EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for November 2008
(Copyright 1996-2008 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Antique radio collectors love a challenge. Whether it has to do with history, restoration techniques, technical issues, whatever -- we pursue answers. Sometimes a single line in an article tweaks a memory, and the reader rises to the challenge of finding more information.
So it was with Mike Masar when he read the article in the March 2008 A.R.C. in which Phil MacArthur says that the eleven colors offered by Flavoradio were "probably a record for the largest color variety of any radio ever made." Mike was off to rummage in his archives, and he came up with an advertising poster, a section of which is on our cover, offering no fewer than 55 color combinations for the Philco PT-10C Transitone.
So Mike offers the next challenge: Who out there can tell us more about this set? Our research came up with only one known set, so the PT-10 appears to be rare. An article or "Photo Review" contribution would be welcome. We're hoping someone rises to Mike's challenge.
Inherent in a challenge, of course, is competition. Philco entered the radio market competition of the mid-20th century with supercharged advertising campaigns that put it at the top of the industry. Phil Turney describes one highly successful Philco advertising tool used from the late 1930s to the 1960s -- the celebration of key production milestones.
The 5th, 7th, 10th, 15th, and 20th millionth sets were all given major advertising blitzes, but, as Paul points out, the 10 millionth set celebration was the most attention-getting. The Model 38-116XXA was presented to the veterans at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) on November 11, 1937. Needless to say, this was an advertising triumph. A limited number of replicas with engraved plaques were sold to the public and are coveted by collectors today.
Far more available is the Zenith Royal 1000 Trans-Oceanic, the subject of an article by Phil MacArthur, who is obviously a fan of transistorized portables. This too was an advertising success story. Zenith managed to convince the public that replacing the vacuum-tube Trans-Oceanic with a transistorized version was worth twice the price. Phil is also a great salesman in that he writes convincingly about the rewards of keeping this set operative in his everyday family life.
Ever the historian, Bob Murray tells us about the rare crystal set made by the Edwards Signaling Company and now on display in its restored state at the AWA Museum in Bloomfield, New York. Though largely a manufacturer of signaling, communications, and protection equipment, Edwards saw fit to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1922 with a crystal set.
New examples of crystal sets show up fairly regularly; however, this one is especially unusual because it has a buzzer to help adjust the crystal detector, an asset generally included only in commercial sets.
For the second month in a row, we are able to report on auctions of high-profile collections. Both Bonhams with its Catalin auction in the October issue and this month's RM Auctions of the Art Astor collection demonstrate that a prestigious collection, a catalog identifying specific sets, and an orgnization promoting absentee bids yield exceptional results.
Though classic cars were a major focus of Art Astor's collection, hundreds of radios and related items, especially microphones, from early broadcasting days to the 1940s brought impressive prices. A Zenith 9S232 "Walton" selling at $11,500 and a Wurlitzer Victory jukebox at $17,250 are good examples.
We're happy to report on an interesting private collection auction that we might not have known about if Ray Chase and RM Auctions had not alerted us and contributed the information. We hope that all you readers will keep us in mind when such events occur in your area.
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. In the waning days of fall, there are still many activities to enjoy before winter sets in. Listed this month are seven meets, twenty-six meetings, and three auctions. Get out and enjoy!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our colorful cover this month is a 16" x 211/2" section of the large (32" x 211/2"), two-sided, dealer poster that lays out the Philco radio lineup for the 1940 model year. Phil Masar provided the poster to illustrate his article on Philco's offer of "A complete line of Philco Transitones" available in 55 color combinations. In all, 21 Transitone models and a portable 82T with a folding lid are illustrated.