SOME OF MY WOOD RADIOS
Here you will see a selection of some of my wood radios. I love the warmth of a wood cabinet. The wood blends in nicely with the rich, warm, tone of a tube radio.
Zenith Chairside Radio
This is a 1938 Zenith chairside radio model
7-S-240 with the famous robot shutter dial
This radio was designed to sit at the end of a chair or sofa, with the speaker facing out (rotated 90 degrees cw from image) and the dial facing the edge of the chair. That way the person sitting in the chair could see the dial and easily reach the controls. It also has a magazine rack (or books) so the individual could enjoy reading a magazine while listening to music on the radio.
The radio has standard broadcast AM, a worldwide shortwave band and a police band. On the shortwave band it list countries around the dial and here we are almost 70 years later and you still receive those countries at that location on the dial.
When you change bands the dial face changes with a mechanism similar to the shutter in the camera. So you get a whole new dial face for the new band. The dial has a flywheel mechanism that allows you to quickly scan from one end to the other and then it has a fine tuning dial with greatly reduced dial movement per knob rotation so you can fine tune the station. To help tune in the station the radio has a "tuning eye" tube which has two lines that get closer and closer together as you zero in on the station.
This is a fully restored radio and it sounds fantastic when tuned to the local oldies station where you can listen to all the old tunes. I started out with this radio on the page first because it is probably my favorite radio in my entire collection. This radio was restored by Lee Byer of Holland, Michigan. The last I checked he did not have a website, but contact me and I can tell you how to get in touch with him.
Philco Transitone Table Radio
This is a Philco Transitone model 42-PT95
table radio from 1942.
I love the contrast between the two color wood and the white plastic frame around the speaker and the dial. I have seen this same frame used on different models, even a portable.
You may think this is a portable because of the handle on top, but it was designed for AC power only. I think the handle was just a decorative touch.
This radio plays well and looks well, but it has not been restored. One of these days I will refinish the cabinet and do some restoration to the electronics of the set.
Delco Tombstone Radio
This is a Delco model 3201
Tombstone radio from 1937
You probably know Delco best as the company which made car radios for General Motors automobiles. However, they also made a number of radios for home use and this is just one of many that they manufactured.
There is an interesting history of the lineage of the Delco radio company which can be found elsewheres on the internet.
This is AM broadcast only and it requires an external antenna. This radio has been fully restored by Lee Byer of Holland, Michigan.
I love the rich tone of the cabinet and the nice burl wood face below the speaker.
This is the only "working" tombstone I currently have, but I do have a couple of other ones waiting restoration. I may show some of those "radios in waiting" on a separate page.
Airline Movie Dial Radio
This is an Airline (Montgomery Wards) "Movie Dial" radio model 62-272 from 1937.
So you have seen a Chairside radio, a table model radio, a console radio/phono, and now here is something really different.
This radio is called a "Movie Dial" radio because instead of having a printed dial face it has a film strip wrapped around a drum and then a lamp and optics projects the image on a blank screen on the front of the radio. Unfortunately, you can't quite make out the image on the dial screen.
Here is a close up of the Movie Dial.
You can see that the station call letters are displayed along with the city they originate from. On a conventional dial that would not be possible, but on the movie dial you have a much larger surface to work with so you can squeeze in all that extra information. However, only a small portion of the dial is projected on the screen at a time so you can really fine tune in on a station.
This radio also has the tuning eye tube to let you zero in on the stations frequency.
What can I say....I really like this movie dial radio. That feature puts it in a class by itself. And to think, Montgomery Wards sold this to the average joe through their catalogs.
RCA RADIOLA MODEL 20
This is an RCA Radiola Model 20 from 1927.
This is a Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) type of radio. That means that each individual stage must be tuned for optimum loudness. This type of radio was difficult to tune, but with experience one could develop the "feel" of each tuned segment.
Some of the TRF radios have numbers on each dial so that the user could write down the numbers in a log book for each station. With a radio like this they would have four columns and might write down something like:
For KGO set dial 1 to 13, set dial 2 to 8, set dial 3 to 15 and set dial 4 to 18. Of course these would be in a table with the station call letters going down a column on the left and the dial numbers being recorded horizontally across from each station call.
Guthrie Company "The Nightingale" Radio
This is The Nightingale radio manufactured by the Guthrie Company, Grafton, OH. C. 1925.
This is another TRF radio with 3 tuning stages. Like most of the early TRF radios it was designed to run off of batteries in the house.
This and many others are really hybrids using both wood and metal. In this case a metal face is mounted onto a wood cabinet.
Most of these early radios were hinged at the top so you could have access to the tubes.
An interesting note is that many times these radios were sold without tubes in order to get around various patents. Then the customer would buy a set of tubes and install them themselves. It was quite easy to install the tubes and in many cases the tubes were all of the same type so you didn't have to worry about plugging them into the wrong sockets.
This is the very ornamentally designed name tag that was found on the inside of the top cover of this radio.
DELCO MODEL R-1115
This is a classic Delco radio, model R-1115, in a really nice cabinet from 1938.
This radio has had some restoration work done on it, but it still has quite a ways to go before it will be complete.
I like the design over the speaker grill cloth. And I like the black dial face, similar to the Zenith black dial radios.
Someone just emailed me to say they have one like this but "different.
The tuning knobs on their radio are arranged in a straight line instead of the bowed arrangement of the knobs on this radio. Otherwise the radios are identical! BTW, their radio has the SAME model number!
HOFFMAN MODEL A-300
This is a Hoffman model A-300, made by one of the few west coast radio manufacturers located in Los Angeles. This radio is from 1946. The Hoffman company also made TV sets so they were into the electronics in a big way. Like all wood radios, I really like the warm tone of this one.
ECHOPHONE FARM RADIO
This Echophone Farm radio model EC-600 was made by Hallicrafters in 1946. (Thanks to Art for model and date.)
From the front this looks like a normal radio. However, if you look in the back you would see that it appears a lot of stuff is missing. You would be right because there is no AC power supply in these farm radios.
These were designed for rural areas where they didn't have electricity. They just had cables that connected to batteries and they would have some way to recharge the batteries. My friend Jack tells me most of these were 32 volt DC systems and the batteries were recharged using windmill generators. And all this time I thought those windmills just pumped water. Thanks for the input Jack.
If you are interested in learning more, an excellent story on farm radios and windchargers can be found at http://www.antiqueradio.com/Mar02_Russell_Windradio.html
FREED-EISEMAN MODEL FE-15
This Freed-Eiseman model FE-15 is another example of battery radios from 1924.
It looks like there are three main stages of TRF but there are two smaller knobs that probably tuned some interstage circuits to maximize the sound output.
PHILCO MODEL 41-255
This is a Philco model 41-255 with push buttons for selecting pre-programmed stations. Like most Philcos, the first two digits indicate the year....in this case 1941.
This radio has 3 bands. The standard broadcast band, and two shortwave bands. The shortwave bands covered 1.5 MC - 3.5MC on one band and 5.5 MC - 18 MC on the other band.
There was a way you could "set" the pushbuttons to tune a specific local station. Then the owner would write down that station ID on a piece of paper in the window above the push button.
This made for very high-speed tuning of the stations most listened to.
ZENITH AM/FM MODEL C-835
This is a nice Zenith model C-835 AM/FM radio from 1956.
This radio would fit in nicely in either the office or the home. There is a nice contrast between the wood and the fabric covering the front of the radio.
I also like the large circle tuning dial that was common to a large number of models from the Zenith line.