EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for August 2002
(Copyright 1996-2002 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
For antique radio collectors, summer is the high season. Despite soaring temperatures, roaring forest fires, and a madly fluctuating Dow, they will come to see, to bargain, and to buy. That should be especially true in this month of August when the two major events of the year are scheduled Radiofest in Elgin, Illinois, and the AWA Conference in Rochester, New York.
Collectors from coast to coast and abroad have always come to at least one of these events. One year, the two were scheduled back-to-back, and some took this opportunity to attend both. This may be possible again for those who can plan extended vacations in August. Usually held in September, the AWA Conference has been moved ahead due to scheduling at the hotel, now a college dormitory. Obviously, AWA has decided to give this venue another try, despite the many complaints last year.
One difference is that we supposedly will have the entire hotel, unlike last year when many had to stay across town. Another carrot offered is the reopening of the former cocktail lounge. If you were unhappy last year, these changes may make it worth trying this still very popular event again.
Long before last year, however, we, among others, had challenged AWA to make things better. For example, we urged the adoption of the weekend schedule that Radiofest, Extravaganza, and others already had proved to be the way to go. This choice has led to high activity throughout all three days of the meet, instead of diminishing action by Friday noon, as at AWA.
Collectors not able to adjust their work schedules to free up three weekdays now could attend. On weekends, there is also the opportunity to attract the general public potential buyers, sellers, and future collectors. As the largest collectors' club in the world, AWA needs to do the same step up to the plate, focus on a weekend schedule, solve its location problem, and make this a world class event.
Whether at a big event like AWA or Radiofest, collectors are always looking for the unusual. James O'Neal is no exception, even on a trip to Moscow. How he discovered an RCA receiver with Cyrillic labeling in a Moscow museum and then traced its history to a deal between RCA and the Russians is a fascinating story.
Richard Arnold writes about another set with a little mystery about it. Not much is known about how his Philco 60 came to be painted, and he would like to find out more. How Richard acquired the set is also a good road map for beginner collectors.
Malcolm White's Kennedy Model 26 is a very unusual set in that its style belies its function. At first glance, you might not know which is the front, as it is almost identical to the back, and the controls are hard to find. What was the designer's intent to discourage children from playing with knobs or just to give the user a challenge?
Our Collector Profile is a tribute to the late Ralph Williams, collector, historian, worker in the industry, and longtime contributor to the antique radio community and to A.R.C. I had known Ralph and his wife Elinor for a number of years and had the pleasure of visiting his impressive museum. I also feel that I have a small piece of Ralph's history because he made eight repros of the rare Atwater Kent 5 breadboard, and I was able to purchase one of them years ago.
In addition, we remember Ralph and Elinor's daughter Kathryn Lee whose last major outing with her parents was the 2001 AWA Conference. She was a World Trade Center victim. We extend the sympathy of the radio collecting community to the Williams family for their double loss in the past year.
Though it looks like a table model, the Zenith "Mystery set" in Photo Review could very well be a cut-down console. And how about the RCA item that has all the appearance of a receiver but is really a tube tester for very early tubes?
Gary Clayton's Canadian Old Tyme Radio Centre in Belgrave, Ontario, sounds like a shop we all wish we had nearby. Gary's love of taking a piece of junk and turning it into a work of art appealed to Managing Editor Dorothy Schecter who put the material he sent into an article.
Jim Boellstorff reports on the annual Harris vintage radio auction, always a well handled and successful event. And Erwin Macho lets us in on the international scene with his report and photos of the vintage radio section of the Dorotheum auction.
Radio Miscellanea this month proves that our readers really pay attention. Last month's cover comment about a DeForest O-T-3 transmitter brought an immediate response. Earlier articles on Wurlitzer, Lyric, and Flavoradio also engendered more information.
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Coming Radio Events. Thirty-five events are listed for August alone and, as mentioned above, the big ones are Radiofest and AWA. Hope you'll be attending both, and I'll see you there. If not, try to attend a meet in your area the best way to meet fellow collectors.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The Scott Allwave 23 on our cover is a 1935 deluxe console not often seen at auction. The set has a 17-tube chassis with an 8-tube special power supply, making a total of 25 tubes overall. It was not only the first to use a 3-speaker system, but it was also one of the first high fidelity radios ever sold.