A Crosley Lady
BY JIM WILSON AND DAVE CROCKER
The following article is a good example of how A.R.C. can be an exchange for information about a piece of radio history. Jim Wilson knew that Dave Crocker is a Crosley expert, and he wrote to Dave about his "Crosley Lady." Dave, in turn, sent him information, and Jim, in turn again, wrote to A.R.C. with that information. The result -- a composite article! (Editor)
When Jim Wilson recently acquired a piece of radio-related advertising, he hoped it was unique. It was a downsized papier-mâché figure of a little old lady sitting in a rose-red armchair with a sewing basket in her lap. As shown in Figure 1, she has on a dark blue dress with a grey-green shawl over her shoulders. She stares straight ahead as if in deep thought. The entire piece measures 3 feet tall from the floor to the top of her head, and 2 feet from back to front. It is only 18 inches wide.
The figure's true size in comparison to actual old radios can be seen in Figure 2 (see print version), as Jim chose to display the "Lady" midst the radios.
Figure 1. The papier-mâché lady sitting in a parlor chair, as found by Jim Wilson.
A clue to the figure's "reason for being" came from the faded letters "Crosley" imprinted at the bottom of the chair on both sides. Not quite sure what the piece represented, Jim asked Dave Crocker for documentation, and here's what resulted.
Crosley Sales-Pitch Items
In September of 1929, the Crosley Radio Co. offered to its dealers a set of sales items to enhance their store window displays. The offer, shown in the ad in Figure 3, was printed in The Crosley Broadcaster, a weekly newspaper Crosley sent to its dealers. This publication kept the dealers informed about upcoming radio developments and provided technical information on current products. Included were sales aids, such as dealer electric signs, posters and window displays, each of which the dealers had to purchase from Crosley.
Figure 3. The Crosley dealer advertisement as it appeared in the September 1929 issue of "The Crosley Broadcaster." This newspaper was sent to all Crosley's dealers and assisted them in selling and servicing Crosley radios.
The items shown in this ad consisted of four papier-mâché (misspelled in the ad) figures: a dancing couple; a sports-minded youth with a baseball bat; a little old lady in a chair; and a young girl tuning in a radio, which looks like a Model 41. All are ready to listen to whatever radio entertainment would be offered -- on a Crosley set, of course.
These smaller than life-sized figures were manufactured by the King Cole Co. of Chicago, the very same firm that produced Crosley's "Bonzo" mascot in 1925 for the Crosley Pup receiver. It too was made of papier-mâché and was a Pup sales aid for dealers to sell for $1. Because of their lightweight construction, many of the papier-mâché displays were easily damaged and thus were tossed out. To find one of these items intact -- and in such good condition -- is a bit of luck! Jim's find is, indeed, unique.
Crosley Broadcaster, September 1, 1929.
(Jim Wilson, 2221 Lynn Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23451; Dave Crocker, 4B Beechwood Point Dr., Mashpee, MA 02649)
Having recently retired from the National Security Agency, Jim Wilson has time at last for radio collecting. He is unable to pinpont what sparked his intial interest in old radios, but the spark has grown into "a towering inferno." Though he's not really focused on anything, Jim is constantly inquiring about everything, including a Sodion breadboard -- the object of a current search.
Dave Crocker, a member of the A.R.C. staff, lends his skills as a graphic artist to the layout of the magazine. He has been actively collecting radios for about 30 years. Many of those years have been spent researching and collecting Crosley radios.