My Vintage Radio Collection

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

  1. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

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    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    good to have the remnant paint as it gave you proof of original color. that sort of evidence can be a great lead when wanting to restore something to original status. I wonder what other color options they offered?
     
  2. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

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    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    I would've actually preferred more of a beige tint to it to warm it up, but, unless you mix your own colors, it's chancy straying from standard Ivory. I played it safe. Likely, originally, they were more white and age gave them a darker patina. These radios were offered in the standard "walnut" bakelite, and ivory or ebony painted models. I actually never saw an ebony painted model. The 1940 version had a large, and rather awkward, gold colored "Wavemagnet" antenna box attached to the back. Also slightly revised dial graphics.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  3. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    This was a real rescue. It's a 1939 DeWald model 649. 6 tubes, 3 bands, pushbuttons and tuning eye. A friend gave it to me and it was a real mess. Worn, beat, and missing parts. I restored it, but it still needs a few tweaks. A nicely styled set.
    1939 Dewald 649.JPG
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  4. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

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    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    wow! you restored it? thats some work! looks really amazing! do you have any before pics to go with the after pics? :D that is a nice looking radio.
     
  5. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

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    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Thank you Ed. I should've took pics before, but I dove into the set as soon as I got it. Yes, I refinished it, put in a new dial window, pushbuttons, and station call letters. My friend, who gave the set to me, already tweaked the chassis, but, amazingly, it plays excellent on most of it's original paper caps! Refinishing takes a LOT of patience. It has 4 coats of shellac topped with 4 coats of lacquer. One slight error in any way and it's all ruined. You have to do your homework. It took many hours to get this one looking good, but I had frustrating problems with the gel stain used on the dark trim. This was a total "rescue" radio and now it's preserved.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  6. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Here's a 1940 Automatic Radio (that was actually the full name of the company) model P-51. It's AC/DC/battery powered and is 2-tone marbled dark grey and very pale yellow/beige. Not a common portable.
    1940 Automatic P-51.JPG
     
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  7. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

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    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    wow! thats a handsome looking radio! those knobs look exactly like Zenith knobs.
     
  8. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

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    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Thanks Ed. I'm a fool for these pre-war portables! There fun to use. Yes, Automatic knobs are like Zenith's, but if you see them in person, they're not nearly as blunt. These are more petite and cone shaped.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  9. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    ah yes, I see it now. the Zenith have 8 ribs... those have 6 ribs and are tiny. very nice indeed!
     
  10. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Here is another 1935 Kadette model 90 "Cameo" radio. This was a damaged set which I repaired and then was open to take liberties as to what color I would paint over the scars. It originally came in brown (mine is posted here) or "peanut-butter" mottled bakelite, or solid white plaskon-plastic. Being the oval Cadet Cameos and knobs were black, I decided the classic '30's Nile green would look pretty cool. There was actually some rare and very valuable '30's radios that had solid Plaskon-plastic pistachio green cabinets.
    The second set is a cute small 1941 General Electric model L-500. This simple clean design actually won a plastics design award that year! Simple, but attractive set designed as a second radio for the home, or for the child.
    1935 Kadette Cameo.JPG 1941 General Electric L-500.JPG
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  11. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    these are wonderful! so awesome you can bring the broken ones back to life. they don't make them like this anymore! it would be a forgotten history. I always liked the marbled plastic. such a great look!
     
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  12. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Thank you Ed. The Kadette was my first custom job and I must say that it's fun to not only save a set, but be able to make it look your own way. I would never do it to an undamaged set. I secured the damage with JB-Weld and metal mesh on the inside and Bondo spot putty to on the outside. There was many hours of careful sanding and re-filling. As far as the GE, typically brown bakelite sets appear to look almost black in normal lighting, but sometimes a lighter reddish-brown tone was used with heavier mottling. The white knobs are original by the way.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  13. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    wow! usually with age and handling usage (oils from fingers) the knobs get that old yellow look. those knobs look great!
    I have used JB Weld on a few things years ago . great tip if I ever need to repair anything.
     
  14. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    The trick with JB Weld is, if you your repairing say a cracked plastic cabinet, you need to notch the crack on the inside with a Dremel, fill it with the paste, and lay a thin supporting mesh over it. I then spread the paste over the mesh. That secures it. Without it, you'll have a very weak fix.
    As far as the white knobs, some '40's plastics are very stable, like the GE's white knobs. Sometimes they're made with a cheap soy-based plastic that baldly warps, discolors, and disintegrates. You'll often see this used on car dashes of the period. By the way, I clean knobs with pumice-free GoJo and a nylon brush. You won't believe how much dirt accumulates in those little knurls from years of hands turning them! I sometimes have to scratch each knurl with toothpicks.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  15. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Here's another early battery portable. A 1939 Majestic model 420. It was in well worn shape, but I got it cheaply and wanted to save it. It's a rare one. The "Radiomuseum" website lists it as "model unknown" with just a photo. It's the biggest of these "vintage luggage" looking early portables I ever saw. About the size of a period small projector case!
    1939 Majestic 420.JPG DSC00055.JPG
     
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  16. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    whoa! super nice! never seen this type before. odd that its model unknown. you would think the maker would have put some kind of mark on or inside it. too cool to be generic. if you cared a guess who would you think produced it? any tells on it that might suggest a maker?
     
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  17. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Hey Ed - There actually is an ID tag on the chassis of this set. I just had to relay the info to Radiomusuem to which they made the addition to their site:
    https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/majestic_unknown_portable.html
    The front of the set has a "Majestic" brass plate under the dial. My repairman, who owns and has seen many of these early portables, was really impressed with this one. It needed quite a bit of fixing including a full set of replacement tubes, but it plays amazingly well. Just like a large wooden tabletop model. Without AC line interference, nice an clear too. Although it's of very moderate value, it's very likely the only one in existence.
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  18. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    well its in the right hands then! you saved it from being forgotten and becoming extinct. :) thanks for sharing it here. its really a handsome radio and one for the books for sure! glad you were able to get the radio museum some info to update theirs!
     
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  19. decojoe67

    decojoe67 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Here's a 1939 Pilot Radio model H-11 battery only portable radio. This seems to be another pretty uncommon portable. I only found one other example on the Net. One website lists it as a 1938. I do know that these tweed sets with the new low-drain tubes hit the market in late '38 so it possible it could be that early. It actually is playing on it's original components as well as all of it's original scarce tall tubes.
    1939 Pilot H-11.JPG
     
    Edward Reed likes this.
  20. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress
    very handsome set there! fine shape! it certainly has a 1930's design element to it doesn't it?
     
    decojoe67 likes this.

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