EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for July 2001
(Copyright 1996-2000 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
July takes us into the heart of summertime, and life in general seems more relaxed, more open to fun and games. Here at A.R.C., John Miller's article on Bonzo, a Crosley Pup, seemed to fit the mood of the month perfectly. The fun lies in Crosley's idea of using a particularly comical-looking dog for advertising purposes. And as we all know, collecting Pups, or any radio of choice for that matter, is always a kind of game.
Powel Crosley was on the same wavelength as RCA in using "man's best friend" to sell his little 1-tube radio. However, his humorous best friend was no match in dignity for RCA's Nipper. In addition, Bonzo didn't have the staying power of RCA's symbol primarily because he wasn't an exclusive Crosley representative. Cartoonist George Studdy's dog had already appeared in radio poses and on all kinds of commercial merchandise long before Crosley took him on as a mascot.
Instead of really capitalizing on the popularity of Bonzo, Crosley included real dogs of many breeds in sales pitches. He even gave away real puppies as prizes in sales contests. But, throwing Bonzo into the mix was a sure-fire advertising gimmick. Who could resist a cuddly pup with a headset, recognized by everyone, and so ugly that he's cute?
Collecting Bonzo Pups can be serious fun, but so is almost any aspect of our avocation -- such as the chance exploration of radio history. For example, at last fall's VRPS meet, Howard Stone's Mark III tuner struck me as a wonderful example of vintage radio history to share with A.R.C. readers. This Mark III was the only one I had ever seen with folding legs.
Howard agreed to put together an article on the Mark III, along with good photos. As a good historian, he also added a comparison of his set with a later version -- the subtle differences are interesting.
Ray Bintliff has compiled an article based on Robert Krockel's chance discovery of a Ham photo treasure. In the 1920s and 1930s, expensive, factory-made sets were out of the question for early Ham radio enthusiasts. As a result, they rose to the challenge and built their own. Building a set was not only fun, but a means of communicating with the rest of the world.
"Connection with the past" is a key phrase in vintage radio collecting. But, the present slips into the picture too. Last month we focused once again on the renowned Muchow Collection, which will be memorialized in the August auction. Equally well known in the past was the Greenwood Collection, the name on the tag Dave Crocker found on his 3-circuit loose coupler receiver. Such a find would make any collector's heart sing -- or cause him to jump into writing an article, as Dave did.
One thing leads to another, and Dave's article reminded me of the Greenwood items in my own collection. Knowing that an item has a prestigious past is part of the fun of collecting.
Early radio history is definitely an underlying theme in this issue. Photo Review includes unusual early items; for example, a De Forest MT-200 tuner and a Zenith 2-M 2-tube amplifier, circa 1922-1923.
In addition, Norman Braithwaite takes us back to 1925 and a Kemper portable receiver. This uncommon set had suffered the fate of many such vintage sets -- its fragile loop antenna was missing. Instead of putting the set on a shelf in a state of undress, Norm decided to make an antenna as near to the original as possible. Fortunately for us, he shares the process and the gratifying results.
As for fun events in the present, the Texas VRPS radio and phonograph auctions are not to be missed. Even consoles that often go wanting elsewhere do well at this auction. The ever popular Philco 90 brought a top bid of $470, while a second one went for $380. Though there were only 126 bidders, the proceeds were a very respectable $29,000.
Big meets and auctions are often highlights in the radio collector's world. But, everyday club activities are equally important. The Indiana Historical Radio Society (IHRS) "Spotlight" reminds us of the longevity of many clubs and the camaraderie they offer to members. Our congratulations to IHRS on the occasion of its 30th anniversary year.
Radio Miscellanea contains responses to earlier Photo Review sets. Wally Worth's spark gap photo in the October 2000 issue reminded Harry Goldman that not all spark gaps are used on radio transmitters. From Italy, we have a follow-up on the Tefifon set, shown in the December 2000 issue. There is now a book on the subject, which every Tefifon collector must have.
The Internet. Our Web site also keeps you tuned to what's happening in the present to things of the past. Check the ads on target day, read some current or past articles, renew your subscription, order books, link to other sites -- enjoy the extended world of the World Wide Web. As we said, fun is a natural ingredient of summer, so use the Net to enhance the good time.
Muchow Auction. August 3-5 are the dates. Check www.estesauction.homestead.com for many photos of the wonderful offerings. Hope to see you there.
Coming Radio Events. There are over 40 meets scheduled for July. July 6-8, plan to attend the Michigan Antique Radio Club's Extravaganza '01. July 21 brings you the Mid-South Antique Radio Collector's Summer Meet and the New England Wireless and Steam Museum's Yankee Radio Tune-Up. On July 28 you can attend the Carolinas Chapter of the AWA's Summer Swap Meet or stop by A.R.C.'s table at the New England Antique Radio Club's Swap Meet.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover photo is a postcard from your editor's collection. It pictures Bonzo, the pre-1920 creation of British artist George Studdy, rendering what the caption calls an "Operatic Number." Below the caption, the aria title is "You are Queen of My Heart to Night." In the 1920s, Bonzo appeared on hundreds of these cards. R.P.S. Series Post Cards 1045. Copyright.