My experience -- I have an Atwater Kent model 84 cathedral, circa 1931, and an Atwater Kent model 725 tombstone, circa 1936. The 1936 model is completely functional as a modern radio, AM and shortwave, whereas the 1931 radio is really dated, lacking, for example, automatic gain control (when you have the volume up sufficiently to find weaker stations, coming across a strong local station will blast you out of the room). Across the board, the performance of the 1936 is way better than the performance of the 1931.
I also have a Blaupunkt Stockholm, from the late 1950s. Although the performance of the Stockholm is clearly better than the performance of the 1936 AK, the difference in performance between the 1931 AK and the 1936 AK is greater than the difference in performance between the 1936 AK and the Stockholm.
Only the Stockholm receives the modern FM band, which is very nice to have. The audio quality of the Stockholm is much richer than the audio quality of either of the older radios. All three of these desktop radios have a very nice appearance, although the Stockholm is from a later design school, of course.