My Antique Radio Collection
Old Radios are so Beautiful
For some people collecting is a serious passion. I guess you could say that I'm a casual collector. I don't know a lot about my radios, I am just drawn to them.
I just love the look of a vintage radio. In my grandmother's day a radio was a thing to be treasured.
A good radio looked like fine furniture. It wasn't just for background music, it was something that the whole family gathered around to listen to the news, or their favorite radio show.
Once TV came along radios became less and less important, it seems like by the 70s they were usually just a rectangular box with knobs or buttons on them.
Radios before TV were really a wonderful combination of form and function. Amazingly, a lot of vintage radios have survived, so unless it’s a rare model, they are not really outrageously expensive.
Sears Silvertone, 1936
I think this is my favorite of the vintage radios that I own, I love the art deco style it has. This Sears Silvertone radio, model 5486A stands about 3 feet tall.
It was a very popular model. A radiophile I met on the internet told me that Sears sold a lot of this model radio and there are a lot of them still around.
My husband got this for me at an antique store in Kansas while he was just passing through. It was the beginning of my collection. He paid $60 for it; I think it was quite a bargain. It doesn’t work, although it looks like all of the tubes are there.
General Electric, 1937
This radio is a General Electric model F86 from about 1937. It is the largest antique radio I have, it's 26 inches wide and 42 inches tall. I got it at a yard sale in northern California.
I keep it in my front entry hall, I think it looks very dramatic.
Montgomery Ward Airline, 1939
This table top Airline radio was sold by Montgomery Ward around 1939. It’s 22 inches wide and 12 inches tall, and quite heavy. It has the “Magic Eye” which was a visual aid for tuning the radio.
I was not able to find information on this exact model, but similar radios sold for about $40 when they were new. That was a lot of money back then.
Philco Transitone, 1941
This cute little radio is only 12 inches wide and 8 inches tall. It has a wood handle for carrying on the top, but it is surprisingly heavy. The body of it is wood and the grill and trim are bakelite.
I got it at a yard sale in my northern California small town, and I paid $25 for it.
Philco Transitone, 1948
I got extremely lucky with this great little bakelite radio. I got it at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-store for only $3, and it even works. Well it only gets one AM station, but still it was a bargain.
I’m afraid I’m a little obsessed, but at least the little Philco radios take up a lot less room than the large ones. It would have to be something extra-special before I’d bring home another one of those vending machine sized radios.
Philco Transitone, 1951
My son gave me this radio when he found it in the garage of a house he moved into. The front grill is made of plastic, the body is some kind of hard composite material.
It’s in pretty rough shape, but it’s still got style. It looks like someone painted it red, the original color was a chocolate brown, and one of the knobs is wrong. Still, I think it is very cool.
This is the newest addition to my radio family. It is a Zenith model S-522224 made in 1956.
I got it at a yard sale just last weekend for only $10. It works perfectly, and sounds great! It even has a phono jack on the back so I can plug my mp3 player into it. What a score!
© 2014 Sherry Hewins