EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for October 2008
(Copyright 1996-2008 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Looking for Grandma's nice old kitchen-counter radio? Not this time, I'm afraid, at least among the articles this month. Instead, this is an issue full of the unusual -- radios disguised as ships, or encased in glass, or in shapes and colors that bring astronomical prices. On the other hand, maybe Grandma's old radio was a Catalin like one of those in the Bonhams auction reported here, and it survives in your collection.
Such a scenario reminded our staff colleague Ray Bintliff of the tale of a lady who brought a Catalin set to him for evaluation. He wisely advised against her letting her son take it off to college. Maybe you'll be saved from a similar mistake as you read about the unusual in the following articles.
For Jack Gray the pursuit of the unusual took the form of ship models containing vacuum tube radios. Jack's lead article in this issue offers solid research and many good photos of a wide range of styles -- both sailing and cabin cruisers with radios camouflaged, or under lift-up covers, or sitting on top of or underneath a ship.
A.R.C. has had earlier articles on the combination of nautical and radio history, but they concentrated largely on speakers in ship models. This article allows us to expand our coverage to vacuum tube radios in ships, and expanding our knowledge of radio history is what we're all about.
Phil MacArthur is always ready to help us out with informative articles, but the subjects are usually on a small scale. We thought he must have shifted gears from the Flavoradios and Zenith 500s of his earlier articles when he wrote about consoles. But, true to form, his subject is small consoles -- tiny, to be more exact. For example, the six-transistor Concord Imperial is only three inches high; nevertheless, it also has storage space in the top. A place for tiny secret treasures?
Treasures show up almost anywhere. Norm Hertz takes us back to the familiar nostalgic territory of Radio Row, the demise of which has been the subject of many past articles. But Norm explores post-Radio Row times, from the 1960s to the 1990s, when the remaining contents of those
stores were relegated to warehouses. Norm has witnessed the demolition of those warehouses to make way for the new, and he reflects on what he calls "Paradise Lost."
However, there's comfort in knowing that some radio treasures live on. Gordon Stanley has one that he shares with us. It's a Clearfield glass-cased radio that is unusual among such sets in that it has a glass panel, which is not the norm. This set may be rare.
A "norm" for Ham radio operators back in the 1960s used to be the Heathkit Cantenna RF dummy load for off-the-air transmitter testing. Chris Jones describes what he thought was his good fortune finding a Heath Cantenna for use with a tube-type, citizens' band transceiver. However, his euphoria was shortlived when he found out that the transformer oil used in Cantennas contains PCBs. Thanks to Chris for his warning of yet another safety hazard beyond asbestos and mercury in old radio equipment.
The Bonhams auction reported with a touch of awe by Ray Chase contains an implicit warning -- be sure to treat Art Deco and Catalin radios with special care and respect. The Wooley collection brought close to a million dollars, making it one of the highest totals in radio auction history. For anyone who could attend, this was a rare opportunity to see these sets in a full range of colors and styles all in one place. As Ray says, some events are worth the price of travel and admission just to be a spectator and see the hobby at work.
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. Fall is a prime season for getting out and enjoying radio events before cold weather sends us all indoors. Listed this month are 13 meets, 25 meetings, and 5 auctions. Be sure to make at least one in your area.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The "Melody Cruiser" from Majestic is seen on our cover this month. In our lead article, Jack Gray covers eleven different vacuum tube ship radios ranging from an early TRF set, where the radio is hidden and the sails function as the speaker cone, to several sets from the 1940s, similar to the Melody Cruiser.
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We continue to receive reports from advertisers of e-mail responses to their classified ads proposing to pay them with a check, sometimes via a third party, in excess of the purchase price. The seller is asked to refund the difference by wire. In more than one case reported to A.R.C., the check received was "bad."
To minimize problems, we suggest that you always know whom you are dealing with or ask for references.