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My Antique Radio Collection

Updated on April 8, 2017
Sherry Hewins profile image

A simple collection can beautify and personalize your home. It does not have to be expensive, as long as it is something you love.

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. These old radios were really a wonderful combination of form and function.

Amazingly, a lot of old 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.

1936 Silvertone Wood Console Radio Model 4586A
1936 Silvertone Wood Console Radio Model 4586A

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.

1937 General Electric Wood Console Radio Model F86
1937 General Electric Wood Console Radio Model F86

Airline, 1939

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.

1939 Airline Wood Table Radio WG&C Series  Model 8A36-5
1939 Airline Wood Table Radio WG&C Series Model 8A36-5

Philco Transitone, 1941

1941 Philco Transitone Wood Table Radio with Bakelite Trim. Model 42-PT 94
1941 Philco Transitone Wood Table Radio with Bakelite Trim. Model 42-PT 94

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.

1948 Transitone Bakelite Table Radio model 48-200-121
1948 Transitone Bakelite Table Radio model 48-200-121

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.

1951 Philco Transitone Table Radio Model 51-532
1951 Philco Transitone Table Radio Model 51-532

Zenith, 1956

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!

1956 Zenith Wood Table Radio Model S-522224
1956 Zenith Wood Table Radio Model S-522224

© 2014 Sherry Hewins

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      These antique radios make great decoration on the tables

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      It's cool that you were able to get those old radios so inexpensively. With all that tube technology you are ready for Zombie Apocalypse. I hear that it starts with an effect that takes out all the newer technology and leaves vacuum tubes untouched.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thank you for reading and commenting. That is a neat little radio.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Yes they were beautiful, and often the focal point of the room. I wish as much care was taken with the aesthetic value of our modern stereo systems.

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 2 years ago

      Oh I love that you have a bakelite radio. I love the look of those. Some even have that almost hard candy look to them with nice designs that you just don't see any more. Great too the Philco. I remember having an old AM Philco as a kid (I'm 44 now) . Wish I still had it. Great post. Voted up and awesome

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Those floor models were beautiful pieces of furniture as well. Radios were very important prior to television being created. Nice collection you have there!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I remember listening to broadcasts on these types of radios. Thanks for bringing back good memories for me. You have a really impressive collection of these oldies but goodies.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Kevin - thanks for the link. I have looked there, but can't find my model number. Apparently there were many thousands, and a lot of them don't appear on any of the lists. I did find a photo that looks identical to my radio, but the numbers don't match.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 3 years ago from Uruguay

      I love the little spika transistor radio .the one that is gray and red plastic and has the brown leather cober with the little pouch attached where you put the earphone in it,

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks Randy Godwin - those sound really interesting, all of mine have wall plugs. I guess you'll have to do a little research.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      bravewarrior - that sounds awesome. I love those old consoles with the record player and radio all in one, and old TVs are really cool too.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome collection, Sherry! When I was growing up we had a Zenith TV console stereo. It was definitely a piece of furniture. The speakers looked much like the ones you show above; they sat on either side of the TV. Inside the top on the left was a turntable and the right side had a radio in it. It was very cool.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Very nice collection, Sherry. My wife has a couple of floor models which required the original owners to use their car battery when they wanted a bit of music.

      This hub has got me now interested as to how old they are.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Hi ?Sherry, your collection looks great. I tried collecting several things - pennies, stamps, BBL cards, etc. - but none continued. You sound like you are doing good though.

      For your Montgomery Ward, check out this site

      http://www.antiqueradioschematics.org/mont-ward.ht...

      They might have what you are looking for, I am not sure. I voted it up.

      Kevin

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great collection! I've been wanting an old radio, but they are always so expensive to get one that works. I'll keep looking. I'm the same way with old clocks. I love them for décor whether they work or not!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a cool collection. Seriously, Sherry, I love it. If I were a collector, this would be something I would go after for sure.