My Old Radio Collection
(the radios are old, not the collection!)
Not (yet) pictured, but also in my growing collection are:
- Atwater-Kent An Atwater Kent model 20,
from 1924, shown here with a horn speaker (which I do not have, alas). I do have a very beat-up drum loudspeaker (not pictured yet). The Model 20 is a standard 3-knob
TRF (Tuned Radio Frequency) design for the period, with each RF amplifier stage being tuned separately. The
schematic for this model is here. The RF and
detector tubes are 01As, and the two audio stage tubes are type 24s. I got this one at a (non-radio) flea market in New Jersey many years ago, and it came with some spare tubes and a set of Baldwin headphones, all for about $20!
- RCA This RCA 8BX6 "Globetrotter" portable radio is as old as me (1948). When you slide open the curved cover at the top you turn on the set and reveal the tuning dial. It has 6 tubes,
and runs on AC or batteries (neither included nor available). The tone is pretty good -- it's a great radio to listen to a baseball game on the porch on a summer afternoon. Here's the schematic for it (180K).
- Philco A 1941 "farm radio" -- a Philco 41-90. This battery-powered set has a largish bakelite cabinet in perfect shape, but the insulation on the wiring had almost completely crumbled off. Mostly restored and working now. It was the best radio deal I saw in a whole day of tramping around the Brimfield Antique Show in pouring rain.
- Philco I rescued this 1939 Philco PT-43 Transitone table model from the basement of a Cape Cod antique mall. It's in rough shape, but the red tennite plastic grille is all there, which makes restoring the wood cabinet worthwhile. This model covers both the broadcast band and 1.5 to 2.5 MHz "police band."
- Airline A battery operated TRF set (like the Atwater Kent above), this Airline 49 metal table model has single-knob tuning, ganging its 3 tuning capacitors together on one long shaft. It uses two '24As, a '26, an 01A and a '71. Its crackle finish is in need of a repaint (does Maaco do radios?).
- Freed-Eismann A cute little Freed FE-33 midget set from 1938. It's a three-tube TRF, a minimalist set. I've recapped it and restored the circuit to its original configuration (a previous owner had added a selenium rectifier), though I used a capacitor as a ballast, instead of the original "curtain burner" line cord.
- RCA An early RCA T-1-EN "pocket" transistor radio in red, gold and cream plastic. Needs a big pocket! This one came from a garage sale, in the house of a heavy smoker. I still haven't gotten the tobacco smoke stains out of the plastic case!
- Airline Montgomery-Ward's model GEN-1107A AC/DC/battery portable, from the middle '50s. Real leather case, with the AC power cord in the shoulder strap. Plays OK too.
- Westinghouse A really cute little Westinghouse "beach radio" battery portable (in its leather carrying case), from the last days of tube radios. It is in pristine condition, and plays well. The 1-volt miniature tubes are "instant-on!" Without its carrying case, it looks like this.
- Westinghouse This Westinghouse WR-217 is thirty-some years older than the set above. A 5-tube AC wooden table model from about 1937, I got this at the Krantz estate auction in New Jersey. After over 60 years it still works pretty well! I have recapped it.
- Andrea I had to buy this 1946 Andrea P-I63 3-band portable when I saw it in a Boston antique store. It bears my sister's name, and that of the famous maker, Frank A. D'Andrea (FADA). It has its original batteries too! Not working.
- Aeronautic It says Aeronautic on its nameplate but there's no other identification for this 5-tube two-band mystery set. It's been painted white sometime since it was built in 1936, and I'm pretty sure the handle isn't original. Best guess is that it's a Spiegel "Air Castle" set with a different nameplate (there are also lookalike Admiral, Knight and Mantola models). A similar chassis shows up in Rider's under the "Aero Products" manufacturer name. See the similar models here.
- Stewart-Warner Somehow I can't pass up a radio in distress, like this model 03-5J1, as though I need another project! It may never look like new again, but I think I'm improving upon its as-found condition. Besides, it has pushbuttons. A (cheap) eBay find.
- Philco My first "tombstone" radio, this simple little Philco 39-70 is another pre-war (1939) farm radio, with four 1-Volt tubes. It's got a dirty chassis and cabinet that needs refinishing, but it works. Update! I took a furniture refinishing class, and have redone the cabinet. Not too bad for a first effort.
- Truetone My wonderful brother Paul gave me this fully restored model D2624 for Christmas. It's got a shortwave band, and a strange rainbow color pattern that plays across the backlit dial as you tune it. Truetone was Western Auto Stores' house brand.
- Sentinel Uh-oh -- looks like a trend; this model 63B is yet another 1936-era farm radio to join my crowded back room. It's a nice-looking 6-Volt model with vibrator supply and some need for veneer repair (and grill cloth). The chassis is rusty, filthy and dented, but with a kludged power supply, it works!
- Crosley Since I went to college in Cincinnati, it's about time I had a Crosley -- this is a model 648. Made in 1939, it's a pretty ordinary 5-tube AC/DC set, but the mechanical pushbuttons on the top of the curvy wood case make it more interesting. The finish is failing but it's still a solid cabinet.
- RCA Victor An RCA Victor BP-55 portable from 1939. Mostly I think these pre-war suitcase portables are ugly, but this one's growing on me. Besides that, it works great on batteries, and it has excellent tone! Got it in a trade for a 1955 Zenith L505 portable. Here's a closeup of the dial.
- A solid-wood 1940 Truetone D914, dirty and scruffy, but with 4 pushbuttons (one missing) and a dignified gravity to its appearance. It's missing its antenna coil, but works after replacing a shorted cap. The age-distorted bezel will be a challenge to replace. Update! I have a replacement bezel, and have refinished the cabinet.
- Zenith I used to scorn portables (though I seem to have acquired several!), but I absolutely fell in love with this Deco-styled 1940 model 4K600 when I saw it on ebay. Needs a couple tubes (which are a bear to get into the tiny case) and a little interior cleaning. Here's what it looks like closed up.
- Homebrew A homemade 2-tube regenerative set from the early to mid-1920s, from a Cape Cod flea market. Uses a WD-11 and a WD-12 tube! The WD-11's filament is open, alas. The circuit looks a lot like some early Crosleys; regen detector and one audio stage.
- Kent This very cute 4-tube TRF radio carries a "Kent" (or is it "Kert"?) nametag but an interior label says it was made by "A.K.P. Co." It appears identical to the Air King model 9899, and I've also seen one wearing the "Portorola" name. Works great, with no hum. Needs a new carrying handle and a dial restringing.
- Airline Probably the nicest-looking Wards battery set I've seen is this 1939 model 93BR-460A. The cabinet is in good shape, and the simple 4-tube superhet chassis should be easy enough to get running again. The antenna coil is open and the dial string is broken, but all other parts are OK.
- Motorola I like the plain 'n' fancy style of this 1940 Motorola 40-BW farm radio. Looks like another basic 4-tube battery chassis (I can almost draw the schematic from memory). Only the audio stage seems to work so far. The cabinet is in decent shape, needing a light refinish and some veneer glued down. The plywood baseplate is warped and delaminating but everything else is solid. Update! I've reglued the baseplate laminations.
- Majestic This little 1938 model 130 portable certainly doesn't look very majestic; its leatherette-covered cardboard case is tightly wrapped around a 3-tube superhet circuit and a pair of batteries. Needs a lot of work -- the speaker is open and the insulation is falling off the wiring. But it represents a very early "true portable." Update! I have a "spare" unit now, for parts. Maybe eventually I'll be able to rebuild it.
- Philco This 1941 Philco 41-95 is the step-up companion to my 41-90. It has a very nice wooden cabinet, and a 5-tube chassis with a unique and wonderfully strange push-pull audio output circuit that appeals to my engineering mind. Very clean inside.
- Bendix One of the most sylish of painted-bakelite post-war AA5 radios is this model 526B. Somehow Bendix made the switch from wartime aircraft equipment to consumer radios with flair -- at least with this model, though you may not be able to tell with all that ratty failing paint. This set came from Montana and smells like it lived in a henhouse, but I bet it will fix up nice!
- Motorola Another cubical prewar (1939) battery suitcase portable! This model 41D-2 is the usual 4-tube design, but with a very cute little dial that rotates into position when you turn the set on. A (near) gift from Dick Kromer. I'm not sure whether to thank him or not!;) (Knobs are not original, but look OK.)
- Channel Master A rarity for me, this model 6406 transistor set caught my eye (and heart) for its style (and relative cheapness). Good reverse-painted dial, almost flawless plastic case, and unraveling leather cover (not shown). Well, it IS battery powered, as are so many in my collection.
- Silvertone I bought this model R1181 on ebay based on a very dim and grainy picture and was surprised by its size and beauty when it arrived. 7 tubes including a tuning eye, and mechanical pushbuttons. The cabinet is in such good shape that it may need only a good cleaning and touch-up (except for the grille cloth and missing knob). Not sure about the innards, though.
- Stewart-Warner This model 91-53 is an earlier, and much classier version of the bakelite model 03-5J1 above. Its curvy wood cabinet is in great shape, and it plays pretty well on AM and shortwave (with hum). I snapped it up cheap at a Ham Radio flea market.
- Airline Montgomery Ward sold this stylish model 62-486 to farmers, who ran it from a 6 volt storage battery. From about 1938, this one has a service note from a North Dakota radio shop dated 1950. The swoopy Art Deco cabinet needs refinished on top, but overall it's wonderful. I've bought a set of tubes for it, but not tested it yet. The vibrator seems to work, at least!
- Philco This is one of the first radios I remember from my childhood -- a nice little red plastic Philco C584, with horizontal thumbwheel controls. Pretty unremarkable AA5 chassis with miniature tubes from about 1955, but ah, the memories! Listening to the "funnies" being read over local station WHHH...
- Hibbard SuperTone I'm not sure who made this late '30s table radio, but I loved the dial so I got it. It looks a lot like a Truetone D-1014, but the chassis is totally different. After I fix the veneer below the knobs, it should be a pretty nice-looking set.
- Silvertone This model 6372 from Sears is sort of an odd duck -- a completely enclosed lightweight wood table radio, that's actually a battery portable. 8 screws to get at the batteries! It's missing knobs, and there's some warping of the rear wood panel veneer, but otherwise in fine shape.
- Philco Finally, a real cathedral -- a Philco 38 battery set. It was a "decor item" at a local clothing store, sold when they changed store design. I love the style, but the many voltages it requires will be a challenge, as will the missing veneer pieces in the sides (happily not visible in the photo). I have an irrational weakness for "farm sets."
- Airline I've had this Airline 14BR-735A for years, and it finally rates a photo! A two-band set with 6 tubes, in a nice ivory cabinet with 4 knobs and a bunch of pushbuttons. Needs a dial cord and a paint job.
- Lyric The cuteness of this little painted bakelite Lyric 546 attracted me. It's got a solid bakelite back instead of the usual cardboard. Another paint project.
- Motorola Under the nasty black paint on this Motorola 55X15's wooden cabinet is a pastel blue surface that's a surprise in a late '40s radio. Yet another repaint item! Update! I've acquired another one, in yellow, with the (apparently) original decals in place. I think this model was called the "Mother's Day."
- Emerson This radio's Ingraham cabinet's curved wood speaker grille caught my attention. There's no ID on the radio, but I'm calling it a EC-352 since it's similar to the DR-352 except that it has the simpler AA5 EC chassis. Needs new top veneer, and a general going-over.
- Packard-Bell This big blonde Packard-Bell 48D came with a bunch of other "parts sets" I bought on eBay, but it looked complete enough to keep. It has two shortwave bands and an eye tube, and a higher tube count than most other radios I have. That blonde cabinet will be a challenge!
- Philco This circa-1933 console Philco 65 was covered with 70+ years of dust, but otherwise is in very decent shape. It's missing most of the knobs, but everything else is there. Got it for $20 on Craigslist. The first console I've brought home, and my wife likes it!
- Atwater Kent Another 1930 console acquired cheaply from Craigslist. This Atwater Kent model 70 is in wonderful original condition -- the Pooley (?) cabinet may need only a rubdown with furniture polish. My wife already suggested it find a place in the living room! Tubes test OK (including a pair of 45s!), but it's silent so far.
- Emerson I had to buy several mostly-derelict '50s and '60s table radios in a Craigs List lot to get this Emerson B131. Doesn't look like much now, but under the gray paint is an Ingraham cabinet with some really nice wood veneer (according to my references). I'll post the restoration progress.
- Philco The only "clock radio" in my collection is this handsome Philco 90 radio-clock. The clock actually works, though the radio part is going to need some restoration. It has a 4-tube circuit, with a regenerative detector -- very interesting. The cabinet sides are badly delaminated and missing about half the veneer, so that will be a retirement project!
Radios Emeritus Sets retired/sold from my collection.
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Updated February 21, 2013
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