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Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by RetroToday, Jul 19, 2007.
Beautiful cabinet. Simple elegance.
On another online community I saw posted a 1939 Sparton 557 “sled” offered for sale at the bargain basement price of $3000.
I almost spat out my coffee. But then I noodled around and I saw another listed for more than twice that. I doubt they’ll get it. (1stdibs is the bane of those of us left to tell would-be sellers that they ain’t likely to get anything approaching those prices for their similar items.)
Yes, it’s a very stylish radio, a fine example of Art Deco/streamline moderne industrial design. And they aren’t to be found just anywhere. But 3 grand?
Designed by the same guy who invented the white-porcelain-walled Texaco station. If the radio's worth 3 grand, imagine what one of those buildings would be worth.
That would be Walter Dorwin Teague, then?
And as to the white porcelain Texaco stations …
I suspect it’s feasible to disassemble one and reassemble it on another site. Maybe not at an expense that would prompt a person to do it under anything other than extraordinary circumstances, but the things are kinda “modular,” ain’t they? The came to the build site in prefabricated pieces, right?
Thank you Tony. It's one of those sets you need to see in person. It's actually a solid, quality little console that was meant to be "chic-deco" in it's simplicity. The rose/bronze "stage curtain" grille cloth is a nice touch. It's very delicate though and needs replacement, but I'd hate to lose that aged patina. It seems to suit the set. it can always be replaced anytime.
Yeah, I have a couple-three radios with original grille cloth that definite shows its age. But I’m in no hurry to replace it. It’s still intact, and for as long as it’s in my possession, it very likely will remain that way.
Sometimes, sometimes not. Ours was a wooden-frame building, to which the porcelain panels were attached years after it was built. Other versions were concrete-block walls sheathed in porcelain. Generally the buildings in Northern states had to be more substantial than the usual pre-fab deal in order to withstand the winters.
Teague was one of those designers who was everywhere in the late thirties. His Sparton radios might be his most collectible work, and the Texaco stations the most famous, but he had his hand in just about every kind of design work out there. He put out a very nice line of cameras for Kodak around the same time he did these radios, and they're quite collectible as well.
A friend owns a property with a gas station structure on it that dates from the ’60s, I’d guess. It’s a mostly steel building with one concrete block wall. These things weren’t temporary structures, but I doubt the designers thought they’d be around in a hundred years, either.
Here's a scarce 1940 model 40-504 battery only portable radio/phonograph. The platter is crank wound. If you can find one of these they're usually worn and tattered, but this one was well cared for. The previous owner restored it to working condition and it plays very nicely. The '30-'40's tweed-and-stripes airplane cloth makes it such a charming piece.
wow! now there is a survivor! a real museum piece! handsome and fascinating!
Hi Ed! Thank you. I may be wrong, but I don't recall any other airplane-luggage style battery portable with a phono on it. I think this was the only one. In all my years of collecting I believe I only saw one other of these Philco's and it was pretty worn. It has a lot of appeal and I like how easy it winds up. I'm really happy to add this to my collection.
Here's a tiny battery-only Trav'ler model 5019 from 1947. It's amazing how small tube portables got by this time - and how many of these were sold in a slew of configurations and coverings. They're very easy to find, and often reasonably priced, but the battery's will cost you more than the radio itself! Quality one's anyway that will last a good long time. They're really adorable little sets that perform surprisingly well.
Here's a rare one. It's a small 1940 Motorola model 51-B "all-American-5" bakelite radio. These are very hard to find in any condition. I can can only assume it's because it's so small and light that many were dropped or knocked off tables. One drop and these are gone! This one is a survivor. It's called the "auto-grille" set for obvious reasons and a very pleasing deco design. The 2-knob "A" model is rare enough, but finding this 3-knob (added tone control) "B" model is very tough. They also came in painted white and a battery powered model.
PS - I added a photo with my hand on the set to illustrate just how small the set is.
Here's a small bronze painted metal "AA-5" radio. Starting in 1938 small metal kitchen radios became very popular. They actually play very well! Arvin models are the most common, but this 1947 Temple model G-1408 is a tad less common. They came in red, blue, ivory, and bronze.
I had posted this one before, but now have completely refinished the cabinet. It's a 1936 Stewart Warner model 1361A. It's a top-of-the-line large "tombstone" radio with a beautifully indirectly lit "Magic Dial" and two-speed geared tuning with second hand. It plays like a large console model. I counted 6 different veneers on it's solid-as-rock "Craft-Built" cabinet. Stewart Warner (yes, the same company that made/makes gauges) made very good radios.
Here's a text book example of streamline-moderne design, which consisted of smooth clean lines, asymmetrical sharp angles, and louvers or "speed lines". The last variant of art-deco before the trend, that lasted about15 years, would finally become passe. This is a very hard to find 1939 RCA Victor model 96X-3. It was designed by the famous streamline industrial designer, John Vassos. It has all his styling cues. This set came in all brown, all black, white plaskon, brown with tan plaskon (this model) and black with ivory plaskon. The dial indicator is an unusual roller cylinder type that glows a nice orange-yellow. A real work of art. Excuse the dark photo. It was difficult to get it any lighter.