EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for February 2001
(Copyright 1996-2000 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
The old New England saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute" has rarely been more true than this year. Of course, we've had to wait a few El Niño/La Niña years, but old-time winter has returned. On average, we've had snow every other day since early December. Throw in spells of sleet, freezing rain, and record low temperatures, and it's little wonder that we fantasize about a radio meet on a tropical island.
Old Man Winter is definitely in the driver's seat as he races in all directions across the country. But, once in a while, he slows down to give us a break, and we've put in our order for just that on Sunday, February 18 -- a sunny day for Radio XXXII, the show that A.R.C. runs for the Greater Boston Antique Radio Collectors. We look forward to seeing you there.
Meanwhile, we can dream of those warm spring and summer days when yards can be habitats for sales instead of snowmen. Dick Desjarlais' article on his rare yard sale finds reminds us to leave no stone unturned in the search for antique radio treasures. Serious collectors like Dick keep their eyes and ears open constantly and always ask questions that might have surprising answers.
Dick's article represents all that is best in collecting -- it is a collaboration of sources and generous people who are dedicated to the preservation of old radios. His habit of frequenting meets, shows, and yard sales paid off in the subjects of his article -- an early Mignon set and a De Forest RJ-4.
To find out more about the Mignon, Dick consulted me, knowing that I owned Mignons. I then consulted Lauren Peckham, a Mignon authority. At a Rhode Island meet, Dick chanced upon help in restoring the De Forest RJ-4, which he had found in pieces. Best of all, he wrote about his experience so that all of us can benefit from it. In short, the unusual happens, if you have the time and patience to look for it.
Wally Worth also seeks out the unusual, researches it, and then sets out to restore it. In the case of his Clapp-Eastham crystal set, Wally wasn't sure what he had until he found a Sears catalog photo, which validates the set. Knowing that it was a manufactured set enhanced its value and assisted in its restoration.
Richard Arnold's article about who made sets sold by chain stores ties in to the above story of Wally's Sears Catalog Clapp-Eastham photo. And in Radio Miscellanea you'll find a connection made between the Universal tombstone in the January Photo Review and Wells-Gardner, through Larry Seyler's research in Rider's manuals. These information-seeking collectors do us all a great service.
Only from America's heartland would we have news of a farm tractor radio -- surely a "first" in A.R.C.'s Photo Review. We've had farm sets and windchargers, but never a tractor radio. This unusual set tops even the World Radio dog that might well have been used like the sailing ship doorstop by the same company. Keep those oddities coming!
Two regular reporters of auctions, Ron Ramirez and Ray Chase, deserve special thanks this month for sharing with us two auctions that totalled over $60,000. Eric's 11th Annual Auction featured many interesting items which, had they been in better condition, would have brought higher prices. But, restorers went home with many nice winter projects.
When Ray Chase, who has reported on many an auction, uses the word "spectacular" to describe one, it must be an extraordinary event. The Jenack Galleries conducted the Hubert Johnson estate auction in a highly professional manner. The company offered a well organized catalog and allowed telephone bids, a rarity in radio auctions, as well as "left" and mail-in or faxed bids. This practice broadens the potential buyers' market and creates more excitement. The top item was an Air King Skyscraper selling at $3,500. Over a dozen items, half of which were fine early phonographs, went for $1,000 or more.
Failures in fixed capacitors are nothing new, but Delbert Bivens sheds some light on a defect he encountered in restoring his Philco 16 radios. He reports that if everything else in a radio seems to check out OK and you are still experiencing tuning problems, check the tuning capacitor for high resistance between the stator plates and the capacitor's terminals. Tips like this can save many a set.
Radio Miscellanea includes a variety of responses to reports, articles, and queries. Memories ranging from radio in Chile in the 1930s to radio in World War II add to our sense of the importance of radio to us in both personal and historic terms.
Internet. The response to our Web site remains positive. We remind you to check it out and to read the ads as soon as they are released.
Coming Radio Events. Over 40 events are scheduled for this month. Of note is the Houston Vintage Radio Association's 3-day Annual Convention on Feb. 24, as well as the Southern California Antique Radio Society's Annual Auction and the Southern Antique Radio Society's Winter Indoor Mega Meet, both on Feb. 17. As always, we hope to see you at the Greater Boston Antique Radio Collectors' Radio XXXII meet in Westford, Mass., on Feb. 18.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Inspired by Dick Desjarlais' lead article on his yard sale success, our cover features a Mignon RLC-6 and its little brother, the RLC-5, ca. 1917, both from your editor's collection. No, we didn't put the radios out in the snow -- the photo is a digital composite of the sets against our snowy New England landscape.