Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vintage Radio Fun!

If you love old radios then you know that wintertime is a great time to play with your sets and make repairs/restorations. This weekend I`m going to highlight some of my radio collection.To me nothing brings back memories of the past like vintage radios. I have added a player at the bottom of the page, and you can stop it if it annoys you. Just a few of my favorite radio shows on there. Over the years my collecton has grown to about 20, four of them are floor models and the rest are wood and bakelite table models. I only have a couple that work and I had no intention of creating a pristine collection. Just old sets that were reasonably intact and inexpensive. I plan on restoring some of these as I accumulate the parts and knowledge to do so. A lot of info can be found on the internet, in groups like and   
The first radio is a 1942 Zenith model 12H670 which designates that the chassis has 12 tubes which was a midrange set for the day. The top of the line Zenith was named the Stratosphere and came with 25 tubes which would create enough heat to warm a small room on a cold day. A photo of the Stratosphere can be seen here.
    Other companys made some fantastic sets also, such as Philco Here I have a nice art deco styled Philco floor radio model 41-300 from 1941. Its a large set with 12 tubes and multiband functions like the Zenith that can pickup AM Fm and Policebands. This one is my favorite because of its condition. It still has the original finish and aside from a few flaws is very nice to be 60yr +. The dial and controls are under the folding front cover so they were very well protected and in mint condition. The dial and escution around it were so nice that a screen print company made a copy of it to help a friend restore his. Unlike most radios this one had wheels that controled the Volume, Tuning, Tone and Band selection.  This set was missing its tubes and they are of a more expensive variety so I`ll have to do a bit of looking before I restore this one.
I have been studying radio repair on the internet and one thing I have learned is that you shouldn`t plug in any radio until you have had it checked by a pro. Many things are at risk including your health. The power transformers are one of the more expensive parts that can be damaged by a short. Usually all the electrolytic capacitors need replaced. Some of these when shorted can make the chassis hot and you could get electrocuted. A short could also damage the tubes which can also be expensive depending on the set. anyway always better safe than sorry. My next set is the only one i have with a family history. My grandmother had this set since before I was born. We were never supposed to touch it, but you know how curious kids are and I loved it at first sight. Its a Crosley from about 1950 with a built in record player. This one did work a little and I plan to restore it. It has a drawer on the left that holds the record player and a door on the right that hides the radio. This set has beautiful clear knobs and lower side doors to hold your record collection. It also has a very nice sound.One of my small bakelite sets is this RCA 66X11 table top. A real beauty, Its bakelite is bright and shiny and has a beautiful dial with a polished brass pointer. It was made in 1946 and was the first of this modle as designated by the numbers on the chassis. This one had been worken on and plays but probably needs more attention as I dont get stations very clearly.Its an AM band only and the dial lights up nicely at night.


  1. Donnie, it's been a million years since you posted. What fun to see some of your radios. I'm enjoying the music, and of course it puts me in mind of visiting my grandparents. Thanks for the memories!

  2. Thak you Mrs. D! I have more to come if I can get the photos made.


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