What is your favorite era of radios/your area of expertise?

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Post by Dr. Radio on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Just curious, what era of radios do you focus on as far as collecting, or favorites when it comes to repairing/restoring?

My favorites are still what a lot of people consider (but shouldn't) garage sale junk--I like the baby boom era clock-radios and table radios of bakelite, painted bakelite and color molded pastic.

Don't get me wrong though, the oldest car radio I've restored was a 1948 Ford Adjust-o-Matic and the oldest household radio I have restored was a 1926 era Westingale set.

I guess I just like the 40's to 60s stuff a bit better as I hate refinishing wood on the older radios. That and it seems like as the population ages, more people can still relate growing up with a favorite clock-radio by their bedside rather than coming home and tuning in music on a 1930s Philco cathedral set.

Just wondering... Razz
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Post by Motorola man on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:27 pm

I prefer late 30's to early 40's consoles myself. True, the wood refinishing aspect makes them a little more difficult and the size limits the number that I can collect, but they look and sound great.
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Post by Ken g on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:47 pm

My interests have moved toward stuff from the mid 20's to the mid 30's . It has to be small and something special or unusual . It must have a good savable original finish but if its a real nice rare something i will accept a bad finish .
I still enjoy fixing up almost any old radio and do appreciate the later plastic stuff but no longer have the desire to keep any of those .
Consoles .. i no longer want to keep any . The only ones i will buy are big round dial good finishes to fix & sell .

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Post by atwater10 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:05 pm

I'm fond of the 1920's radios: Atwater Kent, Crosley, RCA and Home brew stuff (most are simple to restore ... but a little tougher to rig up to play) Cool

.... I do however have about a dozen Zenith Royal 500 transistor radios from the late 1950's to early 1960's, they are amazingly easy to work on and play well.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:34 pm

I like the late 30's to late 40's radios. I also like some of the 50's plastic ones, and, some of the 40's bakelite ones.
I really love my GE J-805 console radio. It plays great!
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Post by Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:45 pm

I like the 50's plastic radios as well, but most of the bakelite have the chassis which I like better than the printed circuit boards. I guess for working on, I like the radios with a metal chassis and 7 pin mini-tubes

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Post by willy3486 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:48 am

My favorite radios are any of the ones I can get. Seriously as far as condition the worse the better I like it. As long as it can be restored I like it in worse shape than good shape. There is one guy that comes to the Nashville meet I have got to where I ask what is the worst one he has. I picked up one that was rusted and had mouse hotel in it. The tuning cap was even rusted. I was able to get it all broke free and playing.

As far as models and such my favorites are the 40s to 50s radios like the Fada bullet. The ones that have a metal chassis,5 tubes and wired in with no circuit boards. I like them more for the styling than the circuits. I have one of the belmont rabbit radios I got years ago. When these old tube radios were going for a buck I paid five for it. I like the Bakelite,streamlined and colorful ones.

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Post by Nick666 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:26 pm

My favorites are the design wise are the late 20's to mid 30's, though i will buy anything if i like the cabnet.I have no intrest in buying more plastic radios (i have 6 or so) and i do not like working of tiny AA5/6 chassis.

My favorite part is refinishing wood cabnets.To me that is the most rewarding thing-to take something that may as well be fire wood and make it look good again.



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Post by terrydec on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:49 pm

I'm an AA5 kind of guy. I've been through about 20, counting resales. Currently I have six on display plus a tombstone and two consoles. The tombstone took almost a year to complete. I've restored one of the consoles and the other is waiting for repair. I got it because it had a phonograph and FM. I also have an unusual "Chair side" radio. It is a radio and table.

I have a video of the tombstone restoration in case you're interested-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7j11ZtKO6o
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Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:37 pm

Thanks. If you want to see the longest waiting project, look at my thread in phonographs. Restoration of 1939 RCA Victor R-98 victrola.
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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:33 pm

I'm another of those who like the mid 30's to late 40's. They are the vintage we had around the house, and the vintage they still had in the Army when I started out.

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Post by stringbender31 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:30 pm

I really dig the '40s and '50s AA5. Especially the wooden ones. I usually try to find them in halfway decent cosmetic shape but needing electronic restoration, that's where the fun is for me.
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Post by terrydec on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:55 pm

I'm a sucker for any Art Deco cabinets. I keep my dog-eared Collector's Guide next to my computer when I'm looking on eBay. I LOVE, "Doesn't work, parts only". These have been some of my best deals.
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Post by simplex1040 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:01 pm

mid 30s to late 40's also 50's clock radios
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Post by willy3486 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:21 pm

I had a old man I knew once call me up. He said due to his heart he was quitting the old radios and would give me his stuff. I went over there and loaded my truck up. He had been getting them and then selling them for 5 bucks usually,that was around 92. I was loading up and I saw a fada bullet case. I grabbed it up and put it up front. In a few minutes I saw the chassis and put it up front. He had been using these old radios for parts. I took the Fada home, looked up the schematic and replaced all the parts he took off. He took a nice Fada catilin bullet radio and used the parts to fix five dollar radios. I still have it.

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Post by ChrisH664 on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:59 am

I tend to like bakelite sets the most. I am really a sucker for pushbuttons.
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Post by terrydec on Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:29 pm

ChrisH664 wrote:I tend to like bakelite sets the most. I am really a sucker for pushbuttons.

I like bakelite too because when buffed it looks great. A lot of eBay listings say Bakelite when it is really plastic because they know it sells better and hope the buyer doesn't know the difference. It's another reason why I keep my 'buyers guide' close at hand.

I hate pushbuttons. A lot of the time they get dirty or the contacts loosen up, then you have to dig them out and mess with them. I have one radio, my 'chair side' radio, where the pushbuttons just move the dial and don't pass the signal. I have another one called the "telephone" radio. You push a button and a dial that looks like the dial on a telephone moves around to the preset station.
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Post by Guest on Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:18 pm

I like plastic cabinets somewhat because I can work on them. I also restore well fractured stereoscopic viewers and have developed my skills in plastics.

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