EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2000
(Copyright 1996-2000 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
As we go to press again with the holiday issue of A.R.C., the tumult of the national election lingers on. But, no matter what the crisis, big or small, some things remain the same -- for example, our efforts to give you the gift of a good magazine dedicated to preserving radio history.
In that regard, we are constantly amazed at the quality and variety of the material contributed by you subscribers. Gift-giving is certainly reciprocal among radio collectors.
A case in point is our lead article. If Bruce Bergstrom hadn't sent a copy of the photo of the sheepherder with his dog and radio from the book Brand of a Legend, we would never have thought of a covered wagon and Atwater Kent in the same context. The result is that our managing editor, Dorothy Schecter, could pick up on a great story that reminds us of how much radio must have meant to isolated people in the 1920s. And I could quip, "Is this an early car radio?"
Coincidentally, Bob Krockel fired us up with a Eugene Goldbeck photo of Atwater Kent radios piled on a sidewalk in San Antonio, Texas. It happens that I am from the San Antonio area and remember seeing many of the wonderful photos of Texas scenes by this noted photographer. However, I had never seen one featuring radios -- another provocative piece of radio history.
No doubt because of its appropriate nickname, the Emerson BD-197, or "Mae West," is often greeted with a chuckle. But, Richard Arnold has reason to laugh long about his unexpected find of a Mae West -- that is, if a flea market price of $1,500 in the November 1996 Radiofest report in A.R.C. has held up. Richard provides information that, like the set, is not always easy to find.
A cursory look at Photo Review prompts a question, "When have you seen so many odd names on a 2-page spread?" A Zany-Gill cathedral, a Heacock 4-tube battery set, a Columbia Grafonola, and a German Tefifon radio/tape player -- all are rather unusual names for interesting sets. We urge you to add to the variety of these offerings with your Photo Review submissions.
Reports on auctions are an important part of our service to you, and it's a pleasure when they have a wide territorial range. This time we report on events in Nebraska and Vienna, Austria, and two more diverse areas could hardly be found. But, the goal is the same -- radio preservation.
Tom Bailey of Bailey and Associates reports on the auction in Nebraska of the Roy Stuhr radio collection, which ran the gamut of early battery sets to cathedrals and consoles, communications receivers, hi-fi, and test equipment. Highlights in the $1,000 to $2,000 range were an Atwater Kent breadboard and a Sparton "Peachbird" mirror radio.
"Our man in Vienna," Erwin Macho, reports again on a Dorotheum auction. As long as you didn't walk in when the Polyphon disk-playing item went for $8,000, you would have found that other prices were very reasonable. Though the radio sets offered at these auctions are largely European, it's interesting for Americans to tune in to interests and prices abroad.
Doug Houston has contributed an excellent article on the Victor Talking Machine Company's exhaustive search for a TRF circuit for its own radio. Victor was forced into this search because RCA controlled the superheterodyne patents. The result was a kind of Rube Goldberg solution called a "Micro-Synchronous" tuning system. One can only wonder what the next level of complexity would have been if RCA hadn't absorbed Victor.
Radio Miscellanea reflects the broad spectrum of our correspondence. Almost anything is apt to show up in the mail -- from kudos to corrections, identifications to suggestions. Included is an excerpt from an Internet report on the AWA meet this year. A really satisfied attendee wrapped up his business in one day and left a happy collector.
The Internet. Our Web site continues to have more than 50-thousand page views a month. Be sure to check the site and read the ads as soon as they are released.
December Special. Through December 31, all U.S. shipping of books is by Priority Mail at no additional charge and, as always, all U.S. orders via our Web site order form are shipped free! So, be sure to do your holiday shopping for your collector friends at Antique Radio Classified.
Coming Radio Events. Thirty-six events will take place in the month of December. Of particular note is the 11th Historical Radio Auction at the Auctionhouse Dorotheum on December 6 in Vienna. The date of this auction wisely coincides with the gift-giving season. In addition, our "Mark Your Calendar" section lists another 36 events already scheduled for the year 2001, including some of the major annual meets. It seems radio collecting will carry on through yet another year of this new century.
Happy Collecting and Happy Holidays from all the A.R.C. team -- John, Dorothy, Cindie, Tammy, Bobby, Malaika, Ray, Dave, and Lisa!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The search for a festive holiday cover ended in your editor's collection of postcards. This card, neatly written and dated 1926, is from a Mrs. Anderson to "Master Charles Short." She writes, "I hope you get lots of good music on this radio that Santa is bringing to you." Since there is no address on the card, we might assume that it accompanied the radio -- lucky Charles!
Happy Holidays! Here is a larger view of this month's cover!