Sears Silvertone 8052
BY DON WATSON
Another flea market find for Don Watson offers the opportunity for a satisfactory restoration project. But as always, questions arise which some reader may be able to answer. (Editor)
Part of the enjoyment of the radio collecting hobby is pursuing the next restoration project or parts required for it. My wife and I like to attend as many flea markets as possible during the summer months, and many times we come home with nothing more than tired feet. We are always looking to give new life to an old radio, and we found this one at the flea market in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Half the fun is negotiating a price, something you can't do online. After the trip home from the flea market with a set, the next phase is disassembling it to see just what you have purchased. This is where it gets very interesting. For example, on a previous occasion, I brought home a small Bakelite radio and upon removing the chassis, I found that it had been home to thousands of bugs. Where had this radio spent its working life?
Figure 1. The restored Sears Silvertone 8052.
The Silvertone 8052
The Silvertone, shown in Figure 1, was a pleasant surprise, considering that I had no idea of what I had purchased. Still, I could see that it had a lot of potential.
The radio is a 6-tube AC/DC set using loctal tubes typical of the era. The cabinet has a walnut veneer on top and sides and what appears to be burled walnut on the front. The secondary wood appears to be poplar. The cabinet was refinished in satin polyurethane, and these hardwoods are elegant. My restoration goal was to bring it back to the same working order and appearance that it had the day it was brought home from the Sears Roebuck store.
The controls are volume, power, tone, and tuning, with four push buttons. The chassis uses a 3-gang tuning capacitor for a true tuned RF stage, and it has provisions for an external antenna. The speaker is a 5-inch PM mounted on a baffle board. The output transformer is tapped and is used as a hum-bucking coil. I replaced all the paper capacitors; however, the electrolytic is an FP type can that is still good.
There was one problem: After playing for a few minutes the radio would go silent. The only capacitor I didn't change was a mica that was leaky and loaded down the first audio stage. After I replaced the leaky mica, everything worked fine. The push-button assembly is very well engineered and has a backlash adjustment.
Here is where the history trail starts to run cold. This radio was manufactured in 1949 and the chassis is Number 101.808. The same chassis with few changes was used in the Model 7054, which Rider dates to pre-March of 1942. Radio Daze dates the Model 7054 to 1947
Rider makes reference to the Models 8052 and 7054 in Volume XVIII. Perhaps some A.R.C. readers can unravel the mystery. Could this chassis have been produced prior to World War II and reintroduced after the war in a different cabinet? This radio has the quality that faded away in succeeding years.
(Don Watson, 538 Yarmouth Rd., Elk Grove Vlg., IL 60007-3455)
Don Watson, a retired communications repair technician, has been collecting radios since the 1950s. He received his Amateur license at age 16 and has been an Extra Class Ham radio operator, K9DDO, since 1961. His hobby is restoring the electronics and cabinetry of vintage sets.