EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2007
(Copyright 1996-2007 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
In 1947, exactly sixty years ago, what might
have been the ultimate Christmas gift for Dad to bring
home to the family? As Norman Braithwaite tells us in
our lead article, it might well have been one of RCA's
top-of-the-line, custom-designed radio/phono/TV
Berkshire models. Of course, Dad would have had to be
among the affluent or those willing to go for broke for
better music quality.
For a moment, just think about the contrast
the Berkshire models make with the set pictured on
our cover. Only 24 years before RCA's big pitch for
the Berkshire line, folks were listening on headphones
to the music of the day coming from a little box.
Norman's article tells us about a high-end line that offered
giant steps in quality -- AM/FM, preset tuning, 25" TV
(large for its time), loudspeakers chosen by experts,
designer cabinets -- and on and on.
Though RCA's venture into this "ultracostly"
market was not successful, Ray Bintliff's recollections
about his assignment as the RCA engineer on the
Berkshire project corroborates all that we read in Norman's
article. Among other things, Ray reminds us of how
important the LC-1 speaker designed by Harry F. Olson
was to the quality of the Berkshire sound. This was the
time when the quest for sound quality was really taking
off, and both these articles illustrate what a
fascinating interlude this was in radio history.
Walter Hall takes us further into that quest in
the 1950s with his article on restoring vintage audio
amplifiers. The Bogen and Scott amplifiers that Walter
saved from the dumpster illustrate what was driving the
market in the mid-20th century -- the demand for
reasonably priced, but ever elusive "near perfect sound
reproduction." Walter also describes the manufacturing
processes of the time -- manual assembly and hard
wiring -- another reminder of how far our automated
world has come.
And speaking of how far we've come, our update composite article on the meaning of "JARS"
indicates that A.R.C. needs to go much farther in its research
on terminology. Though we like to be right all the
time, sometimes it can be fun to find that we're wrong.
Then we have alert readers like Ray Chase, Andy
Emmerson, Mike Feher and Ludwell Sibley taking us to
the woodshed. The term "JARS" and others like it
will never again "snooker" us -- we hope.
Nevertheless, real mysteries abound in the
radio collecting community. Once again the subject is
sound quality, and Jerry Wieland tells us about his search
for a solution to a higher than normal noise level on
the shortwave bands of his Trans-Oceanic R7000-2.
To make things more challenging, Jerry throws in
another little mystery -- why does a Motorola emblem
appear on his Zenith radio?
Well, we can't answer them all, but we can
keep coming up with more information. Auctions
provide one way to find out what's been going on in the
marketplace, and to that purpose, we present another
Estes Auction report. Prices were impressive for
high-level sets like a Sparton Nocturne, an E.H. Scott
Philharmonic, and a number of Catalins. A private
collection auction like this one reveals what has been
hidden away waiting to change hands.
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
Coming Radio Events. Late fall and the
collecting action continues. Listed this month are 6 meets,
20 meetings, and 3 auctions. Holiday festivities will
no doubt be included, so be sure to join in the good times.
Happy Holidays to all from everyone at A.R.C.
John, Cindie, Dorothy,
Bobby, Ray and Dave
ON THE COVER
Our cover is a postcard from the John V. Terrey collection. It has a clear postmark of "Boston,
Mass., Dec. 26, 6 P.M., 1924." Addressed to "Dr. &
Mrs. Gleason, Hotel Buckminster, City," it has the
street address, "Beacon St.," written at the bottom of
the card. The sender, Anna Rudolph, relied on the
legend on the front of the card for her message -- " Hello,
it's Christmas. If you're listen' in today, you'll hear the
wish I send your way, A Very Merry Christmas."
New in 2008 for A.R.C.
Rates. Our subscription rates have been the
same since 1999 and during that time, mailing,
production, and other costs have continued to increase. We
are finally forced to respond with a rate increase. On
January 1, 2008, U.S. subscriptions by Periodical Mail
will be $45.00; by First Class Mail, $60.00.
The "good" news is that current subscribers
may renew now at the old rates. So, renew now and save.
Foreign rates by air mail will remain the same,
but unfortunately, international periodical surface mail
is no longer offered by the postal service.
Web Site. Changes are being made on our web
site also. To reduce the exposure of our subscribers
to scams, we no longer make ads available to
nonsubscribers. And, we have improvements to our
marketplace in the planning stages and hope to add a
past auction price search capability soon.
It's one thing to make an error within an article,
but quite another when it's on our cover. Our thanks
to Robert Diegoli for pointing out that the set on
the November cover is an Air King Model 66, not a
Model 52 -- a mistake also in the auction listing.