EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2002
(Copyright 1996-2002 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
It's that time of year -- another holiday season and another search for an appropriate December cover for A.R.C. We often begin with a pass through our files containing candidates submitted by subscribers, such as the photo on this cover. Or we look for holiday ads in vintage magazines, which present endless possibilities for tracing the more personal side of radio history.
Old ads and colorful brochures often depict families gathered around a set they may covet as a household gift. Better still, Santa may be on his way with a particular model to fill someone's heart's desire. In the case of the advertising sign on our cover, no set is in evidence, but clearly on his base, Santa is touting Sparton's "wonderful tone" as "Radio's Richest Voice."
This same 1926 advertising piece could well have been used for the subject of Alton DuBois' article -- a 1928 Sparton Model 69 Equasonne, which he purchased for a mere $70. But Alton must have thought Santa was working overtime for him in the back room when the dealer threw in a Sparton 29 cabinet speaker. The rare luck of finding both pieces at once would make any day seem like a holiday.
It could be argued that the radio holiday season never ends. But certainly the large 3-day events diminish in number along with the good weather. As fall gets fully underway, we begin gathering our report on the annual AWA Conference at Rochester, New York, which becomes a nice late summer holiday memory. This is still the largest, most diverse meet in the U. S., drawing participants from all over the country, Canada, Europe and Asia. Such an event is certainly a major feat and deserving of high praise for the organizers.
However, our editorial comments over the last several years, as well as the Internet comments included in Radio Miscellanea this month, convey concern throughout the radio community about the future of the AWA Conference. The consensus is that AWA can't be an exclusive club anymore, and that, in order to survive and maintain its membership, it must focus on a weekend schedule and open up to the general public.
I still adhere to the maxim appearing in the AWA announcement on our Coming Radio Events pages, "If you can go to only one meet, make it to this one." Still, other radio events like Extravaganza are now strong competitors for the top spot among events. We can only hope that AWA makes the changes necessary to retaining the appeal that it had for so many years.
Other meet and auction reports this month have a wide international flavor. Estes Auctions' sale of the Anderson Collection grossed $125,000, the fourth highest for the firm. Among the many highly collectible items were several Art Deco Catalins and a Sparton blue mirror radio. In fact, whatever the category, the item was highly desirable; for example, the Atwater Kent 5, the Regency TR-1 transistor radio; and the Hudson-Ross 3 Little Pigs cathedral. As many as 22 items brought over $1,000 each.
An interesting coincidence is that on the same day as the Estes auction in West Virginia, a major meet and auction took place across the world. Richard Begbie reports on the Historic Radio Society of Australia's 20th anniversary meet and auction in Melbourne. You'll note another coincidence in the designation "AWA" in this listing, but here AWA means Amalgamated Wireless of Australia, maker of quality Bakelite sets, obviously not connected to the familiar U.S. club. It's always a pleasure to hear about a successful meet and the enthusiasm of our fellow collectors Downunder.
As we all know, Ray Chase gets around to more auctions than most of us could imagine attending. Even a very small one like that of the Westchester County collection in this issue contains a number of interesting items. Among them were a Philco 70 grandfather clock/radio selling at $300 and an RCA Radiola 18 on an ornate speaker stand at $350.
One Photo Review item reminds us of the post-World War II days when new gadgets to make life easier began to appear in the marketplace. The Westinghouse clock/radio could wake you up not only to music, but also to the smell of coffee. Other items offer something of interest to collectors of almost all radio categories.
Ted Rogers addresses a repair problem familiar to restorers of AC/DC radios -- burnt-out resistance cords and ballast tubes. Ted describes using a diode as a replacement for a resistance line cord on a Radiokeg radio. Ted's article illustrates what we hope happens through A.R.C. -- communication with other collectors and through articles that leads to solutions.
A.R.C. Benefits. By now, the pressure to choose holiday gifts is mounting, so be sure to consider A.R.C. benefits as a gift for a family member or friend. Note: a toll-free number, (866) 371-0512; Discover, Visa, American Express, and MasterCard accepted; books shipped free in the U. S. by book rate; and for current subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. Though the holidays will be in full swing, there are still more than 30 events listed this month. Among them is the New Jersey Antique Radio Club's 10th anniversary celebration on December 13 with contests, games, prizes, and dinner. Congratulations NJARC! Try to make at least one event, despite your busy schedule.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The Sparton Santa on our cover is a 3-D, 2-piece, free-standing sign, 26" x 66", manufactured in 1926 by the W.J. Rankin Corp., Chicago. Ed Sage sent the photo to us over a year ago as a suggestion for a holiday cover, but he was too late for December 2001. Thanks, Ed, for fitting nicely into 2002.
Here's a larger version!