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My Vintage Radio Collection

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by RetroToday, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Hi there,

    Former "lurker" and new guy to join the forum here. Hello everybody.

    Thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of my vintage radio collection, so here is a link to my online gallery:


    I've been collecting antique and vintage items for over 15 years now, but more recently have been collecting radios. Got many of them at garage sales and some given to me over the years. There's just something more interesting (for me) about antiques that actually can "do" something. I'm also now learning (slowly) how to fix these things!

    I'd love to eventually own a house from the victorian era, or deco era, all decked out in 99% pre-WWII items.
    Radios have just "stuck" to me for the moment as the main interest. I now have over 23 of them. Sheesh! The collection grows without me knowing sometimes.

    I understand there is a "radio" forum here, but I thought it more appropriate in the display case. Hopefully the moderators agree.

    Warmest Regards,
  2. [​IMG]
    Here's one of the radios in my collection, a 1941 Zenith. This one doesn't work at this time, but I plan to get it working again. When I bought this (at an auction), I discovered the original bill of sale tucked away inside. The selling price was $89.95, and it was put on layaway on August 20, 1941, paid off and picked up on November 20, 1941. One must wonder if the owner(s) heard FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech on this new radio.
  3. Starius

    Starius Practically Family

    Fantastic collection, RT! I especially like the 1934 Philco.

    Oh, and welcome to the lounge!

    By the by, I was sooo close to going with a Shadow avatar myself... haha!
  4. If that's a 10S567, then I have the exact same radio. Ten tubes, right? I found mine in an antique shop, paid $150. Found out that it had belonged to a former neighbor of an old fiend. The guy took good care of it, but it did need new caps. (Warning to anyone who gets into antique radios: If it has a loud hum that probably means the capacitors are shot and there's a real fire hazard. Get it checked out by somebody competent.)
    I got myself a SSTran AMT3000 short range AM transmitter, and I can play any input device (CD, internet, etc.) to it and it sounds GREAT.
    Hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine. There's something SO COOL about a classic console tube radio from the 30's or 40's.
  5. Just checked out your collection. Wow, man. You're the real deal. I have one working (the Zenith) and one needing repair (for the reason described above). It's a Philco 40-180, 8 tubes. Classic middle range radio. Very, very nice collection. People should realize that collecting radios is a hobby anyone can get into at almost any level. There are nice restored table model radios, with gorgeous Deco wood work, for as little as $100 - $120. Then you can get up into the $1,000 to $3,000 for the super snazzy ones. I go crazy over the Deco designs, an all their amazing variety.
  6. Yes, mine is a ten tube model. I've plugged it in, but no hum, just nothing. I just need to start checking the tubes first. I have a 1939 (I believe) Silvertone that is close to being finished. I believe I have one tube that is suspect, and once I figure out how to properly use my newly acquired tube tester I might get this figured out. Here's a pic of the Silvertone.
    Not in quite as nice condition as the Zenith, but actually looks better than the photo. The flash enhanced the cosmetic flaws.
  7. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Thanks for the welcome, Starius. I was thinking maybe the Shadow avatar was too typical of an old radio collector, but then thought "Aww, what the heck" I at least modified the image with a custom smoke effect in photoshop.

    And, I'm glad you were able to take a gander through the collection, thanks for the nice comment on it too. You have a great Avatar yourself...
  8. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Thanks dhermann!

    Older Zenith's are actually VERY difficult to find up here in Canada, not sure why. Maybe they weren't made up here at the time?
    I'd surely trade-up a few of my sets to get one of those beautiful "super-snazzy deco" Zenith sets. I also go crazy for those designs, Zenith's especially, or Scott Laboratories radios - wow.

    Zenith had a great knack of making their dials look like something out of Buck Rogers spaceship!

    But yes, you can start collecting at any price range. The best ones I have gotten over the years were free, just because I showed a genuine interest. Some of the Addison tabletop radios (built here in Canada in the 40s) fetch quite a large sum because they have Catalin cases.

    I haven't set up a transmitter, but I have played CDs and MP3s through some of the consoles that have RCA phono jacks.
  9. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

  10. John K Stetson

    John K Stetson One of the Regulars

    Great collection. I really like the Philco table model. Do you know what company made the cabinet, or how to determine that? I'm asking because I just started to research the manufacturer of some bedroom furniture I am getting - Mengel. Not a lot of info, but apparently they also made cabinets for Philco. I'd like to find a radio to go into the bedroom, and if the cabinet was also made by Mengel, that would be fun.

    (reference towards the end)

    (reference just before the 1st pic)
  11. Radios

    Great Collection! You have done well for only 15 years of collecting. Of course evil-bay has speeded up the process considerably. I began collecting in high school and had to thin the collection finally several years ago. Now I have about forty five, 1937 Philcos in my collection, plus a couple of 1941s and two Bowers brand radios I couldn’t pass up.

    I have posted this before but dumped the photo from photobucket by accident.
    This is my 37-116. 15 tubes, 15 inch speaker with three passive speakers. A great sound. It sits in a place of honor in our living room.

  12. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Thanks K.L.! What a beautiful Philco you have there! Great dial on that one, the inner workings of those are tricky to fix, sometimes. I like the vintage clock on top too. Come to think of it, I almost bought a Canadian version of one of those a couple years ago! Deal fell through.. oh well.

    Actually, I've only gotten one of my collection off of ebay.
    The rest were aquired by word of mouth, kindly given to me, or purchased through garage sales.

    As far as evilbay goes - I don't even want to think about the nightmares involved in shipping large consoles here, unless it's a VERY special one. There's enough problems shipping tabletop radios - the shippers like to "field goal" kick those ones into the back of their trucks. Fragile to them is translated to "Kick Harder" in their language, I think....

    The collection all started when I wanted one old radio to go along with the rest of my vintage stuff. Now it's a mental disorder.
  13. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Hi John,

    Sorry, I don't know who made the cabinet. Even if I did, it would most likely be a Canadian manufacturer and that may not be of any use to you.

    Whatever company made the cabinet would usually follow Philco's cabinet design schematics, so it wouldn't really be a "Mengel" designed cabinet.
    The design of Mengel's regular furniture and Mengel's Philco radio cabinets may even clash when you put them together?

    To ID a cabinet maker:
    A lot of times cabinet companies would rubber stamp an inked name on the inside of the cabinet. For years I thought that "Galloway" was the model name of my 1939 Rogers console. (Rogers named their radio models, didn't just use numbers) Found out this year from a fellow collector that it was actually the cabinet manufacturer's name.
    Needless to say, I felt pretty dumb at that point! I had been calling it "The Galloway" in my gallery.

    Another example: The 1932 Stromberg-Carlson console I have has a lot of cabinet maker's information stamped into the decorative pressboard centre panel, hidden from view until it is removed from the cabinet.

    Hope this stuff helps,
  14. Philcos

    Thank you Retro. I did purchase the 37-116 through eBay, but drove to Tennessee to pick it up myself. You are so right about shipping any radio. They have about a 50/50 chance of survival. Sometimes I blame the person packaging the radio, sometimes the handlers. I bought one floor model on eBay. When it was delivered, my wife called me at work. She said you need to see this. I drove home and it was still sitting in front of our home. The bright red arrows with THIS END UP, were pointing to the ground. Fortunately the shipper had packaged it well, but there was still some damage to the cabinet.

    My wife used to tell people that I never saw a radio I didn’t like. That is why I centered my attention on 1937 Philcos. One reason was I had more of that year then any other. Two it was the last year Philco produced a cathedral. A lot of the 1937s do have the Unit Construction chassis which are very hard to work on.So bad that unless it is an exceptional radio, it is not worth the effort.
  15. Flivver

    Flivver Practically Family

    I have a 37-116 also. They are truly impressive performers when electrically restored.

    Philco was one of the pioneers of high fidelity in this country. The 1934-35 Philco 200X and 201X consoles were (arguably) the first mass marketed high fidelity receivers in the U.S. market. These were followed by the 1936 Model 116X and the 1937 Model 37-116X

    But, the grandest Philcos of all were the 690X models of 1937 and 1938. These top-of-the-line consoles had twenty tubes and were housed in beautiful cabinets veneered with exotic woods.

    Truly magnificent!
  16. Ahaaaa the 690, the holy grail of Philco radios. I did bid on one in Massachusetts one time on eBay and planned to drive up there to get it if I won. However it sold way out of my price range. The 116 is an excellent radio. I would like to have one with a shadow meter as the automatic tuners are worthless. So many changes were made in the two years they used them that you can rarely find two alike. But they do look cool! If you want to see some more of my Philcos check out philcoradio.com. Ron Ramirez was working on Philco Radios 2.0 before he took a break and he ask for photos of some of my 1937s (and a 1929 that I can’t get rid of) and posted them in his gallery. K.B.
  17. SamMarlowPI

    SamMarlowPI One Too Many

    always wanted one of these oldies...my uncle used to have one, i wonder if his wife still has...hell, ill take it off her hands :rolleyes: not sure what brand or model...

    btw, theres a house down the road has the face of an old radio as the front gate up to his door...really really neat..ill try to snap a pic and post it one of these days...you'll get a kick...
  18. Holy Grail of Zeniths

    The Holy Grail for Zeniths is the Stratosphere series. The Models 16-A-61, and 16-A-63, with 16 tubes, from 1936, and the Model 1000-Z, 1935 to 38, with 25 tubes!!! Here's a link:
    These behemoths cost a small fortune in their day. The 1000-Z sold for $750. A 16-A-16 recently sold for $15,000. You could get a 1941 Buick coupe for $935, for comparison.
    As a novice collector, I'm finding it easy to get info on the big names, Zenith and Philco. But others are difficult. I just bought a Spartan (pix will be put up as soon as I get it!) 528. They made the 558 with the blue mirror finish. Tho not that different from my model internally, the current price difference is ten time higher. Likewise radios made from an early plastic called Catalin go in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. An identical Bakelite or wood cabinet could be worth only $100 to $300.
    If there are any radio experts out there who know more about the hi fi models of the lesser known (today) makers, Spartan, Stromberg Carlson, etc., etc., etc., please let me know.
    It's a wonderful hobby. I encourage all Loungers to get themselves at least one antique tube radio!
  19. That looks like one of those Pottery Barn clocks, my wife has one exactly like it. Is it really a vintage clock that they reproduced?
  20. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    I really meant to say "retro", not vintage. Oops!
    Don't know if it's old or not, the style is certainly nice, works with the radio.

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