The Table Radio
The table radio, not very showy and certainly not that expensive, was the workhorse of most every household. Many families may have longed for the large cabinet style radio with its large speaker and deep-throated sound, but price, as always, dictated which style many families could choose.
Table radios ranged in size, shape, and construction detail. Early models may have sported wood cabinets with the same beauty and detail as the larger floor models. In some cases they were constructed with metal cabinets, and others were made of the forerunner to plastic, that is Bakelite.
Of course by the 50's all sorts of new space-age plastics were under development and forever changed the image of the radio. It is rare to find any radio, let alone a table radio, made of wood or metal after the mid to late 60's.
This page will highlight this type of radio. Over my 50 years of repair service I have worked on about ever type of table radio, most had fairly simple circuitry, leaving the fancy stuff to the larger units. When I say the circuitry is simple I don't mean to imply that these little guys didn't perform well. Quite the contrary, many of these sounded great and provided hours of entertainment.
As I mentioned before I have worked on hundreds of table model radios in the past 50 years, but my collection contains only a few. The three displayed here each have a unique feature or look that attracted me to collect and restore them.
This table model radio is a real classic of the 50's, it's color and shape take it's admirer's back to the days of poodle skirts and duck-tailed haircuts.
My literature dates this as a 1953 clock radio with a red plastic case and gold accents. The left side is the clock and alarm and also has the standard timer feature for turning on other devices.
This is a 5 tube set which includes, 12BE6, 12BA6, 12SQ7, 50C5, and 35W4. Other than some clean up and a general tune-up this set was ready for the shelf. Amazingly enough the clock works too.
This 4-tube TRF table model radio has a very nice wooden cabinet and heavy cast dial bezel. I don't have any product repair literature and no model number so a vintage has yet to be established. My panel of experts and I have surmised that this may have been the forerunner to the Atwater Kent Co, but without documentation I can't be certain.
It does have a schematic paper glued to the bottom of the cabinet, which helped with repairs. The tube line up is a 6D6, 6C6, 43, and a 25Z5 with all the filaments connected in series.
The very unique aspect of this radio is the power line cord. Now before you accuse me of being a real nut about details you need to know its story. The cord itself contains a built in dropping resistor for the additional voltage drop for the filaments. This resistor will cause the cord to warm more than ordinary while in use. I was able to find a new cord in stock to replace the one that came with this set.
The cabinet was in very poor condition when I received the radio so it required complete refinishing. I stripped the finish and finished it with several coats of spray satin polyurethane. This left a very smooth finish with just enough gloss to bring out the beauty of the wood.
The performance is good considering this to be a TRF with bare minimal tuned circuits.
As I mentioned above, most radios that I collect have some unique feature that attracted me to save it from the bone pile. This one, produced in 1938, has very unique tuning and volume controls as well as circuitry that includes a power transformer. The power transformer is very unusual in a table model.
The larger image shows the two slots routed in the top of the radio to provide access to the large "wheels" that are the two controls. This set is 5 tube AC table radio that includes 6A7, 6D6, 75, 41, and 80 and is a super-heterodyne circuit.
This mahogany cabinet had to be striped and refinished. The dial window was missing so I had to make one to cover up the dial pointer. The performance of this is good with just a short antenna wire.
If you want more information please send me e-mail.