VOLUME 18 AUGUST 2001 NUMBER 8
RADIO MISCELLANEA -- AUGUST 2001 From Antique Radio Classified for August 2001
(Copyright 1996-2001 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
"Antique Radio Classified" invites its readers to contribute letters and information for inclusion in "Radio Miscellanea" and elsewhere in the magazine. "In The Marketplace" is based on information submitted by the businesses themselves. All topics should be of general interest and sent to A.R.C., P.O. Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741. All material submitted should be verified for accuracy and may be edited for publication, which is not guaranteed. See the masthead for more details.
More on House Brands
Regarding the Truetone D-731 in the June 2001 Photo Review, I believe that Western Auto, along with other retailers of the time (and now), never "produced" anything. This Truetone is similar to the Belmont radios of the era because it is a Belmont with a Truetone nameplate attached. Belmont made house brands for many retailers, among the more famous being Western Auto and Montgomery Ward. I suspect that they may have made radios for Firestone and Silvertones for Sears.
Montgomery Ward's Airline radios made by Belmont frequently had the letters "BR" (Belmont Radio) in the model number. They may also have had "WG" for Wells-Gardner in the model number.
Truetone never identified the maker in the model number to my knowledge, but the letters "BR" or "WG&Co" could often be found on the tube layout label or elsewhere.
Belmont and Wells-Gardner & Co. also made the vast majority of TV sets for Western Auto in the 1950s. I was highly involved with installation and warranty work on these sets, so I can speak with some authority.
Raytheon acquired Belmont in the early 1950s and aggressively marketed its TV receivers under the Raytheon name. They were identical to the Truetone equivalent model in every respect, except the nameplate.
There is a great void in the knowledge of the manufacturers of many house brands before consumer electronics manufacturing began to move overseas. Collectors' guides are not always too well informed on who made what for whom. A well-researched book on house brand manufacturers with dates of manufacture would be a welcome aid to collectors and restorers.
--John T. Katz, Jr., Bessemer, AL
On Auction Listings
I realize how much work it is to report on an auction; however, the reporting of common items without a model number or condition is a waste of someone's precious time. It does not give readers any kind of valid information, and in fact, it is just more or less irritating to readers. I applaud those who provide information especially on large auctions, but my suggestion is to get more help collecting the information or get more details on selected items.
--Clifford G. Berthelsen, Merced, CA
We do a great deal of "weeding" on auction reports and usually remove inadequately described items from the listing. However, sometimes a report slips through without this extra-critical edit. We do sometimes purposefully leave in items with missing model numbers by manufacturers who rarely appear in auctions or who made few products. As for condition, unfortunately, some auction reports come to us with no condition information whatsoever. (Editor)
Recycling a Hair Dryer GFI
My wife burned out a fairly nice hair dryer (not her fault - they self-destruct all the time) and kindly put it in my shop. She knows how I love to take things apart.
It occurred to me that the ground-fault interrupter (GFI) in its power plug could be used to provide protection from other things besides hair dryers. A GFI senses the current going into and coming out of a given piece of equipment, and if those two currents are different by 50 microamperes or so, the device trips and disconnects the load.
So, I thought that a GFI could be used to protect the operator against those old AC/DC radios, especially those neat old Hallicrafters S-38 series metal case sets. I routinely put in a 3-wire cord and a new chassis-to-case capacitor rated at 2 kV before even firing one of these radios up. The approved way, of course, is to run the radio off an isolation transformer.
As an alternative, you could take one of these burned out hair dryers, cut off the GFI and attach a 2-pole receptacle to it to make a "GFI adapter." Or, you could simply replace the cord of the offending AC/DC receiver with the cord from the dryer, since the radio's original cord is, no doubt, badly deteriorated. The GFI is then between the radio and the line, and any shorts between chassis and case and ground (or you) will trip it. The GFI is designed to run a 1.5 Kw hair dryer, so the 35 w load that a Hallicrafters S-38 puts on it should not even matter.
Any comments? Any of y'all out there ever try this?
--Nick Van Vonno, Palm Bay, FL
In the June 2001 Radio Miscellanea, you mentioned that you would like to see more TV contributions. I was reminded that there were many "marriages" of chassis and cabinets for TV sets, and that many were short-lived TVs. For instance, Mad Man Muntz produced a cheap set called a "One Knob" set, or, as servicemen called it, "the gutless wonder." In this set, the high voltage tube was a Type 6BG6 in a self-oscillating circuit, and the sync signal injected right into the grid of the tube by a resistor capacitor network. The picture was bad.
Another set called the "Rembrandt" was made in White Plains, New York. Though a unique set, it also made a bad picture. The tuner was typical, but the three IFs were not. They were not over-coupled tuned. They were shunted down by loading the coils with resistors across them. Alignment was simple - you adjusted an input capacitor to set the broadband of the IFs and to locate the audio. The rest of the set was basic electronics, simple oscillators, and high voltage transformers. I saw them on a factory tour, but they disappeared rapidly, and I have never seen or heard of one since. Does anyone know any more about them?
--Alton A. DuBois, Queensbury, NY