EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for August 2006
(Copyright 1996-2006 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Perseverance is a common thread running through the radio-collecting community when it comes to the preservation of all things radio. Though it's unlikely that many of you will ever restore a vintage Theremin, Mark McKowen's meticulous restoration of this 1929 musical instrument has to excite admiration, even inspiration. In addition, his determined effort to restore not only the electronics but also the cabinet is carefully recorded in photographs.
Since the Theremin components are similar to those of an AC radio, it is easy to see how Mark's methods could be of use to those of you who restore old radios as a way of life. The extent of his work may also inspire others among you to take on similar projects. If so, please share them with us, making sure you have your camera at hand with each step, as Mark did.
Another common thread among radio collectors is the pleasure we've all enjoyed at one time or another of unearthing little mysteries and unknowns about manufacturers and their products. We may find ourselves on a long and devious trail of discovery about a seemingly straightforward, fairly ordinary set.
A case in point is Don Watson's Knight D-106 superhet, which he found had been advertised for sale in a 1942 Allied Radio Catalog. However, this little piece of research led Don to questions regarding components in the radio that suggest an origin earlier than 1942. He puts his questions out to you readers and any exchange of information is where we hope A.R.C. becomes most valuable to you all.
In considering monetary value, Don's Allied Radio Catalog may itself be more valuable these days than his Allied brand set. Many of us "young" guys, whose interest in radio blossomed in the 1940s-1960s era, remember well looking forward to receiving the new Allied Catalog every year. In fact, there are probably more collectors of the catalogs than the Allied brand sets. I must confess to having a shelf full of Allied Radio catalogs myself in my collection.
Richard Arnold seems to have a penchant for finding sets with a little mystery, an unusual look, or historic angle to them. This time it's an Emerson Model 541, which he picked up in his favorite antique shop and allowed to sit untouched on a shelf for a while; that is, until an ad on eBay for the same set caught his eye. His interest was piqued by information in the ad about the radio's well-known designer, Raymond Lowey. That was enough to set Richard on a course of giving his Emerson 240 new status in his collection. And so it goes -- you never know where a set you pick up is going to take you.
And who would think that an old FM converter once used for car radios would be useful to your vintage sets? Well, Al Smith did, and he presents an easy way for you to expand the programming possibilities of those sets with an FM converter. Looking ahead, this may be one answer to having a radio signal for your antique radio if digital radio takes over the radio band.
Ray Chase found his lost notes and reports on a July '05 Estes auction, noteworthy for high temperatures, if not for high prices. Though proceeds were moderate, hundreds of items were offered. Big ticket items were not prevalent, but an unusual Atwater Kent 5A drew much attention and sold for $2,300. We've highlighted this set in a series of photos on page 21.
Also included were some European sets, such as Grundig and Saba, not often seen at sales. Collectors of these types have a chance to get a price point for them with this report. In fact, the variety of the offerings made this auction worth attending, despite the oppressive heat.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage of A.R.C. benefits: a toll-free number (866) 371-0512; Discover, MasterCard, American Express, Visa accepted; the Web, www.antiqueradio.com; books shipped free in the U. S. by USPS media mail; and for current subscribers, a 10 percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. Forty summer events crowd one upon another this month: 24 meetings, 5 auctions, and 11 meets, including two major ones -- Radiofest XXV and AWA's 45th Annual Conference. We look forward to seeing you at AWA. Please stop by our table to say "Hi!"
John V. Terrey, Editor
We apologize to many of our readers whose July issue of Antique Radio Classified was delayed by the post office. Usually only about 10 or 12 of the more than 4,000 copies we send each month are delayed. Unfortunately, periodical mail sometimes does get delayed, but this month for A.R.C., the number was over 40. Most frustrating is the fact that the post office has no explanation.
ON THE COVER
Our cover photo by Mark McKeown is a rear view of his restored RCA Theremin, an electronic musical instrument played by waving the hands at volume and pitch antennas. The photo shows the main chassis flanked by the pitch coil on the left and the volume coil on the right. The power supply chassis is on the lower shelf.