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My Vintage Radio Collection

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

  1. This is our 1948 FADA which, while we are more pre-war enthusiasts, we bought it because it has FM and thought the bakelite case and general style is beautiful. Also, the sound is incredibly rich.

    Shibumi and vitanola like this.
  2. Old radios are great. They are great to look at as well as listen to.
  3. Just got a real nice art-deco 1937 RCA Victor 86T 3-band tabletop set. Nothing beats that 1930's style!
    1937 RCA Victor 86T.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  4. I have the console version of that set in my office. It's rare to find them with the bezel intact -- it's Tenite plastic, and it shrinks and warps if the set is stored in a hot place like an attic.
  5. Yes, tenite is quite an unstable plastic. If the bezel was cracked or badly warped I would've have passed on the set. This particular RCA dial so quintessential 1930's!
  6. I happen to have a RCA Radiola 20, with the battery compartment stand! I would put up a snap, but mine is packed at present. A friend fixed it years ago and I was playing around with it late one evening when I came across a station playing old radio programs from the 1930's & 1940's! It was really neat to listen to programs that the original owners would have possibly heard.
    vitanola likes this.
  7. The Radiola 20 is a very nice '20's set. One of the best in my opinion. I'm not only a vintage radio/TV collector, but a big fan of the great old radio shows. People don't know what they're missing by not listening to them. When I play my sets, I broadcast these old shows to them with my little AM transmitter from the Net and it's like going back in time, not to mention great entertainment. There are literally thousands to enjoy. The writers for shows like Suspense, The Whistler, The Inner Sanctum, and Escape were top notch. Not to mention all the great radio comedians.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
    Auld Edwardian likes this.
  8. Dear Sir,
    The AM transmitter sounds really neat. Where does one purchase such an item?
  9. An AM transmitter is a must if you have antique radios. It makes for really enjoying using them each time you turn them on instead of searching the dial up and down for something decent, which is tough to do these days. My first AM transmitter was an inexpensive kit that was very easy to assemble. I believe those are still available from places like the Antique Electronic Supply in Tempe AZ. Then I got a pre-built solid-state model off of eBay, that I don't believe is still available. It cost about $200, but I've been using it without a problem for at least 15 years. Worth every penny. Check the Net and eBay for other models. I believe there are pre-built tube versions too. You can also inquire on the Antique Radio Forum about them.
  10. 1930artdeco

    1930artdeco A-List Customer

    Auld, if you google 'am transmitter' you will come up with smt9000 I believe. That is the one I have and I really like it. If it is put together correctly not backwards like I did they work great.

  11. I recently picked-up an early bakelite ultra-midget set. A 1936 Kadette "Jewel" model 41 made in Ann Arbor, MI. It's only 7.5"x5.5"x3.5" and has a classic art-deco design.
    1936 Kadette Jewel.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
    vitanola likes this.
  12. Here is an early one! A 1922 Westinghouse RC radio with a 1922 Westinghouse Vocarola horn speaker. It was sold by RCA before they even had a factory manufacturing radios! It's considered the first practical home radio that sold in large numbers and the oldest set in my collection. Radio was basically a ship-to-shore Morse-code means of communication only a couple of years earlier and it was called "wireless" at that time. Radio, at this time, in 1922, was much like it is today with news, talk, and music. The days of the classic radio shows was years away.
    1922 Westinghouse RC.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  13. FStephenMasek

    FStephenMasek One of the Regulars

    The SSTrans transmitters are the best. You will not regret getting one. You do have to assemble it, so need a soldering iron and some solder. It is easy. I have the AMT5000 version. Any transmitter is going to work dramatically better with a good ground. That does not mean the third prong in an outlet. It should be a heavy wire connected as directly as is possible to the main building ground, a driven rod, or a ground network (heavy bare cables laid in the earth).
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  14. Being on a roll with 1920's sets, I recently added a 1924 Radiola III along with a matching Radiola "Balance Amplifier" and a 1924 Radiola UZ1325 horn speaker. RCA actually sold a Radiola IIIA that was a combined unit. The III was for the budget conscience who preferred to buy the radio first using headphones, and decide later if they wanted the amp. and speaker. In the end the both were equally priced. The set is small, but has a quality feel and performance about it. The sound, as expected, is flat and "megaphone-like", but that's they're charm!
    1924 RCA Radiola III.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  15. I have the carcass of one of those Radiolas out in my garage -- got it at a yard sale probably forty years ago, and soon found out how hard it was to find WD-11 tubes in the pre-internet era. I think there's a family of mice living in it now, but someday I may dig it out and see what can be done.

    Best battery radio I ever owned was a Crosley 51, which I rigged up to a Hot Spark electric fence battery and a B battery I got on special order thru the engineer at the radio station where I was working. Excellent long-distance reception, and the audio, thru headphones, wasn't bad at all. I never liked using AC power supplies with it, and I haven't seen a Hot Spark battery in decades, so it's packed away in the attic...
  16. You're right about battery supplies being the best and cleanest performance. I do use an AC eliminator, the ARBE III, just because it's convenient. Yes, good WD-11 tubes are very pricey and, because of their delicate nature, best used only for display anyway. My set uses replacemement 864's that are pricey too, but cheaper and give top performance. It must be said that to have set like this working is a substantial investment. Forget book value - it's purely a labor of love. I have no regrets when I turn it an enjoy it!
  17. I'm "lost in the '20's"!
    Here is a 1922 Federal Jr. crystal radio. The first crystal radio I've ever added to my collection. With it is a 1924 "Du-Wa" aerial eliminator and a pair of period Trimm headphones. The all black metal and bakelite cabinet has a solid quality feel to it. I read it was the finest crystal set produced at the time. This really is radio in it's infancy. It's absolutely amazing how loud and crystal clear the sound is using my AM transmitter. An absolute marvel over 90 years later.
    The actual photo is down below a few posts.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  18. How does the Du-Wa work for you on distant signals? I have one but I've never tried it.
  19. I just got the set today and automatically hooked it up to the DU-WA, being glad to finally use it! I must admit I'm cheating a bit using my AM transmitter, so I'm getting, as expected, excellent results. I haven't yet disconnected the DU-WA so I can't compare the performance without it. I did notice a little decrease in volume bringing the slide controls on the unit down. It likely is aiding in signal strength. I've actually seen these DU-WA's fitted as a crystal set itself! One is shown in the first volume of Ed McMahons radio guide book.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
  20. The 1922 Federal Jr. crystal set:
    1922 Federal Jr..JPG
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017

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