The Atwater Kent Model 37 "Modernistic"

Compiled by Dorothy Schecter from Information Provided by Ralph Williams

The appearance of the center radio in the window display photo on our cover a Model 37 "Modernistic" -- was an event of note here at A.R.C. We don't remember hearing about this set since Ralph Williams wrote about it in the March 1981 Old Timer's Bulletin (OTB). Of course, Ralph owns the set and was able to supply the photos below.

According to Ralph, this set might have been built in the now demolished Atwater Kent Building No. 2 when a part of it was first made usable. The "Modernistic" is an example of the 1920-1930 Art Deco style that combined elements of the fine arts with the decorative requirements of industry. The set was introduced in the 1927-1928 winter season at the height of the Art Deco period.

As Ralph wrote in his OTB article, the geometric style of Art Deco reflected Cubism and Espressionism, as well as the influence of ancient Egyptian and Persian art. The geometric patterns decorating the Model 37 convey the feeling of tiger stripes and animal strength, thus suggesting a radio of lively performance and power.

The set may have come unpainted from the factory, and the decoration was probably done with stencil and airbrush.


Williams, Ralph. "This Month's Broadcast Receiver, Clothes Don't Make the Man Nor Decoration Hide the Radio." Breesport, N. Y.: A.W.A., The Old Timer's Bulletin, March 1981.

tThe Atwater Kent Model 37 "Modernistic," left, and the Model E speaker

The Atwater Kent Model 37 "Modernistic," left, and the Model E speaker, right, at Ralph William's Voice of the Twenties Museum in Orient, New York.

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