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Each picture below is a link to a larger picture, plus more information about each radio, including the tube complement.  Don't miss it!
 
Admiral 517-5G / 114-5A   1938
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Above left is a beautiful ivory Plaskon radio.  The dial glows bright red through translucent lettering.  Above right is a beautiful black Bakelite radio.  The dial glows bright red through a magnified peephole between the two pairs of pushbuttons.  Both sets have five-tube, AC (transformer) powered chassis.


Aetna 505 / Trav-ler 5066   1948
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These two radios use the same cabinet with its smiley grille design, but share no other components.  The radios were probably made by the same manufacturer, but their knobs, dial scales and chassis are different.  The Aetna is an All American Five set, while the Trav-ler has the All American Six circuit—an All American Five with an RF amplifier stage added.  In addition to an oversized 5-inch speaker for better tone, the Trav-ler sports a galvanized chassis, the only radio in my collection to do so.  I wonder if that fact was advertised as a "feature" at the time?


Meck DA-601 / Aircastle 9008   1949
Click for more about this radioMeck used a prewar mold (this cabinet originally appeared in 1938 on an Admiral midget set) to make these cheap postwar radios.).  Meck sold the black Bakelite set, near right above, under its own brand name; Meck put the brand name Aircastle on the ivory Plaskon set, far right above, for catalog vendor Spiegel.


Airline 62-274 "Miracle"   1938
Click for more about this radioIt says Miracle right on the dial.  What about this radio could have been considered miraculous?  Was it the attractively sculpted Bakelite cabinet, finished on all sides?  No, Bakelite cabinets and radios finished on all sides had been around for a few years by 1938.  Was it the small size?  No, many smaller "midget" sets had been made in this and earlier years.  Was it the performance?  No, this radio works just like any other five-tube set of the day.  Was it the tuning eye?  No, tuning eyes were quite common in 1938 (although somewhat unusual in a plastic set).  I think that in 1938, enough people still considered radio miraculous in and of itself that Miracle was a natural term for a marketing department to use for any radio.


Airline 62-351   1939
Beautiful streamlined shape.  Finished front and back.  The chassis slides in from the bottom.  The dial glows in a glorious vermilion hue.  A masterpiece, made for Montgomery Ward by prolific OEM supplier Belmont Radio Corp.  Belmont's output of radio sets during the late 1930s and 1940s must have been enormous, as their radios seem to turn up everywhere.Click for more about this radio


Aldens 5000    1947
Aldens was a Chicago-based catalog retailer like Sears or Montgomery Ward, although less well remembered than these latter two.  Like Sears or Montgomery Ward, Aldens didn't make its own radios, but instead bought them already private-label branded from OEM suppliers.  This radio was made for Aldens by Trav-ler.Click for more about this radio


Arkay S5E   ca. 1946 through 1964
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In terms of style, these radios appear to be from the late 1930s or early 1940s.  Actually, they were offered as kits in electronic hobbyist catalogs from just after WWII through the early 1960s.


Automatic 442   ca. 1940
I really like this radio's bold louvers and swell 1940-ish styling.  It's a deluxe two-band set; standard AM broadcast and 2-to-6-Mc. shortwave.Click for more about this radio


Belmont 519   1939
Click for more about this radioGraceful styling makes this one of my favorite plastic radios.  At ten inches wide, it's smaller than most of the tuning-knob-on-the-side Belmont-made sets.


Belmont 602B   ca. 1937
Click for more about this radioA very early Belmont plastic radio, with gorgeous early plastic styling in beautiful creamy Plaskon.


Belmont 638 / Coronado C640   ca. 1941
These are possibly the best-styled radios ever made.  Need I say more?Click for more about these radiosClick for more about these radios


Clarion 11801   1947
Click for more about this radioThis is an adorable Bakelite table radio.  Just look at those knobs!


 Coronado 43-8353   1947
Click for more about this radioCoronado was the house brand of the Gambles Department Store chain.  This set was made for Gambles by Belmont.  The paper label says it's the same as a Belmont 6D115, although I've never heard of it being marketed by Belmont directly.  It's got a nice bulbous rounded Bakelite cabinet (which was a bit out of vogue by the late 1940s) and a snazzy illuminated slide-rule dial.


Crosley 628-B   1939
Click for more about this radioThis is a two-band (AM and 2.4-to-6.5 mc.) Bakelite table radio.  The bandswitch is inconveniently located on the rear of the chassis.  It's AC only, and the rectifier tube sits high atop the power transformer.  From Crosley promotional material: "Magnificent! This will be your comment when you hook up this newly designed radio for trial—when you find the positive clear cut action of the push button tuning—when you explore the easy tuning of the knob control—when you hear the fine tone so free from distortion—when you discover the amazing true volume the set delivers."


Delco R-1231A   1947
Click for more about this radioThis All American Five AM AC/DC set is known among collectors for its pretty grille design; note the "ribbon-candy"-shaped squiggle in the center.


Emerson 108   1936
This is a very unusual shape for a plastic radio.  Taller than it is wide, with the speaker above and the dial in the center below, it looks like a smaller version of the many wood "tombstone" radios in my collection.Click for more about this radio


Emerson 420   1934
This is a very early plastic set.  Its plain boxy shape contrasts with the labyrinthine decoration on its front.Click for more about this radio

Emerson 587   1950
Click for more about this radioA crisply styled small table set.  It looks vaguely like some contemporary automotive grille designs.


Emerson 610A / 602C / 636A   1950
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The 602C in the center is an FM-only radio, while the flanking 610A and 636A tune the regular AM broadcast band.  These were styled by Raymond Leowy, who also did the magnificent 1953 Studebaker automobile, among other things.  They're all quite pretty, with reverse-painted grilles and clear-plastic knobs on the ends of the "tuning cylinders."  The cabinets are all made of a solid-color (unpainted) polystyrene-like material—probably one of the earliest uses of this plastic in radio cabinets.


Emerson CU-265   1940
Click for more about this radioOriginal price $9.95.  "Here is beauty of modern line in this walnut bakelite cabinet with its corrugated front."


Emerson DR-343   1941
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These are big radios.  At 13 inches wide, they're the largest plastic radios in my collection.  They're deluxe, too, with two bands, AM & shortwave, and a two-position tone switch.  And speaking of tone, it's really nice because of the large six-inch-diameter speaker, unusually big for a plastic table set.


Fada 263V   ca. 1937
Another ivory Plaskon radio of inspired design.  It has a lovely orange glowing dial.  FADA stands for Frank Angelo D'Andrea, who founded a radio manufacturing company in 1920.  His company failed, and was reincarnated at least once before failing for good in the early 1950s.Click for more about this radio


Fada 609W / 609I   1946
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These radios are smaller than most plastic table sets; only nine inches wide.  I like the way the letters F A D A are molded into the cabinets above the vertical speaker-grille slats.


Firestone Air Chief S-7426-1   1939
This radio, made for Firestone by Stewart-Warner, has wonderful 1939-style bulbous curves.  I grew up with the ivory-painted version of this model in my parents' kitchen.  Could that have established, on a subconscious level perhaps, my unbounded appreciation for designs of this period?Click for more about this radio


General Electric F-40   1937
This is a neat four-tube AC (transformer powered) AM Bakelite table radio, manufactured in my home town of Bridgeport, CT.  Its clean styling seems modern to me—more like early 1950s than 1937.  The deco touches give it away, though.Click for more about this radio


General Electric C400   ca. 1946
This radio was made by the Canadian General Electric Co., in Toronto.  No doubt that's what the C in the model number stands for.  It's a primitive design, both stylistically and electronically, but it still appeals.  At seven inches wide, this radio is quite small.Click for more about this radio


General Electric L-573 / L-622   1942
Click for more about this radioMy mind boggles to behold the beauty of these translucent, marbled cabinets.  They're made of "tortoise shell" Catalin plastic, or, as I'm fond of describing it, cast caramel soda with streaks of root beer.Click for more about this radio


Kadette "Junior" model F   1933
Click for more about this radioThis is a two-tube TRF radio, advertised as portable and pocket sized.  It was pocket sized as long as you had really big pockets.  It was portable as long as you didn't want to play it.  Then you'd need to attach the power cord and plug it into an AC outlet, and string out the wire antenna.  This pristine example was found apparently unused in its original box.


Lyric 546T   1946
This plain vanilla set was made by Rauland Corp. of Chicago.  It appeared under the Knight (Allied Radio) and "I.T.I." brand names also.  It's yet another All American Five AC/DC set.  But it has an interesting molded speaker grille and neat nubby grille cloth.  It also has a Bakelite back, which adds considerable collector appeal.Click for more about this radio


Philco Transitone TH-16   1940
Since the early 1930s, Philco used the Transitone name on its auto radios.  In 1940, for some reason, they decided to use the name on some of their small table radios too.Click for more about this radio


Radio Process Co. "The Aeolian"   ca. 1946
Click for more about this radioThis is another enigmatic radio.  According to what's printed on the dial, this company was located in Los Angeles.  There is no model number indicated.  I can't find this radio, or this company, in any of my references.  Enigmatic or not, it's a pretty radio with a highly marbled cabinet that's also much redder in tone than most brown Bakelite.


RCA Victor 66X9   1946
Click for more about this radioAnother beautiful Catalin radio.  This one is a sibling of the wood-cased RCA Victor 66X3, using the same excellent chassis, knobs, and dial.


RCA Victor "Little Nipper" 9TX31   1940
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, super-small "midget" sets such as this were very popular with consumers because they were cheap.  Even the Radio Corporation of America was forced to sell these low-profit-margin sets to compete in this market segment.Click for more about this radio


Sentinel 309-R / 309-W   1947
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The model 309-R on the left is red Plaskon; the model 309-W (W for walnut) on the right is brown Bakelite.  This radio was also available in -I (ivory) and -N (I wonder what?) color versions.  Standard All American Five circuit in a neat small cabinet.


Setchell Carlson 416   1946
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These are plastic five-tube AC/DC AM radios that look like frogs.  They were available in a plethora of color schemes, only three of which are shown here.


Silvertone 3251 / 6405    1940
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These are rather small (just 7-5/8 inches/193mm wide) table sets, one of marbled "Onyx" Beetle plastic, the other of brown Bakelite.  In this case, the radios use the same cabinet mold, but have different chassis.  The covers over the slide-rule dials are glass, rather than the celluloid plastic material more commonly used for this purpose.


Silvertone 6107 / 6197 / 6402 / 3141     1939 / 1939 / 1940 / 1940
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These are four inconceivably cute Bakelite midget sets, with wonderful glowing dials.  They're each only approx. six inches wide, with four tubes in similar TRF circuits.


Silvertone 7008   1941
"A triumph of radio design with its satin smooth overall front and back design.  Lighted 'Sunburst' dial of translucent plastic that curves rays of light and makes entire dial light up.  Onyx color plastic with gold color dial, knobs, and push buttons . . . $11.25"Click for more about this radio


Star-Lite RN-57   ca. 1962
Click for more about this radioWhy do I like this 1960s radio?  Its polystyrene marbling recalls the Beetle plastic that I celebrate in 1930s radios, and the whole front is a big slab of reverse-painted plastic.  And hey, it's got vacuum tubes inside.


Truetone D909   1939
Click for more about this radioThe quintessential midget set.  Just six inches wide.  With minor cosmetic changes, this radio was also sold under the Detrola (the likely manufacturer) and Silvertone (see model 6107 above) brand names.


Truetone D2815   1948
Click for more about this radioThis is a large (13.5 inches / 34 cm wide) six-tube AC/DC Bakelite table radio.  Its design is vaguely architectural—it looks like a stately old building with an imposing entrance.  Truetone radios were sold in Western Auto stores.


Westinghouse WR 120   ca. 1937
Click for more about this radioAn early Bakelite radio, with a Bakelite back.


Zenith 6D414 / 6P417 / 6D411   1940
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These radios look a bit "toaster-like" (1940-toaster-like, of course), with their upside-down rounded-corners bulbousness.  The '414, far left, is painted Bakelite with deluxe pushbuttons; the '417 is painted Bakelite with an extra 1.5-to-3.3-mc. Police band; and the stripped down '411, above right, is sans pushbuttons, an extra band, and paint.
 
Admiral 372-5R   1940
Click for more about this radioA regular All American Five AM-broadcast-band AC/DC radio.  All American Five refers to the simple five-tube superheterodyne circuit that this radio has.  This radio has several extras that elevate it out of the ordinary:  the curvaceous Plaskon cabinet, the brass escutcheon, and the row of pushbuttons on top.


Airline 04BR-421B / 93BR-421B   1939
Click for more about these radiosClick for more about these radiosReally tiny four-tube AM table radios.  Cute, too.  Airline was catalog vendor Montgomery Ward's brand name for its line of radios.


Airline 62-320 / Airline 62-325 / Whelco A11   1939
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These three radios were all made by Wells-Gardner, and use the same four-tube superheterodyne chassis.  Most of Wells-Gardner's product, like Belmont's, was branded for other stores like Sears or Montgomery Ward.  I can find out little about the Whelco brand, but it appears to have been Wells-Gardner's own.


Airline 93WG-604 / 93WG-602B   1939
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These are simple five-tube sets, but with tuning eyes added.  Gorgeous cabinets, with lighted drum dials and thumbwheel controls.  The '602, above right, originally sold for $13.95 but it "looks and sounds like a $20 radio," according to the Montgomery Ward catalog.  At $18.50, the '604, above left, was the step-up version with tone switch (on the back) and two bands, AM and 2.5-to-6-Mc. shortwave.


Aria 137-UT-214-A / Sentinel 226-I   ca. 1939 / 1941
Click for more about this radioClick for more about this radioI put these two radios together because they were both made by Sentinel, and their cabinets are identical except for the dial area.


Arvin 547A   ca. 1948
Yet another All American Five AM AC/DC radio.  I like its compact bulbousness.  It's also a "left-handed" radio:  Most radios have the speaker on the left and the dial and controls on the right.  This radio is reversed.Click for more about this radio


Belmont 510 / Delco R1150   1940Grantline 501   1946
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Here are three similar Belmont-made radios.  Belmont put its own brand name on the model 510 at far left, and made the other two for Delco and the W.T. Grant Co. discount-store chain.


Belmont 534   ca. 1941
Click for more about this radioStarting in the late 1930s, and continuing unabated through the 40s and 50s, the electronic circuit of the ubiquitous All American Five design stayed pretty much the same, but it was installed in thousands of different cabinet designs by hundreds of different manufacturers.  Each cabinet design was an artist's statement, and this particular radio was one of the best.


Belmont / Coronado 636   1940
Click for more about these radiosClick for more about these radiosAnother beautiful Belmont design.  Streamlined shapes for a streamlined age.


Bendix 526C   1946
Click for more about this radioThis radio's clean, yet plain, lines would make it unremarkable were it not for the cabinet material:  Catalin plastic.  Catalin is a gorgeous, candy-like plastic that was used for radio cabinets, and some other household things, between 1937 and the late 1940s.  In yet another reversal of progress, no transparent or translucent plastic made since the Catalin era even comes close to its beauty.


Coronet C-2   1946
Click for more about this radioAn unusual table radio with a dial that has two sets of calibration markings.  One set is "upside-down" when viewed from one side of the radio.  It was intended, I'd guess, to sit on a table between two chairs, and be accessible from either side (by husband and wife, say).  There's a speaker grille on the other side, too.  How romantic.


Crosley C-519A / C-529   1940
These radios just sit there, with their symmetrical good looks and their pert vertical slide-rule dials, and grow on you.Click for more about these radiosClick for more about these radios


Delco R-1151   1940
Click for more about this radioThis radio was made by Belmont but branded Delco.  It wouldn't matter to me what this radio was called—it's got super style.


Detrola 218 "Pee-wee"   ca. 1939
Click for more about this radioDetrola called it the Pee-wee because of its diminutive size.  During this time period, Detrola made similarly sized plastic sets for Sears (Silvertone) and Western Auto (Truetone), all using the same simple four-tube TRF circuit.  This particular example is a deluxe Pee-wee with two bands: AM and a 1.8-to-4-Mc. "Police" band (shortwave).


ECA 108   1946
Click for more about this radioThis is a large, imposing Bakelite radio.  Its architecturally inspired design looks very much like a building—see the windows?


Emerson 126   ca. 1937
Click for more about this radioAn attractive radio, yes?  Its simple, symmetric styling is timeless.


Emerson 540A "Emersonette"   1947
"Emerson Radio has done it again!  FIRST-and-smallest—with modern engineering to utilize war-born developments of miniature tubes!  FIRST to compose the latest and most efficient electronic developments in light 'palm-of-your-hand' AC-DC Superheterodyne radio with super power."Click for more about this radio


Emerson 613A   1950
"Famous 'Fan-Tenna'...Powerful 3-Way Portable for AC-DC and battery pack, with amazing new antenna that swings out like a fan.  Just 6-1/4" high.  Plays everywhere.  Less batteries, costs only...$29.95."Click for more about these radiosClick for more about these radios


Emerson DB-301   1940
Click for more about this radio"With exclusive Miracle Tone Chamber - 5 Tube AC-DC Superheterodyne - Standard Broadcasts - 'Inner Ceptor' Loop - 'Eye-Ease' Dial - Handsome Ivory Plaskon cabinet."  Original list price: $14.95.


Emerson EP-381   1941
Click for more about this radioAn inspired design, in ivory Plaskon.  It uses the same chassis as my EP-367.


Fada 350V   1938
Click for more about this radioThis is one of the Fada Coloradio series, "obtainable in 4 beautiful colors:" black, "walnut" (brown), ivory and "Chinese red."  All the colors are unpainted Bakelite or Plaskon.  Original list price: $19.95.


Firestone Air Chief S-7425-4   1939
Click for more about this radioThis is a truly midget-sized ivory Plaskon radio—only 6-5/8 inches / 17 cm wide.  It uses the four-tube TRF circuit that was so common at this time in the smallest, cheapest radio sets.


Firestone Air Chief S-7426-6 / S-7402-1   1939Meck RC-5C5-D-PB12   1946
Click for more about this radioClick for more about this radio Click for more about this radio
The Firestones on the left are cute semi-midget-size radios with pretty cabinets and unusually lighted dials.  The Meck, on the right, is a post-WWII radio that uses the same cabinet mold, but with slight modifications around the dial area.  The re-use of prewar molds for postwar radio cabinets was not uncommon.


General Electric GD-520 / Tiny Tim model no. unknown   1939
These are stunning little (just 7-1/2 inches wide) five-tube radios.  The G-E at right is rendered in Beetle plastic, with a stylish metal dial escutcheon.  The enigmatic Tiny Tim, far right, is obviously the same radio, but dressed down a bit.Click for more about this radioClick for more about this radio


General Electric H-501X / H-520   1940
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These have appealing 1940-style rounded, turbine-shaped cabinets.  The Beetle plastic of the H-501X, white with brown swirls, is supremely beautiful, as is the heavily mottled brown cabinet of the H-520.  The sheer variety in radio cabinet styles and materials that was available to the consumer of this period is staggering.


Jewel 855   ca. 1948
This simple radio's deco-esque stepped cabinet belies its post-WWII origin.  The cabinet is made of unpainted ivory Plaskon.Click for more about this radio

Kadette K-151   1938
Click for more about this radioA beautiful ivory Plaskon radio, with elaborate details molded into the cabinet front.  It has two bands, AM and shortwave.  The bandswitch is on the back.


Knight B10506 "Candid"   1940
"Here's the finest of the camera-like portables on the market today.  Just what 'America-on-the-Go' has been waiting for!  A powerful little Personal Portable 1.4 Volt Superhet with everything built in, that carries just like a camera.  Looks like a camera too.  There's nothing else like it in radio!"Click for more about this radio


Knight 6C-225 / Sonora RZLU-222   1947
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These two radios are identical except for the brand name silkscreened on the dial, the coat of ivory paint on the Sonora's cabinet, and the color-coordinated knobs.  Obviously, they were made at the same time in the same factory.


Majestic model no. unknown   ca. 1940
Click for more about this mystery radioAt first glance this looks like a Majestic model 51 with a flashy paint job.  But the Majestic 51 is a post-WWII radio with miniature tubes, while this radio's chassis is almost certainly pre-WWII (because, among other reasons, it uses a 12A8GT mixer tube).


Packard Bell 5FP   1946
Packard Bell was a Los Angeles manufacturer that distributed its products only on the West Coast.  In fact, the dial is "stationized" with the call letters and frequencies of West Coast stations.  This radio has an unpainted Plaskon cabinet.Click for more about this radio


Pilot T504   1946
This is a five-tube AC/DC circuit (the All American Five once again) with an added feature: a second band covering 6-to-24-mc. shortwave.  The knob in the middle is the bandswitch.  The cabinet is ivory Plaskon, not painted Bakelite.  It's unusual in that it's made up of four separate pieces, top, bottom, and two sides, screwed together.Click for more about this radio


Radiola 526   1942
Click for more about this radioIt wasn't love at first sight.  I passed by this radio twice at the swapmeet, seeing its plain boxy shape and thinking it had little to recommend it.  The third time around, I realized it had attractive bulges on either side of the silkscreened-on-both-sides glass dial scale, two bands (AM and shortwave), cute knobs, and a swell handle.


RCA Victor 8X682 / 8X681 / 8X521   1948
Click for more about this radio Click for more about this radio
Above left are two plastic table sets (ivory painted and unpainted brown Bakelite) with such deluxe features as two bands, tone control, and a pretty clear-plastic speaker grille.  Above right is a much smaller and lower-cost brown Bakelite set, with a pretty clear-plastic tuning wheel on top.


RCA Victor 96X-14   1940
Click for more about this radioThis is a large table radio, with a cabinet made of ivory Plaskon.  Its handsome design is the work of prolific industrial designer John Vassos.  It has two bands, AM broadcast and a shortwave band which is calibrated only in terms of the foreign broadcast meter bands (wavelength values like 49M, 31M, etc.).  No frequency calibration marks are shown on the dial.


Setchell Carlson 458R   1950
Click for more about this radioThis is an odd radio.  First, it has a weird cabinet style.  Second, even though it's an AC/DC line-powered set, it uses "one-volt" low-power tubes normally used with battery-powered radios.  Third, it's an intercom in addition to a radio.  Just hook up another speaker to two terminals underneath, locate the speaker at, say, the front door, and you have a simple intercom system, controlled by the buttons on top of the radio.


Silvertone 6179A   1939
Click for more about this radioA stylish midget radio that sold, on sale, for $7.95.  It has a good-performing five-tube superheterodyne circuit, with a state-of-the-art built-in loop antenna.


Silvertone 6407   1940
Click for more about this radioThis is the "with pushbuttons" version of the model 6405 at left.  This one's of black Bakelite.  Like the 6405, it has two thumbwheel dials for volume and tuning, and a glass dial cover.  The styling of this radio in particular just screams 1940!


Silvertone 8024   1949
Click for more about this radioThis is an eight-miniature-tube AM/FM AC (not AC/DC) Bakelite table radio.  It's another radio that I bought simply because its styling appealed.  Then again, that's how I chose all my radios.


Stewart-Warner 07-513 "Campus"   1940
Click for more about this radioThis is a small table set in ivory-painted Bakelite.  The originally red knobs have faded slightly to an orange-red hue.  This model was promoted as an inexpensive ($12.95 factory list price) set to buy for the college-bound student.


Truetone D941   1940
Click for more about this radioYet another Belmont-made pre-WWII plastic radio that exemplifies the elegance of form that came effortlessly, apparently, to industrial designers of the period.


Western Royal "Jewel"   ca. 1941
Click for more about this radioThis radio was made by Belmont, and usually appears under the Belmont or Coronado brand names.  Western Royal was, I surmise, the house brand of a chain store in the West, but I don't know its name.  I bought this radio from a collector in Washington state, so the story fits.  I don't know the radio's model number either; Western Royal is poorly documented in the service literature of the time.


Westinghouse WR-166LI / 551   ca. 1940
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This cute semi-midget-size set at the far left is a U.S.-made model.  The one to its right was made by Canadian Westinghouse, and has a completely different model number.  The tuning knobs have vernier drive.  That is, it takes several revolutions to tune from one end of the band to the other, which makes the crowded upper part of the AM broadcast band easier to tune.


Zenith K412   1953
Click for more about this radioThis is a spiffy "portable" radio.  A Zenith advertisement says "Perfect size to move about house or take on vacation trip."  But it's not battery operated, so be sure that wherever you take it there's an AC outlet nearby.


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