EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for March 2006
(Copyright 1996-2006 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
No matter how young or old the collector, nostalgia is at least a part of the motivation for preserving anything related to radio history. A.R.C. articles over the years attest to that fact. Any number of them record the pleasure of finding and restoring the set that sat in Mom's kitchen or next to Dad's easy chair. There may be few left who can relate personally to the early battery set days, but many of us can start with memories of the 1930s and move right on through the 20th century.
I for one can relate directly to Andrew Hayden's passion for the 1960s and Henry Kloss's KLH modular hi-fi radio/phonograph system. Having settled in the Greater Boston area around that time, I was caught up in the hi-fi rage. It seemed amazing that you could walk into small shops everywhere and hear crisp music coming from speakers tucked away on a shelf. The speakers, of course, turned out to be KLH products made right there in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I attended school.
My first move from a mono system was to a pair of KLH Model Six speakers, which I still have, and which eventually became part of a 7-channel surround system. Andrew's article moves on to the Model Twenty, a moderately priced hi-fi system that many collectors over fifty interested in quality sound will remember fondly. In fact, the KLH designs live on -- Tivoli Audio products are an example today. Henry Kloss certainly deserves the recognition that Andrew's article, among other past ones, has given him.
Of course, if you're into the radio-collecting hobby, sets from every decade are worthy of recognition. Phil MacArthur shifts us back to the early 1950s and writes about the pleasure of brightening up a collection with colorful Stewart-Warner midget radios.
Color isn't always a priority with collectors, as manufacturers were more concerned with how a cabinet design would fit into any decor. But Phil reminds us of how much fun it must have been to pick up one of these little sets at Woolworth's and use it, as he does, to brighten up an area.
A different kind of collecting fun is evident in Claude Chafin's article about restoring an Atwater Kent 447, once a candidate for the trash. Claude demonstrates that restoration isn't always restricted to cabinet and electrical work. Instead, it may involve ingenious methods of repairing some mechanical problem.
In this case, it was necessary to rebuild the tuning mechanism, which Claude suggests is a bad design. Nevertheless, he has preserved what he feels is a classic radio, and, luckily, he has shared the restoration process with us in an article with photos.
Regarding restoration projects, Ray Bintliff offers a review of a DVD that may be helpful to those of you interested in plastic cabinet repair. Bret Menassa of Bret's Old Radios has produced Volume 3 in his series on restoring old radios. Since wood cabinet repair is well treated in many publications, Bret does a real service with this video that fills the plastic void. This is good news, and Ray recommends the video highly.
More good news -- Ray Chase has been back on the auction trail. He reports that the September Estes Auction of the Earl England collection was one of Estes's top-grossing events with proceeds totalling over $225,000. Though quality items showed up in every category, of particular note were the half dozen or more early wireless sets. The highlight was a 1917 Wireless Specialty Navy SE-95 selling at $18,000.
Also of note were the four Atwater Kent breadboards which sold for over $1,000 each. In addition, there was a good selection of phonographs, microphones, tubes, and crystal sets, making this, in Ray's words, "a noteworthy auction."
In a sidebar, Ray offers some general comments about auctions, particularly regarding differing prices appearing in one auction or another. He reminds us of the variables that we sometimes forget when making comparisons.
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Coming Radio Events. March events total 34 -- 26 meetings, 6 meets, and 2 auctions. A highlight is the 30th Annual Conference of the Carolinas Chapter of AWA from March 23 to 25. This one should mark the welcome beginning of spring radio-collecting action.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The photo of the KLH Model Twenty on our cover is one of several taken by Andrew Hayden to accompany his article on Henry Kloss's modular hi-fi system of the 1960s. The optional, deluxe, solid walnut and Plexiglas cover is shown raised. Any buyer of the day in search of a moderately priced audio system found it in the Model Twenty. Connect the two included speakers, and he was set for years of good listening.