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My Vintage Radio Collection

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
Here's a totally adorable little radio. A 1946 Air King model 4608A in ivory white Plaskon. It a 5-tube set with a dial lamp that not only makes the nice brass dial glow, but makes the translucent cabinet glow as well. It actually can be mistaken for a pre-war set as the early post-war years still carried over the classic art-deco designs. I have my hand in the photo to illustrate just how small this set is.
1946 Air King 4608A.JPG
 

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
This is rare and desirable midget novelty radio - a 1938 Majestic "Charlie McCarthy" 5-tube radio. It has an ivory painted bakelite cabinet with a cast metal figure. It also came in dark, unpainted bakelite. Although a child's radio, it's a good little performer. A real classic.
DSC00301.JPG
 

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
This is an 1948 Artone model R1046U AA5 Bakelite radio. It has an art-deco unique cabinet and a glass dial with radium numerals that glow indirectly. Like a clock from the period, the numerals will glow in the dark after the set has been turned off. This one is really like new,
 1948 Artone R1046U.JPG
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,671
Location
My mother's basement
^^^^^^
For how long do the radium markings glow?

I ask because my old Westclox Spur alarm clock (millions, probably, were made, so they aren’t hard to find, or expensive) has glow-in-the-dark markings, but after all these years (70-plus) the glow fades away to nothing in just a few minutes.
 

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
^^^^^^
For how long do the radium markings glow?

I ask because my old Westclox Spur alarm clock (millions, probably, were made, so they aren’t hard to find, or expensive) has glow-in-the-dark markings, but after all these years (70-plus) the glow fades away to nothing in just a few minutes.
Honestly, I just had read that this is the case with these sets. I only had it turned on for a few seconds to hear that the chassis needed new caps, so I couldn't verify. I've since heard from another collector that his doesn't glow. I will reply about it when the sets has been serviced in a week or so. By the way, I have a vintage radium clock and yes, the glow becomes much less bright over time. I heard a Geiger-counter will register with these! Did you watch a doc on the "radium girls" that painted clock faces in New Jersey? What a horror story.
 

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
1939 General Electric model H-510. Nick-named the "turbine" for its very "machine-age" designed Bakelite cabinet. Called "walnut", it is light brown with a nice heavy swirl. The surprising thing about these are how small they are. Very compact. The thumb-wheel tuner control has a translucent white strip that lights brightly when on. There
DSC00318.JPG
was a model without the push-buttons, and an ivory and "beetle" (marbleized) versions. A very adequately performing 5-tube chassis. Total eye-candy.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
30,619
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
The radium on radium clock, watch, and radio dials will remain active for hundreds of years -- it's the phosphorescent paint mixed with the radium that loses its ability to be activated by the radium. As long as you don't go scraping the paint off and swallowing it, it's not a hazard, but any attempt at cleaning or refinishing these dials isn't a good idea. The paint is held together by a glue-based binder, and it will flake into tiny bits very easily if you disturb it.

The phosphorescent material energized by the radium is usually zinc sulphide -- the same phosphor used in cathode-ray tubes. Depending on the material used to activate it, it will glow green, blue, or white. It's still used in "glow in the dark" applications today, but without radium.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,671
Location
My mother's basement
Last night I watched Episode 2 of the Ken Burns “Country Music” documentary, which covered at some length the role radio played in popularizing the genre during the Depression, when money was tight and record sales went through the floor. But listening to the “barn dance” shows on numerous stations across the land cost no more than the price of the electricity to power one’s home radio receiver. Mention was made of the 50,000 watt stations and the even more powerful ”border blasters” on the Mexican side.

I, of course, was intrigued by the images of folks gathered around their home radio sets. Along with the person watching with me, a contemporary of mine, who also has a surviving but quite elderly parent, I chewed over how people with firsthand recollections of such scenes are almost entirely gone now.
 
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decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
I just got this 1937 FADA model 246-W in solid brown bakelite. it was a total "estate sale find" radio that needed a serious polishing. These came in a slew of colors and trim levels. It's a nice larger size Bakelite cabinet with great streamlined lines and multi-colored dials. It has a full molding back panel that has large "FADA" cut-outs.The company was from tight here in Long Island and, as everyone knows, made many memorable sets.
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decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
Here's an uncommon one - a 1938 RCA Victor model U-104 compact radio/phono. It has a 5 tube (including ballast) chassis that performs fine. and a nice lit dial. It's been completely restored with many hours of work. I saw this set as a kid in a famous LIFE magazine photo from 1944 with teen girls listening to it in an old record shop. I've been looking for one since then! A really pretty little deco set.
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decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,671
Location
My mother's basement
Very cool pic. Those models were very popular. It's the version with the clear Lucite front panel. How quickly radio design changed to a more international modern style due to the WWII. Young people wanted to leave the pre-war days behind.

That “leaving things behind” is very much the approach taken by the Depression/WWII generations of my family. Very few misty-eyed nostalgics in that bunch.

I’d imagine they’d be positively gobsmacked by the prices the stuff they couldn’t be rid of fast enough are fetching these days.
 

decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
That “leaving things behind” is very much the approach taken by the Depression/WWII generations of my family. Very few misty-eyed nostalgics in that bunch.

I’d imagine they’d be positively gobsmacked by the prices the stuff they couldn’t be rid of fast enough are fetching these days.
Absolutely. My parents are an example. They experienced life during the depression and the fear of a World War. They wanted something new and modern. I had heard that up through the '60's, art-deco pre-war pieces like Frankart and NuArt were considered gaudy, dated old junk. It really took until the 1980's before they became desirable to a new generation.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,671
Location
My mother's basement
^^^^^^
I can still hear my grandfather singing the virtues of “wash and wear” clothing as my family was preparing for the grandest vacation of my childhood — two weeks via automobile in 1965.

Just throw it in the washer and then the dryer. It’s a modern miracle.
 
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decojoe67

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Long Island, N.Y.
1938 Silvertone model 6157. This was an upper level 11-tube set that's beautifully styled and performing. It has a nice smaller size too. It's all original and has a great patina. The chassis has been repaired.
1938 Silvertone 6157.JPG
 

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