Antique Wireless Association 1996 Conference and Auction Report

Web Edition

Rochester, N. Y. -- September 4-7, 1996


The Antique Wireless Association (AWA) held its 35th annual Historical Radio Conference at the Thruway Marriott Hotel, in Rochester, N. Y., on September 4-7, 1996. Registration numbered 875, but total attendance was over 1,000, representing ten countries. The many events that make this conference the best in the country included an outdoor flea market, an indoor book fair, 4 auctions, an old equipment contest, displays, presentations, trips to the AWA Museum, and great all-round camaraderie.

Excellent weather on the three main days made the flea market more enjoyable than ever, and a few eager beavers even opened up on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, your editor did a count and found 180 open at one time, while on Thursday at 1 p.m., 160 were in evidence. During these fine days, vendors overflowed the paved area onto adjacent lawns, but Saturday's rain left only a few diehards in business.

The old equipment contest celebrated the conference's central theme -- 100 years of Atwater Kent. Nineteen categories were arranged by the kinds of products that Atwater Kent produced from 1896, when the company produced pre-radio products and radio instruments, to the 1930s, when the factory closed.

Complementing the contest, Ralph Williams presented an extensive display of Atwater Kent equipment, largely brought from his Voice of the 20's Museum in Orient, L. I., N. Y. Ralph is well known for his Atwater Kent expertise, and at a Thursday seminar, collectors were encouraged to challenge him with unusual Atwater Kent items for identification.

The Museum of History and Technology in West Virginia was also represented in a seminar presented by Lloyd McIntyre. Other seminar topics included the Fleming valve, shortwave listening, the RCA Riverhead Station, key and telegraph, and the pre-1912 wireless period. In all, this conference is a big learning experience for those who take advantage of the many excellent seminars.

At the banquet on Friday evening, various AWA awards were presented. The entertainment featured a re-creation of the old time radio show "Baby Snooks," directed by Gary Yoggy, and music of the period by the "Boogie Woogie Girls" with Ed Clute at the piano. Both this event and the Saturday finale luncheon were well attended.

This array of tombstones and cathedrals were offered in the market by Dick Desjarlais of Dick's Radio Days, who also happens to be on the A.R.C. staff.

On Thursday, the communications equipment auction, conducted by Ed Gable, offered over 50 items, including ham radios, transmitters, receivers, and other equipment. Highlights were a Collins 75A-3, selling at $370, and a National FB-7, at $250. Sales totaled about $3,500.

Conducted by auctioneer Walt Buffinton, the general auction offered 541 lots to 371 registered bidders. There were lots from three estates of about 30 items each, plus museum deaccessions, leading to an unusually long session on Friday.

This Tower Adventurer ship cone speaker sold for $500.

In the tube auction, a DeForest spherical Audion put in an appearance and sold for $1,110, about 23 percent more than an Audion of two years ago. Another highlight was a French E4M World War I transmitting tube selling at $850.

Among the outstanding paper auction items were a QST #1 selling for $420 (even though the question of its being a reprint was not resolved), and a 1913 Marconi catalog, along with Communication Laws of the U. S., 1913 and 1919, selling for $450. Two unique collectibles were a framed photo of the Atwater Kent factory employees, selling at $400, and a framed photo of Samuel F.B. Morse with a signed letter, at $1,750.

John Deloria restored this Lyric radio and entered it in the old equipment contest.

The radio auction included consoles this year, and there were several available. Clapp-Eastham HR battery sets also seemed plentiful, as the prices of four of them averaged about $250. World War I items sold for big bucks. Examples are a Western Electric SCR-59 aircraft receiver, selling at $1,500, and a Western Electric CW-938 shipboard transmitter receiver, at $2,300. Among the other early battery sets bringing high prices were a DeForest Interpanel (an AWA Museum deaccession), selling at $3,000, a Grebe CR-5, at $1,300, and a Federal 59, at $1,150. An Ericsson Morse alarm register sold for $1,700.

The total proceeds for all 4 auctions was about $62,500.

To Ray Chase, Tim Martin, Ludwell Sibley, and members of AWA, we extend our sincere thanks for the information that makes this report possible. Photos contributed by Ray Bintliff and John Maurer are also invaluable. When we attempt to put such a report together, we realize once again the importance of our generous contributors.

Additional photos and an auction listing of over 500 items sold at the AWA auctions can be found in the November 1996 issue of Antique Radio Classified.

Information on joining the Antique Wireless Association (AWA) may be obtained from Joyce Peckham, Box E, Breesport, NY 14816. AWA publishes "The Old Timer's Bulletin" quarterly, and holds regional meets, in addition to the annual conference. Annual dues are $15.

Photo Credits: Ray Bintliff, John Maurer, and John V. Terrey.

(Ray Chase, 1350 Marlborough Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060; Timothy Martin, Shaker Heights-Rte. 49, Pittsfield, MA 01201; Ludwell Sibley, 44 E. Main St., Flemington, NJ 08822; John V. Terrey, c/o A.R.C., Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)

[Table of Contents] [About ARC] [Subscription Information]

Antique Radio Classified
P.O. Box 2-V75, Carlisle, MA 01741
TEL: (508) 371 - 0512
FAX: (508) 371 - 7129
E-MAIL: ARC@antiqueradio.com

URL = http://www.antiqueradio.com/awa96_11-96.html
Copyright © 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: October 26, 1996. Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications