EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for August 2004
(Copyright 1996-2004 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
It's always good news for antique radio collectors when "radio today and yesterday" come together in the pursuit of historical preservation. Such is the news of the California Historical Radio Society's acquisition of the classic 1937 radio station KRE in Berkeley, the subject of our cover story. Mike Adams describes every club's dream -- space for wide-ranging radio activities --and not just any space, but a building still functioning as the transmitter for KRE (now KVTO) and KFRC-AM. A better blend of past and present would be hard to imagine.
Of course, such luck doesn't come without cost. Though rent-free, the building will take much money, equipment, and good old-fashioned elbow grease to restore and support. With its past experience with the Perham Foundation's projects, CHRS would seem to be the right club to take on this big enterprise, and, of course, we encourage your participation in any way possible. We look forward to reporting CHRS's progress.
Station KRE is "now," but the Crosley Corporation is "then." Though the company per se no longer exists, the name lingers on in reproduction products, as well as in the collections of devotees like A.R.C. staff member and Crosley expert Dave Crocker. Dave often comes up with new anecdotes about the great entrepreneur Powel Crosley, but the topic of Dave's article may be a real surprise to many of you -- the short-lived Crosley 3-place airplane. For Powel Crosley, perhaps the sky really was the limit.
Unlike the Crosley Company, Zenith still exists today, and as frequent contributor Richard Arnold attests, its early models are highly collectible. For him, a Zenith 7J259 console with a robot/shutter dial was a must for his collection. Still, the price wasn't right. In his article, Richard reminds us that, if you think the price is unreasonably high, try a trade. It worked for him and the result was quite satisfactory.
A.R.C. is fortunate in its frequent contributors as well as its careful readers. Both Loren Ashworth and James O'Neal corrected our erroneous assumption that the Col-R-Tel converter described in the April 2004 issue was designed for the CBS field-sequential color system. Although Loren, the originator of the article, apologized for his "misinformation," in fact, it was not misinformation, but simply incomplete information. We, in turn, filled in the blanks with the wrong information, sorry to say.
Furthermore, James O'Neal points out that this error was really illogical because the Col-R-Tel device was built after the CBS system had become obsolete. So, we have to say our "mea culpas" loud and clear. Fortunately, when we augment articles with further information, as we sometimes do, the authors thank us for the enrichment. This time, we must apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused.
Technical errors are something we can pretty much discount in articles by staff member and engineer Ray Bintliff. However, we may be entitled to giving him a hard time about the four-year lapse between his first three articles on vintage capacitors and Part 4. Vintage capacitor testers, he warns, are no longer practical, but, in his next article, we're promised testers of the 1930s still usable today. Can Part 5 be far behind?
The eye-catcher on the Photo Review pages is the so-called "Wireless Vacuette" vacuum cleaner, named no doubt because of the popularity of everything wireless in the early days of radio. It is, indeed, wireless, as its blower and brush are powered by the motion of the wheels. If this oddity doesn't grab you, there is a good mix of others from which to choose.
Two Estes Auctions, reported by Richard himself, wind up the Estes Auctions in our backlog for 2003. Given that Richard had 14 radio auctions last year, many of them of considerable size, it's little wonder that we could hardly keep up. What many of you may not realize is that these auctions take a great deal of time on the part of our faithful reporter Ray Chase, and, in turn, our staff. We edit for accuracy, best descriptions, and consistency in form, and we must spend time choosing and processing photos. We're now ready for Estes and other auctions of 2004.
Though these two auctions were not "barnburners," they totalled well over $100,000. Both auctions included the usual battery sets, breadboards, consoles, and cathedrals that bring strong prices. Highlights were the McMurdo Silver Masterpiece that went for $2,900 and the E.H. Scott Philharmonic for $1,800.
However, of special interest was the strong showing of less commonly seen Amateur gear. Two Collins 75A-4 receivers went for $1,000 and $1,050 respectively, while Hallicrafters, National, Johnson, and other names familiar to Ham collectors brought solid prices.
A.R.C. Benefits. Augment your summer reading list with books on radio and related subjects ordered from A.R.C. They are shipped free by book rate in the U. S., and to current subscribers, there is a 10 percent discount on all book orders. Discover, Visa, American Express, and MasterCard accepted. Toll-free number: (866) 371-0512; the Web: www.antiqueradio.com.
Coming Radio Events. The August listing includes two multiday events: Radiofest XXIII in Elgin, Ilinois, and the 43rd AWA Convention in Rochester, N.Y., where we hope you'll stop by our table to say, "Hi!"
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover shows the California Historical
Society's newly acquired building, the classic 1937 radio
station KRE in Berkeley, California. Volunteers are
currently restoring the building to its 1950s look, in
preparation for wide-ranging, radio-related activities. They need
all the help and encouragement the radio-collecting
community can give them.