.
1. Atwater Kent Model 60:
This is virtually identical to the very common Model 55. The Model 60 is similar except it has four TRF tuning circuits instead of three, for improved fringe area reception. Although not rare, most of today's generation has never seen a radio like this -- let alone listened to one. Yet this is the radio I listen to in the shop nearly every day.
This radio has several "State of the art" features that were big news in 1929: Single dial tuning -- earlier radios had two or three tuning dials that had to be moved together. AC power supply -- most radios of the period required batteries. Push-pull output using two 45-type tubes and an electrodynamic speaker provided unprecedented power; this radio could be placed in a ballroom so people could dance the Charleston. Finally it utilizes screen grids to control volume by adjusting sensitivity. All these features are either obsolete or taken for granted today, but this model is indeed a classic.
When new the radio itself sold for $100, and the F4A speaker was $34; tubes were additional, as was an antenna, which is why they were often referred to as "radio sets." In today's dollars, the complete setup would cost an estimated $6,000.00!
This radio, as you see it, is in totally original condition. I'm told it was in a museum (but which one?). I opened it up to find only one component -- a resistor -- that was not factory original from 1929! It now has a few modern replacements, but the original parts have been kept with hopes of eventually reproducing them. It is in superb condition, and as the trophy suggests, it won "Best of Show" at a recent event.
2. Zenith H500 Super Transoceanic:
Introduced just before the Pearl Harbor attack, the Zenith Transoceanic became an instant hit as it was indeed the first portable radio to receive shortwave bands. When the war ended it's popularity soared, and this improved 1951 model was introduced just in time for troops to take them to Korea. As a matter of fact, the US Government ordered several "military Issue" versions of this model -- a little more rugged, and different in color. A military radio in good condition is a highly-prized collector's item today.
These radios didn't come cheap. In 1951 this radio retailed for $120. In spite of the price they were very popular, as these radios are very good performers. These radios are frequently spotted in antique stores and flea markets -- although you're much more likely to find a later "600" version, which has a slide rule dial instead of the airplane dial shown in the photo.
This radio is in excellent original working condition (with reproduction battery!). Aside from a little dusting, it is as I found it -- totally original.
3. Silvertone farm radio:
This battery-operated radio uses a vibrator power supply, not unlike car radios of the period.
I have not yet gotten into this, as it is merely a decoration and a future project. However I've noticed a couple of curiosities. First, the tuner/dial movement is amazingly smooth for such a simple radio. Also, for such a small battery radio where every miiliamp counts, I'm surprised it is equipped with a tuning eye. Restoration of this radio will be interesting.
4. Crosley Fiver:
This photo was taken at Seagate -- Powel Crosley's home in Sarasota, where it was on display during a recent event. This wood radio has both AM and shortwave. It is fully operational, and was playing music from a low-power transmitter nearby while on display.
5. Crosley clock radio:
This radio was also on display at Seagate, as seen in the above photo. Although a fairly common model, the hot pink facing on the bakelite case is a bit unusual. Personally I think it's a nice looking set.
6. Crosley "Jeweler's Radio:
This is a radio that was designed to be sold in jewelry stores. These are relatively rare today. It was available in several colors, and the crystal appearance was accomplished by using metallic paint on the inside of the clear case. The primitive clear plastic was easily breakable, which partially explains the rarity. Aside from the interesting case design, it is actually a very conventional "All American Five" tube radio.
7. Philco 54:
This is identical to a radio owned by the Tayman family (but was unfortunately destroyed). The cabinet has been refinished, although not quite correct (too light, and the "PHILCO" logo is missing), and the chassis is in original immaculate condition. It is a future restoration project.
8. Canadian GE Midget radio:
This radio was actually made by RCA, and is identical to the famous RCA "Little Nipper" model aside from the logo and trim. It is a little tiny radio with big tubes in it -- you wonder how those tubes fit inside, but they do. This radio has been rebuilt; the bakelite cabinet is in superb condition.
9. RCA T-8 Cathedral:
This is as found, obviously a future project. The wood cabinet is intact; however the volume control is missing and both knobs are gone. It looks easily restorable however.
10. RCA Victrola record player:
Another future project, this is a simple player designed to play through a radio, such as the above T-8 cathedral.
11. Knight communications receiver:
This was the top-of-the-line Knight kit receiver of the time. Although a far cry from a Hammarlund, Hallicrafters, or Zenith Transoceanic, it's not a bad radio for DX-ers to tinker with. Knight of course was a brand name of Allied, later purchased by, and still later divested from, Radio Shack.
12. Two Thunderbird Promo Radios:
Circa 1964, 1966
Yes, these model cars are actually two transistor radios! These were promos for Ford dealers to give away. They are actually Philco-Ford radios (who else?) with the controls mounted underneath. The blue car is a 64; the white is a 66.
Other radios included in the collection, but not shown, include:
1940 Zenith 11S474 console
1958 Eico AM/FM tuner
1940 Detrola table radio
1950 RCA Victor 45-J3 record player -- yes, the rare one
1949 Zenith Universal portable radio
1951 Crosley ColoRadio
and several others.
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