Murdock Crystal Receiver


If you look on page 65 of McMahon's Vintage Radio no doubt your eyes will slowly drift over to page 64, to all those fantastic monster receivers like the I-P-501A made by the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Co. But, back on page 65 are shown some beautiful examples of really early component receivers, assembled by pre-1920s craftsmen unwilling to spend the big bucks for what the exotic items on page 64 cost (then and now)!

The early "board-type" receivers shown on page 65 are beautiful to behold. Imagine owning one. Well, I did imagine it, and the object of my imaginings was the Murdock long-wave receiver at the very top of that page. So, many years ago, I vowed to possess one for my very own someday. Because these sets are seldom parted with, I began the slow process of locating all the right parts to put one together.

Since the replica set consists entirely of Murdock parts, it took over two years to acquire the components needed to assemble this piece of 1915 technology, as shown in Figure 1.

A replica Murdock crystal set board-type receiver.
Figure 1. The replica Murdock crystal set board-type receiver constructed with hard-to-find genuine Murdock components, including the older Murdock Type 55 headphones.

This receiver is comprised of a Murdock Type 334 loose coupler, a Murdock 43-plate variable condenser, a Murdock selective loading inductance, a Murdock 23-plate variable condenser and a Murdock silicon crystal detector with built-in phone condenser. All this fits nicely on a 17" x 13" decorative mahogany board.

For frosting on the cake, I added a pair of rare Murdock 2000-ohm, Type 55 headphones (which I had found in the original box!). These and an original Murdock metal nameplate really complete the piece.

The wiring under the board was accomplished using old spaghetti-covered (a varnish-impregnated cloth tubing used for insulation) bus bar wire. Where the wire went through the upper surface of the board, I placed brown grommets for neatness and appearance. Authentic Murdock binding posts were used in the rear of the board (for the antenna connections) and in the front (for the headphone connections) and labeled such by stamping the lettering into the wood with a metal die.

And there you have it!

(Dave Crocker, 4B Beechwood Point Dr., Mashpee, MA 02649)


McMahon, Morgan E. Vintage Radio, Rolling Hills Estates, Cal.: Vintage Radio, 1981.

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

Antique Radio Classified
P.O. Box 2-V75, Carlisle, MA 01741
TEL: (978) 371 - 0512
FAX: (978) 371 - 7129
E-MAIL: ARC@antiqueradio.com

URL = http://www.antiqueradio.com/crockercrys_02-98.html
Copyright © 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: February 3, 1998. Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications