Leutz Universal Trans-Oceanic Type L-6
One-of-a-Kind Console Version
BY ROBERT G. KITCHEL
Radio treasures show up almost anywhere. Certainly Robert Kitchel has found a rare one, and so large that it would be difficult to hide even in a "shanty" in rural New Hampshire. Robert concluded that to examine the insides of his formidable set would be too difficult at this time, so Ray Bintliff has added information based on the Golden-Leutz catalog pictured on our cover. (Editor)
While recently traveling in New Hampshire, I discovered a unique piece of radio history in an old shanty between Whitfield and Lancaster. It is a 65" long, 8-legged console radio manufactured by C.R. Leutz, Inc. of Altoona, Pennsylvania. It is shown with the front cover lid closed in Figure 1 (see print version) and open in Figure 2. The Bakelite nameplate identifies it as the "Universal Trans-Oceanic Type L-6, Serial Number X-87." Weighing about 250 pounds, the set has a solid mahogany cabinet, which is 43" high and 24" deep.
The center section of the lower cabinet contains the speaker. The upper section consists of five metal radio panels, each connected by metal binding post straps. The first panel at the far left is shown in Figure 3 (see print version). Unlike some of the other panels, it lacks identification.
This panel includes a rotary on/off switch above the two vernier tuning dials. These two tuning dials are marked "Selector 1" and "Selector 2." They are calibrated from 0 to 100. A toggle switch marked "On/Off" is mounted below the tuning knobs. The two controls located near the bottom of the panel are marked "Antenna" and "RF Bias."
The second panel from the left, shown in Figure 4 (see print version), is identified as containing the "First RF Stage" and the "Second RF Stage." The thumb-wheel dial at the left marked "Increase" drives the drum-style tuning dial located on the right side of the panel. The dial is calibrated from 0 to 100 but strangely enough it is labeled "Kilocycle." The control just below the thumb-wheel carries the legend "RF Bias." The knob below the tuning dial is labeled "Resonator."
Figure 5 (see print version) shows the third panel. This panel's function is not identified, but it may be the third and fourth RF stages. The thumb-wheel and drum-dial combination are like those used in the second panel. However, this third panel has a tuning eye tube at the top, an unusual feature for an early radio. This panel also contains a "Resonator" control and an "RF Bias" control, but their positions are reversed from those used in the second panel.
The fourth panel, shown in Figure 6 (see print version), is identified as the "Detector Stage." The layout of this panel is the same as the third panel, except for the tuning eye.
Figure 2. The Leutz Model L-6 shown here with the front cover lid pulled down in the open position.
The function of the fifth panel, shown in Figure 7 (see print version), is not identified. But, the presence of the 250 mA meter suggests that it might contain a power supply. The phone jack at the lower left is marked "Output" so there may be an audio amplifier behind this panel. The toggle switch at the right is a conventional on/off switch.
Most significantly, a nameplate that identifies the radio as a Leutz Universal Trans-Oceanic, is attached to this panel. A close-up view of the nameplate is shown in Figure 8 (see print version). To the extreme right is an open area for what seems to be a sixth panel, which is missing.
The previous owner of this unusual console told me that only three Universal Trans-Oceanic models were built, and that he thought two of them were destroyed sometime during World War II. This particular set has a number "1" stamped on the back of its case.
He also told me that this Leutz supposedly had been ordered by the King of Belgium, but was never delivered. Maybe so, because whoever took ownership of this monster receiver would have had to have a large residence in order to display it. If any readers can shed more light on this unusual piece, please write to A.R.C.
(Robert Kitchel, Box 87, Danville, VT 05828)
Robert Kitchel, a longtime Vermonter, became fascinated with radio when listening to his grandfather's old black-dial Zenith, which he inherited and still has. A Fairbanks tombstone at a flea market caught his eye because his grandfather had worked for the company. An old radio man helped him to get it going and then began to teach him everything he knew about radios. That was the beginning of a lifetime of challenging projects and contacts with great radio people.
ANALYSIS BY RAY BINTLIFF
Robert Kitchel's radio and the Universal Trans-Oceanic described in the 1927 Leutz catalog, as well as in the following article, have many features in common. But Kitchel's radio also has some significant differences that raise a few questions.
First, the panel shown in Figure 3 (see print version) appears to be a modification of a standard Leutz panel. The vernier dials are squeezed in between the two binding post strips, and the rotary switch between the two vernier dials looks like an afterthought. The close placement of the dials and switch is not characteristic of Leutz products. Did some previous owner modify the panel or was this done by Leutz?
Perhaps the radio was an engineering model on which new ideas were tried. The vernier dials may have been installed by Leutz because they are nicely engraved with the names "Selector 1" and "Selector 2." Also a Leutz switch plate is used for the rotary switch.
More significantly, what did this unit do? It has an RF bias control, so there must be an RF amplifier inside. Is it a preselector? If the nameplates can be believed, the 1st RF is in the adjoining unit.
Even more questions spring to mind. Why did Leutz combine the 1st and 2nd RF stages in a single unit? They are separate units in the catalog set. The mystery deepens when we consider the panel shown in Figure 5 (see print version). The tuning-eye tube did not appear until the mid-1930s. So how did a tuning eye get into a radio from the late 1920s? And when did Leutz, Inc., go belly up?
Some things were apparently untouched. The detector stage shown in Figure 6 (see print version) looks like the detector stage in the Leutz catalog.
The panel shown in Figure 7 (see print version) shows evidence of major modifications, and it bears little resemblance to the audio amplifier in the catalog set. And the empty space to the right of the fifth panel can not be explained.
Without a doubt, the radio is a Leutz. But how did it become so much different from the radio described in the Leutz catalog? Maybe some A.R.C. readers can help to solve this puzzle. Or perhaps Robert will someday get to examine the innards of his set.