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BOOK REVIEW:Crystal Clear: Volume 2
Vintage American Crystal Sets, Crystal Detectors, and Crystals, by Maurice Sievers
BY DAVID A. POPE
From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1995 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Good News! The long anticipated Crystal Clear Volume 2 by Maurice Sievers has been published and easily matches the superior preparation and high quality so evident in Volume 1.
While some supplements and amendments to the data of Volume 1 are included, Crystal Clear Volume 2 addresses new subjects, and identifies an additional 172 crystal sets, 91 crystal detectors and 26 crystals. It also provides unique observations of "early and late" versions of the same set, marketing strategies, and interrelationships of competing manufacturers. With enviable skill, Mr. Sievers has expanded on all facets of crystal sets and their history with referencing and precise detail that every collector will appreciate.
A chapter on crystal set accessories features headphones, antennas, slide tuners, variable capacitors, and loose couplers. There is also a special section that discusses the Western Manufacturing Company, a producer of crystal sets available by mail order for almost 30 years. With the exception of the Philmore Manufacturing Company, also highlighted in this section, the Western Manufacturing Company may have been the most influential crystal radio manufacturer.
Although the strength of this book rests with the photographs of crystal radio equipment and accompanying identifying information, the section that provides details on characteristics and variations of important factory-made sets is especially enjoyable. Equally satisfying is the discussion of crystal detectors through such radios as Crystal Mystery, Giblin Radioear, Gilbert, Gled, Monarch, Pandora, Radjo and others.
The chapter on crystals and their containers (with photographs) continues the documentation initiated in the first volume with such curious entries as "Night Hawk Non-Skid Crystal" and "Loud as a Brass Band Radio Detector."
Early advertising of crystal equipment appears throughout the book and is always identified by source and date of publication.
The author's attentiveness to detail is probably best demonstrated by the tables provided for crystal sets, detectors, and crystals, as well as by the index. The tables provide cross-referenced information of manufacturer, style, dating, original price, shape, material, size, and other miscellaneous headings for all the equipment in Volumes 1 and 2.
The index is divided into two parts: one for general equipment ("Accessories" through "Wood's metal"), and the other for crystal set equipment. The index is also inclusive of Volumes 1 and 2.
In summary, Crystal Clear Volume 2 stands on its own merit as a superb learning and reference source. It is certain to become a "must have" guide for every serious collector. Volumes 1 and 2, as a pair, represent invaluable documentation of one of the earliest and longest enduring types of wireless apparatus. Good news, indeed!
Crystal Clear Volume 2 is published by Sonoran Publishing, 116 N. Roosevelt, Suite 121, Chandler, AZ 85226. It has 252 pages and 479 new photos in a softbound 81/2" x 11" format. The suggested list price is $29.95, and it is available from the publisher, A.R.C., and other A.R.C. advertisers. Be sure to check these suppliers for ordering information.
In order to meet our September issue deadline, Dave Pope reviewed a proof copy of this book and therefore could not comment on the quality of the pictures. We now have a copy of the book in hand and can state that the photographs, with only a few exceptions, are excellent. For some rare sets, Sievers made the choice of using photos that are not of the highest quality rather than no photos at all. We agree with this choice. (Editor)
(David A. Pope, P.O. Box 89, Plympton, MA 02367)