Plastic Radios Page
Here you will find some of my Plastic Radios and radios made from similar materials such as bakelite, etc. I doubt you will find any Catalan cabinet radios here because that would prove that I have more dollars then sense, which I don't.
A lot of these radios have what is referred to as the All American Five chassis where 5 vacuum tubes are employed in what became a standard configuration. So, the chassis, or circuit did not make these radios significant, but the cabinet styling often was what caused a consumer to purchase such a radio. Many of them were inexpensive so they found their way into a large number of homes.
See which one is your favorite.
Classic Packard Bell Clock Radio
This is a Packard Bell Stationized clock radio model 621 from 1952.
This is a real classic plastic radio design. It is called "Stationized" because some radio station call letters are printed on the dial face. They are difficult to see in this image but you can tell that there are letters around the dials under the numbers.
On this particular radio they are all western stations listed on the dial. Some examples of the call letters are KGA, KMO, KSL, KOMO, KFJ, KGO, KCBS, KMPC, KNBC and KSFO. A lot of these stations are in the San Francisco area.
So it appears these radios had to be sold to certain regions that could pick up the stations listed on the dial. It would do no good to sell this radio in New York with all the western stations printed on it. So they must have had a model for the east, another one for the midwest and so on.
I don't know how many people keep a coffee pot in their bedroom but the radio had the capability to turn on an appliance when the alarm went off by plugging the appliance into an outlet on the back. Let's see, how many minutes do I set the snooze for to make sure the coffee is done when I hop out of bed?
Silvertone Plastic Radio
This is a nice looking Silvertone (Sears Roebuck Co.) radio, catelog model 6, with a chassis number of 132.811. This was manufactured in 1951.
I like the design with the gold accents against the cream colored background with the bright red dial indicator. Thanks to Art for providing the model number.
I am constantly amazed at the nice designs the catalog companies had in their radios. I wonder if the catalog of the period provided such a good image?
This is Motorola model A1N-46 from 1960.
This is a pretty much "plain Jane" type of radio. It is probably the type kids had in their bedroom so they could listen to music while doing their homework.
This is one of those "It can't get much simpler" type of radios. There is a on/off - volume control on the left and a tuning knob on the right. This one doesn't even have a dial scale so none of those pesky strings to worry about coming off their tracks.
I like this radio because of its simplicity.
RCA 5 - C - 581
This one would probably be called Art-Deco today.
This is RCA model 5-C-581 and it has a clock with alarm from 1955.
One very interesting thing about this radio is that to turn it on you rotate the large dial which is around the clock area. Then the lower knobs are the standard volume control on the left and tuning on the right. On top of the radio is a switch to set the alarm mode.
I like the almost black plastic with the gold edged trim around the face and around the clock.
ZENITH MODEL R512R
This Zenith R512R from 1954 apparently came in 5 different colors.
There is supposed to be a handle on this one but it will need to be replaced.
You can see several of the colors along with the identical model without the push buttons at this site: http://www.radiosalon.com/html/radio-museum6.htm
THIS IS A CORONADO "ADVENTURER" WITH ONE OF THE LONGEST MODEL NUMBERS AROUND. MODEL 35RA37-43-8355 FROM THE 50'S.
This is a real clean and great sounding radio in mint green front with chocolate brown case.
Other information of the back of the radio says Gamble Skogmo, Inc. and Western Auto Supply Co. I don't know if those two companies were related at the time or both were licensed to sell this radio.
This is a conventional 6-tube radio.
RCA AM RADIO MODEL 8-X-451
THIS RCA MODEL 8-X-451 FROM 1949 IS GOING TO TAKE SOME WORK.
Someone painted the black (or dark brown) bakelite case so I have two choices. Either remove the paint and try to restore it's original color, or I could repaint it a similar color. You can see where I started to remove some of the paint on the top.
As bad as it looks, the radio plays well so it is worth some restoration effort to get this 56 year old radio back in tip-top condition.
NATIONAL MATSUSHITA RADIO/PHONO Model AG-836
This is an interesting plastic cabinet with fabric around the entire lower half, made by National-Matsushita in the early 60's. This is model AG-836.
The radio is two bands and the phone is 4 speeds. The bands are standard AM broadcast and a shortwave band that covers 3.7 - 12 mcs.
I think this is the first record player I have seen that plays 16 2/3 rpm records along with the standard 78, 33 1/3 and 45 rpm records. I understand that the slow 16 2/3 speed was used for talking records, like childrens books.
This IS NOT the National Radio Co. from the USA, but is a Japanese company that eventually became Panasonic around 1964.
CAPEHART MODEL T-5222 AM RADIO FROM 1953
This radio has the "modern" styling that was popular in the 50's and 60's. This is a Capehart model T-5222 AM broadcast band radio made in 1953.
I guess you would call this style Elegant Simplicity, but it has gone a little beyond other radios of the time by having some variation with the colors used. Quite often radios from that era were of a solid color with maybe some dark or light lettering. This one has the GOLD trim to accent the dark speaker grill in the center and contrasts nicely with the cream color of the cabinet.
ZENITH MODEL R-615 AM RADIO
This is a nice art-deco Zenith, model #R-615, from 1952. This is AM only.
The radio carries the very common Zenith round dial design that was used on many of the Zenith radios. There were lots of variations, but the round design became a brand name recognition that could be spotted across a room.
Like the radio above, this one had the volume and tuning knobs blend in with the legs of the cabinet. Also, it was quite common in this era to put handles on radios even though they were not intended to be portable, unless you had a very long extension cord!
KADETTE JR. FROM 1933
This is a very rare Kadette Jr. radio from 1933. It is a 2 tube TRF set and you can see how tightly things are packed inside.
I read that Kadette was the first manufacturer to make radios in plastic cabinets. This one was supposed to be a "pocket sized" portable. But, at 6.5" X 5.5" X 3" I think the only pockets it might fit would be combat fatigues. Also you needed to run a wire antenna to it as well as the power cord.
I just discovered that this set used resistor wire in its power cord to drop some of the voltage prior to reaching the tubes. The resistance is 330 ohms and dissapates 30 watts of power. I guess they wanted to keep that heat outside the plastic cabinet.
I now have a brown one identical to this one but my brown one has its back cover.
BTW, I am missing the back of this case so if you have a spare case around then please contact me.
AIRLINE (MONTGOMERY WARDS) AM RADIO MODEL 04BR-512A FROM 1940
Well I know a perfect dust cover for this radio.....one that fits over a toaster. This is an Airline (Montgomery Wards) 04BR-512A AM radio from 1940.
This one plays but has a crack in the case and needs lots of cosmetic restoration. I am tempted to paint a couple of black strips across the top to make it look even more like a toaster. It is almost the perfect size to be a toaster.
I just happened to think that soon we will have to explain to the younger folks what Montgomery Wards was because they are all gone now. So, for you young people, Wards was just like Sears is today, but we can't predict how much longer Sears (Sears Roebuck & Co.) will be around either.
RCA CLOCK RADIO MODEL 2-C-0511
This is a nice RCA Clock radio with AM only. It is model 2-C-0511 and was made in 1958.
From the front it just looks like a desk clock, but the radio controls are on each side of the set. There is a slide switch on top to select ALARM on/off. I can't remember if this one had an appliance plug in the back of it or not.
EMERSON RADIO FROM 1946, model 507
This is an Emerson bakelite set from 1946, model 507.
These radios came in the plain bakelite, like this one, or in a painted bakelite cabinet with an off white color. At least they look "off-white" today, some 60 years after they were manufactured.
On the tuning dial face it says "Emerson Radio & Phonograph Co., New York, USA".
JEWEL CLOCK RADIO, MODEL 98 FROM 1951
This is a good example of what a good bakelite finish can look like. This is a Jewel Telechron Clock radio, model 98, from 1951.