Kutztown Fall Antique Radio Show
Kutztown, Pennsylvania -- September 19-20, 2008
Contributed BY STAN SAEGER AND JOHN HAGMAN
For this popular radio event, we have two reports: DVHRC President Stan Saeger provides the "official" report, along with the photos, and our New England traveler, John Hagman gives his personal take on the show. Thanks to both! (Editor)
By STAN SAEGER
Renninger's Antiques and Farmers Market and the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club (DVHRC) held the fall 2008 edition of the Kutztown Radio Show in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, on September 19 and 20, 2008.
Mother Nature cooperated with comfortable temperatures and no rain. The show has had some serious weather issues at the fall meets in past years. There was Hurricane Henry in 2003, Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and an overnight low near 40 degrees in 2006.
Radio collectors, buyers, and sellers began arriving early Friday (some even Thursday night). One of the unique aspects of Kutztown is there is no official starting time. Since admission is free, and the show is held in an open-air, easily accessible pavilion, this actually works out quite well -- no spirited discussions about early purchases during dealer setup times.
A very relaxed John Hagman.
Friday evening had well-known parts dealer Mark Oppat, (www.oldradioparts.net), doing a technical talk on speaker repair. Mark took a donated Atwater Atwater Kent speaker, and with memo envelope paper, GC Service Cement and a little patience, ended up with a speaker that will provide years of dependable service. Mark stressed that quality old speakers should not be thrown away no matter how damaged they are. Like many other parts for the older sets, they are getting scarcer and more expensive.
The DVHRC expresses its appreciation to Mark for his efforts, made all the more impressive knowing he was in quite some pain due to recent back problems.
This year was the first I was able to stay late on Friday when attendees cover their tables and relax with a beverage of choice and tell war stories. By 9:30 p.m. or so, I was ready to call it a night, but others continued the revelry past midnight.
Saturday morning was a bit cold, but the sun soon warmed things up to a comfortable temperature. Sales were brisk and a number of dealers said that sales were better than prior years. Many radios found new owners with some rare and interesting sets changing hands.
Figure 6. The No. 800 Console Complete included the Phantom Special, A, B, and C power supplies, tubes, a speaker mounted in the console, and a bench. The complete package sold for $448.20 wholesale and $747.00 list.
The Saturday auction was a success again. We usually have 70 to 80 bid cards sold, but this year sales approached 100. Most items drew fairly decent bids. Bargains could be had for those willing to haul consoles or large German sets home.
The DVHRC looks forward to the next show, May 8 and 9, 2009, our 20th show. Plans are to have Richard Estes return to do an auction of quality items on Friday, in addition to the normal Saturday auction.
Stan Saeger has been interested in radio ever since his son picked up a set in need of repair at a flea market. He collects, repairs, and restores almost any type of radio with emphasis on midget sets.
The Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club (DVHRC) publishes "The Oscillator" monthly and holds monthly meetings, swap meets, and quarterly tailgate swaps, as well as the Kutztown Radio Show. Dues are $15. P.O. Box 5053, New Britain, PA 18901. www.dvhrc.org
By JOHN HAGMAN
When I was growing up in and around New York City, the end of our world was Paterson, New Jersey. Beyond that was a land we literally referred to as "China." I knew people who went to the Poconos in summer, but we were Jersey Shore (as they say "downd da' shoe-wah") or upstate New York types in my family. So it's ironic that, through radio collecting, 30 years after I moved away from the New York area, I've come to travel through and know NEPA (northeast Pennsylvania) so well. I've even learned to speak like a real Scrantonite, although I was happy on this trip not to break down there on the way to the 19th Kutztown Radio Show in September. I've been to this show a few times; it's become a habit, you know. Or as they say, "I bean down tada meet a couple-two-tree (sic) times, love dat Shoofly pie, haina? Spend me a mess o' kapoosta when I'm down der..."
I stayed at my usual and recommended Comfort Inn in West Allentown on Thursday night, and had a good breakfast the next day, which dawned clear if a bit chilly. I arrived at the Renninger's pavilion about 9 a.m. to find it about half setup already. Dealers were still arriving at a brisk pace. I did my usual walk around for an hour and a half, trying to find those bargains so good they don't make it off the truck. But this time, I found nothing too tempting, so in late morning I set up my own booth. I also started shooting pictures in quantity. I had purchased a tiny Sony Cybershot camera this summer, and it was great having it on my person nearly the whole show. Attendance looked stronger than ever, despite the difficult economic news of late.
A happy Mike Koste and his fine purchase.
By mid-afternoon, I had sold about a third of my stuff, and settled down to the eating and greeting phase of the meet. After some great Pennsylvania Dutch food from the farmer's market, I had long conversations with good friends, like table-neighbor Paul of tuberadioland.com, and the Oppats who came all the way from Michigan with their line of repro dials and controls. And, of course, Peter Wieck and all the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club members are always fun to gab with about what else -- old radios and bias levels and tube lore and other endless arcane subjects. Even as it was approaching dinnertime, sellers keep arriving.
I had a great time on a long walk with the dogs just before it got dark, the Renninger's field although just outside Kutztown village is quite rural feeling. Winnie and General have come to love it there, although they do bark hysterically every time I come back to the van, even if I've been gone only a short time. By nightfall, it was getting chilly, and I donned a jacket for Mark Oppat's speaker repair lecture. Mark has collected old radios since the 1970s. We learned how even the most tattered speaker cone can usually be patched, and loose spiders reattached.
A long shot of the offerings in the pavilion.
By 10 p.m., the radio collector's party was winding down, and I crawled off to bed. I used to bring DVDs to watch and CDs to listen to, but I've learned I don't get to them. This meet has plenty of entertainment just talking and walking radioland.
The next day, I made some coffee, wolfed down breakfast, and hit the aisles again about 6:20 a.m. I shopped the new arrivals for awhile and uncovered my table about 7:00 a.m. Within the next few hours, I sold most of the rest of my stuff and bought a Meissner Analyst, a really cool multipurpose test device with no less than four eye tubes(all decent, fortunately) and some parts from the Oppats' booth. By noon, even though I was feeling a bit dazed, I hung out through much of the auction that had begun.
For just over $120 total, I won three things in the auction. First was a nice Aria table set, with eight tubes, motorized tuning, and the same chassis as the Detrola 175. Later, I got a Silvertone "Grandmother" radio/clock case keeper. Within a few days after the show, I was able to find all the missing parts. I also bought a sawed-off Zenith console for parts.
I packed up about 3:30 p.m., just as the somewhat longer than normal auction was wrapping up. I headed north to my friend's Pocono summer home for a fine evening of talk about radio and Pennsylvania history. Thanks to him and all the great members of the DVHRC for yet another wonderful show!
Next May is the 20th Kutztown show, and you owe it to yourself to attend. See http://renningers.com/kutzradio.htm for details and to reserve a table. There's nothing like the combination radio show/camping trip/frat party that they call Kutztown. See you in the spring!
John Hagman is a Vermont "radio archeologist" with a talent (or weakness) for barn and basement-dwelling radio orphans. His specialty is AC high-end wooden sets, 1930-1940.