Preservation of any nostalgic artifact that passes into -- or through -- your possession should be priority #1 in any collecting endeavor. Conscientious stewardship of authentic nostalgia print, audio, other ephemera, or apparatus is every collector's most enduring responsibility.
On the down side, the vast majority of material from the Golden Age of Radio was not built, manufactured, or recorded with an eye towards any lasting durability. In all fairness, the manufacturing technologies, materials, and recording technologies available from the era weren't remotely as sophisticated as those we employ today. To add insult to injury, the vast majority of the recordings of the era weren't viewed with quite the reverence that we accord them today. Telecommunication technologies were evolving so quickly that the newest innovations almost always rendered virtually obsolete those which had been employed previously. Printers, publishers, and artists were only just beginning to be aware of such technologies as acid-free papers and binding materials by the 1930's. Among recording technologies, standards were painfully slow in arriving, and there were a multitude of stylii specifications, stylus pressure, and recording media standards.
On the plus side, since the 1950's the need for preservation, techniques and technologies for preservation, and government and institutional involvement in efforts to archive cultural historical artifacts have become even more important to society in general.
While a list of preservation reference links will be included at the end of this page, it's appropriate to include some of Golden Age Radio's most useful and noteworthy links and information about these archives here at the beginning. We'll be referring to several of them often, as an enduring source of suggestions for preserving your own Golden Age Radio Era materials.
The Library of Congress (1800 - present)
The LOC's Recorded Sound Reference Center
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-5000
The Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Center for Materials Research & Education (SCMRE)
Links to Caring for Antique Communication Devices: Phonographs, radios, telephones, and other communication devices
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland, 20746
Phone: (301) 238-1240
FAX: (301) 238-3709
The Doheny Library of The University of Southern California (1932 - present)
Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway
University Park Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089-0185
Phone: (213) 740 2924
Bowling Green State University's Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives (1897 - present)
Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives
Wm. T. Jerome Library, Third Floor
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
Phone: (419) 372-2307
Fax: (419) 372-7996.
The University of Maryland's Library of American Broadcasting (1972 - present) a.k.a., Broadcast Pioneers Library
Library of American Broadcasting
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301) 405-9160
Fax: (301) 314-2634
The University of Maryland's National Public Broadcasting Archives (1990 - present)
National Public Broadcasting Archives
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Hours: 10 am - 5 pm, Monday-Friday
The Pacifica Radio Archives (1949 - present)
Pacifica Radio Archives
3729 Cahuenga Boulevard, West
North Hollywood, CA 91604
Phone: (818) 506.1077 or (800) 735.0230
The Thousand Oaks Library Foundation's American Radio Archive City of Thousand Oaks, California (1984 - present)
Highlights: Rudy Vallee, Carlton E. Morse, Fletcher Markle and Norman Corwin Collections
Thousand Oaks Library
1401 E. Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Phone: (805) 449-2660
- Brigham Young University's L. Tom Perry Special Collections Arts & Communications Archives (1957 - present)
Brigham Young University
5030 Harold B. Lee Library
Provo, UT 84602
Phone: (801) 422-3175 (reference)
As a subset of the Golden Age Radio Collecting hobby, antique recording, playback, and transmitting devices are perhaps the most challenging -- and expensive -- to find, preserve, and restore. But what a vital and irreplaceable subset! If you've never heard any of your Golden Age Radio recordings transmitted through a genuine, tube-powered antique radio, you're missing more than you can begin to imagine. The glow from a fully restored and preserved Golden Age Radio dial, that soft warm sound from a tube powered amplifier, and for those of us fortunate enough, the sound of an actual radio program transmitted from a fully restored receiver from behind that one of a kind dial.
This is the passion commonly shared by the braver among us who tackle the preservation and restoration of antique radios. You have to be part engineer, part surgeon, part artisan, and part junkyard dog to tackle this aspect of Golden Age Radio collecting. "Junkyard Dog" because you need that kind of 'dogged' determination and tenacity to stick to an antique radio, phonograph or transmitter restoration project. Some might say you have to be certifiably insane as well, but I'm sure that few of us that would tackle such a project would dispute that appellation.
Note especially the link above to The Smithsonian Institution's list of recommended Communication Device preservation and restoration resources. Radio, phonograph, and transmitter restoration projects almost always present challenges that only an experienced specialist can help you overcome. The best advice I can pass on in this regard is to resist the temptation to jury-rig or settle for a workaround on a preservation or restoration until you've exhausted every possible professional restoration and preservation consultant or expert first. From a purely practical economic standpoint, settling for a jury-rig fix will invariably reduce the value of your project -- often by an unacceptable order of magnitude.
As with everything Golden Age, getting it right takes a bit more research, diligence, preparation and patience, but the result is always worth every effort you expend in any of these areas.
If you're still up to the task you'll find advice and resources aplenty from which to draw on for virtually any radio, phonograph or transmitter project you care to sink your teeth into. I have yet to encounter a bad experience with the body of experts and preservation/restoration specialists that I've dealt with over the years. Almost to a person, you'll find them both enthusiastic and extraordinarily helpful fonts of wisdom and advice regarding any antique restoration project.
Here are some antique communication restoration, pricing, and preservation resources you can use to start your self-help or DIY (do it yourself) library:
- Electronic Classics : Collecting, Restoring and Repair by Andrew Emmerson
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Newnes (September 14, 1998)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.0 inches
A highly readable book encompassing all aspects of buying, collecting, restoring, repairing, sourcing parts, professional services, clubs and societies, etc. It covers the technical side as well as collecting. The first half of the book deals primarily with technical aspects of restoration, what components are needed and where they can be found. The second half of the book provides a wealth of useful information: names and addresses of clubs and societies, auctions and antique fairs; a professional services directory; how to get hold of service data.
- Collectors Guide To Antique Radios: Identification and Values (Collector's Guide to Antique Radios) by John Slusser, Radio Days Staff
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Collector Books; 6th edition (August 15, 2004)
Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
- Old Time Radios! Restoration and Repair by Joseph J. Carr
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 1 edition (November 1, 1990)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
Presents the history, theory, and practical operation behind old-time home, auto, amateur, shortwave, and CB radio sets, providing the detailed instructions and schematics needed to repair or rebuild them. Includes a complete classic radio troubleshooting course, a capacitor/resistor color code chart for identifying radio parts, and vacuum tube pin-out diagrams that are often absent from schematics.
- The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios Volume 1: Tabletop Radios, 1930-1962 by Mark V. Stein
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Radiomania Publishing; Rev&Updtd edition (June 1, 2002)
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
Machine Age to Jet Age, Vol. I, America’s No.1 vintage radio identification and price guide has been revamped and renamed The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios. Includes over 1,400 pictures of more than 2,500 vintage tabletop radios. Images have been digitally enhanced, listings expanded & reformatted. Icons indicate Canadian radios, Ingraham cabinets, World’s Fair models and noteworthy industrial designers. Newly added are tube and band counts, options, variations and their current values. Includes a comprehensive cross-reference of all radios pictured in the 3-volume Tabletop series. This index is comprised of over 9,000 listings sorted by brand. Radios are referenced and cross-referenced by model number and model name. Each listing also includes description of variation_ cabinet material, color, finish, tube count, etc. All radios have revised 2002/3 market values as well as the series volume number noting where in the series each radio is pictured and fully described.
- Machine Age to Jet Age, Volume 2: Radiomania's Guide to Tabletop Radios 1930-1959 by Mark V. Stein
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Radiomania Publishing; 2001 Updated edition (July 1, 1997)
Product Dimensions: 1.0 x 8.5 x 11.2 inches
Machine Age to Jet Age is a continuing series which documents, pictures and provides market values for collectible vintage radios. Each volume is a supplement/companion to the others in the series, with all different items in each. Radios are individually pictured, described and valued, and are organized by manufacturer and model number. This series has become the most widely used and referenced resource of its type in the vintage radio collecting hobby. There are currently two volumes available with Volume 3 to be available in September, 1999. Volume Two of the series covers the period 1930-1959 and individually pictures, describes and values over 2,700 tabletop radios. The years 1930-1932 have been added to the scope of the series so as to encompass cathedral type radios which dominated during these years. Volume Two also includes over 190 color plates with sections on different varieties of cabinets (i.e., catalin, bakelite, plaskon, beetle, chrome grilles, etc.). In addition, the narrative provides useful information about collecting on the internet, categorizing and valuing vintage radios, clubs and events, and many hobbyist resources. 8.5" X 11" format. 368 pages
- Machine Age to Jet Age Volume 3: Radiomania's Guide to Tabletop Radios (1930-1962) by Mark V. Stein
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Radiomania Books (September 1, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11.2 inches
Machine Age to Jet Age is a continuing series which documents, pictures and provides market values for collectible vintage radios. Each volume is a supplement/companion to the others in the series, with all different items in each. Radios are individually pictured, described and valued, and are organized by manufacturer and model number. This series has become the most widely used and referenced resource of its type in the vintage radio collecting hobby. There are currently three volumes available. Both author and publisher are committed to further expansion of the series and continued pricing updates. Volume Two of the series covers the period 1930-1962 and individually pictures, describes and values over 3,500 tabletop radios. In addition, the narrative provides useful information about collecting on the internet, categorizing and valuing vintage radios, and hobbyist resources. 8.5" X 11" format. 256 pages
- The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios : The Sears Silvertone Catalogs 1930-1942 by Mark V. Stein
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Radiomania Publishing (March 23, 2001)
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11.2 inches
About the Author
Mark V. Stein is a noted authority for art deco and machine age radios, clocks and other items in the realm of 20th century industrial design. He has been collecting, selling and documenting vintage radios for the past 20 years. Through his catalogs and website he has sold thousands of vintage radios, clocks and other 20th century design items over the years. He is founder and Publisher of Radiomania® Books, the source for the nation's number one antique radio identification and price guide series, 'Machine Age to Jet Age' (tabletop radios) and 'The Complete Price Guide to Antique radios: Pre-War Consoles' (floor model radios). Mr. Stein is an AOA certified appraiser in his field. He currently maintains a website which focuses on high-end art deco radios and related items in addition to promoting the Radiomania® line of reference books. Mr. Stein received his Masters in Business from Johns Hopkins University in 1984. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife and two daughters where he dedicates his time to researching, authoring and publishing books about vintage radios, clocks and other industrial design antiques and collectibles.
AVAILABLE NOW From the publisher of America's #1 RADIO PRICE GUIDES, 'The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios: The Sears
- Silvertone Catalogs 1930-1942, by Mark V. Stein. This is the first and only comprehensive reference, realized with special permission permission from Sears, Roebuck & Co. Featuring full reproductions of all the Sears Silvertone catalog pages: advertising, options, specs, pricing and more for close to 1,000 radios as they originally appeared. Among the Silvertone suppliers were over 30 radio brand manufacturers including King, Colonial, Stewart-Warner, Air King, Emerson, International Kadette, Wilcox-Gay, Zenith, Arvin, Majestic International, Case, RCA and Admiral to name but a few. The book is printed in a sepiatone-like format and includes an informative historical preface concerning the origins of both Sears and the Silvertone brand, manufacturer source code table (allows identification of manufacturer), in addition to a full model cross reference matrix including tube & band counts, variations, cabinet materials and colors, manufacturer (where known) and current market values for all models and variations.
- Valve Radio and Audio Repair Handbook by Charles Miller
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Newnes; 2nd edition (June 5, 2000)
Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
This book is not only an essential read for every professional working with antique radio and gramophone equipment, but also
dealers, collectors and valve technology enthusiasts the world over. The emphasis is firmly on the practicalities of repairing and restoring, so technical content is kept to a minimum, and always explained in a way that can be followed by readers with no background in electronics. Those who have a good grounding in electronics, but wish to learn more about the practical aspects, will benefit from the emphasis given to hands-on repair work, covering mechanical as well as electrical aspects of servicing. Repair techniques are also illustrated throughout. This book is an expanded and updated version of Chas Miller's classic Practical Handbook of Valve Radio Repair. Full coverage of valve amplifiers will add to its appeal to all audio enthusiasts who appreciate the sound quality of valve equipment. A practical manual for collectors, owners, dealers and service engineers. Essential information for all radio and audio enthusiasts
- The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios: Pre-War Consoles by Mark V. Stein
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Radiomania Pub (August 1, 2000)
Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
The first and only comprehensive reference on console radios, with over 3,500 models individually pictured, described and valued. Includes tube and band count information and variations wherever possible. The author also provides important information about identification, grading and valuation in addition to historic insights. This invaluable reference also includes an expanded resource section listing dealers, collectors, experts, specialists, products, suppliers, restoration services and websites.
- Zenith Radio: The Glory Years, 1936-1945 (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Harold N. Cones, John Bryant, Martin Blankinship
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing (September 1, 2003)
- Zenith Radio: The Early Years : 1919-1935 (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Harold N., Ph.D. Cones, John H. Bryant, Martin Blankinship, William Wade
Paperback: 223 pages
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing (June 1, 1997)
Product Dimensions: 1.0 x 11.5 x 9.0 inches
Zenith's "The Quality Goes in Before the Name Goes On" is one of the most recognized, and well earned, corporate mottoes in America. Founded by two Navy radiomen in 1919, luck and the infusion of capital from a wealthy adventurer and car salesman started the Zenith Radio Corporation on a journey that would propel it to the top of the United States electronics manufacturing industry. The rise was an interesting one, the cast of high profile. With access to the Zenith corporate archives and their discovery of the long sealed files of one of Zenith's founders, the authors present for the first time the documented story of Zenith radio and company from 1919 through 1935. Professors Cones and Bryant draw on their long experience as radio enthusiasts and writers for both the popular and scholarly press to tell the fascinating story of Zenith's impact on early radio history. They present a wealth of never before published photographs, documents, and information, as well as color portraits of many Zenith radios of the era. Complimenting the story is an illustrated catalog of nearly every Chicago Radio Laboratory and Zenith radio model produced between 1919 and 1935 and a database of valuable information which covers every radio produced by the company, along with a rarity and price guide.
- Evolution of the Radio, Vol. 1 by Scott Wood
Paperback: 227 pages
Publisher: L-W Promotions; 1 edition (July 1, 1994)
Quoted by several antique dealers as "the best book on collectible radios to come out!" An easy-to-use reference guide containing more than 800 radios from the 1920's to the 1960's. Console, art deco, and table top radios manufactured by more than twenty companies are included. 1994 Values
- Evolution of the Radio Vol #2 by Scott Wood
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: LW Publishing & Book Sales; 1 edition (November 1, 1993)
Over 500 full color photographs of older radios make this an appetizing guide for those in the radio collecting field. As a stand-alone reference guide or used in conjunction with the first volume, this will make the search for current values of collectible radios much simpler. Completely different content from the first volume makes this a wonderful addition to any antique reference library. 1994 Values
- Antique Radio Repair Vol. 2 by Radio Era Archives
CD-ROM: 2800 pages
Publisher: Radio Era Archives (April 1, 1997)
About the Author(s)
This CD-ROM is a compendium of authors and compiled by Radio Era Archives. The creation of the CD-ROM, indexing and executable files are by Radio Era Archives. Radio Era Archives is an electronic publisher of reference books and other media designed to preserve these works for all time in a digital format. The works are produced on a CD-ROM format for easy storage and use.
ANTIQUE RADIO REPAIR - Vol. 1: - (some articles and books in this publication have been duplicated from the Radiophile series CD's to get a complete sampled reference for antique radio repairing on a single CD. If a person wants to get started in repairing and/or restoring old radios, this CD is the place to start. It contains over 2,800 pages of antique radio information! A collection of the most important references needed for antique radio repair, troubleshooting and radio theory - all on a single CD. (Contents subject to change without notice).
- Radiophile V1 CD-ROM by Compendium of Various Authors, Radio Era Archives
CD-ROM: 4200 pages
Publisher: Radio Era Archives (June, 1997)
About the Author(s)
There are multiple authors in this compendium CD-ROM. They consist of John F. Rider, Dr. A. Ghirardi, Philco Corporation, Atwater-Kent Radio Company, National Radio Institute, General Electric, American Radio Relay League, and Hugo Gernsback. The creation of the CD-ROM, indexing and executable files are by Radio Era Archives. Radio Era Archives is an electronic publisher of reference books and other media designed to preserve these works for all time in a digital format. The works are produced on a CD-ROM format for easy storage and use.
This CD-ROM consists of 29 books on old radio technology - a database allows searching by publication name, author, type of publication and year. Content covers radio troubleshooting and techniques, technical reference information and general interest books. The books are viewed on the screen and may be printed to a local printer for personal use.
John F. Rider "Radio Troubleshooting Guide - Vol. 1", 1954, 156 pages
John F. Rider "Basic Electronics - Vol. 5, Troubleshooting Radio Receivers", 1955, 111 pages
John F. Rider "Perpetual Troubleshooters Manual Index - Vol. 1-15", 1947, 206 pages
John F. Rider "Perpetual Troubleshooters Manual Index - Vol. 16-22", 1951, 47 pages
John F. Rider "Perpetual Troubleshooters Manual Index - Vol. 23, 1954, 71 pages w/parts lists
Dr. A. Ghirardi "Most Radio Receiver Problems", 1947, 702 pages
Philco Service Division - "PHILCO Radio Servicing and Alignment", no date, 35 pages
Atwater-Kent, "Servicing Data", 1928, 98 pages
Atwater-Kent, "Electrical Data", 1932, 24 pages
Atwater-Kent, "Parts Data", 1928, 64 pages
National Radio Institute, a complete series of "How To" books on theory, troubleshooting and servicing, 1927-1937, 12 books, 375 pages.
General Electric, "Receiving Tube Reference Manual", 1962, 302 pages
"ARRL Handbook", Amateur Radio Handbook, 1955, 764 pages
RCA - Cunningham "Radiotron Tube Reference Book", 1933, 161 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Radiocraft Magazine - Jubilee Issue", March 1938, 146 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Quiz Book & Kinks - Short-wave Radio", 1938, 65 pages
"Radio Trade Journal", 1925, 194 pages
Radiophile Vol. 2 by A Compendium of Various Authors, Radio Era Archives
CD-ROM: 5600 pages
Publisher: Radio Era Archives (March 13, 1997)
About the Author(s)
This reference work is comprised of a compendium of various famous electronic publishing authors representing the work of Hugo Gernsback and Zenith Radio Corporation. Radio Era Archives is an electronic publisher of reference books and other media designed to preserve these works for all time in a digital format. The works are produced on a CD-ROM format for easy storage and use.
RADIOPHILE - Vol 2: Over 5,600 pages! Complete Schematics for Zenith Radios with index, Volumes 1&2 - 1928-1941, also Complete Set of Hugo Gernsback’s "Official Radio Service Manual", 6 Volumes 1931-1936 with complete index of all sets in 1936 issue. A database allows searching by publication name, author, type of publication and year. The index for Zenith and Gernsback is retrieved by database selection, and the schematics are viewed on the screen and may be printed to a local printer for personal use. There are hundreds of radios in this series that do not appear in the Riders 23 volumes. An invaluable resource for the serious Radiophile!!
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1931, 610 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1932, 988 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1933, 703 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1934, 397 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1935, 1,009 pages
Hugo Gernsback, "Official Radio Service Manual" - 1936, 1,200 pages
Zenith Radio - "Official Serviceman’s Guide - Vol. 1", 1,004 pages
Zenith Radio - "Official Serviceman’s Guide - Vol. 2", 1,004 pages
Zenith Radio - "Official Serviceman’s Guide - Parts Listing", 182 pages
- Radiophile Vol. 3 by A Compendium of Various Authors, Radio Era Archives
CD-ROM: 2727 pages
Publisher: Radio Era Archives (April 28, 1997)
About the Author
This work is a compendium of various famous electronic publication authors representing the best work in their areas of expertise. Radio Era Archives is an electronic publisher of reference books and other media designed to preserve these works for all time in a digital format. The works are produced on a CD-ROM format for easy storage and use.
RADIOPHILE - Vol 3: - New Publication! The latest addition to the Radiophile CD-Series! More great books and references to make your avocation more enjoyable! Driven by REA’s RadioView database that allows searching by publication name, author, type of publication and year. Viewed on the screen like a book with magnification and printing capabilities! A Must CD!
Mallory-Yaxley Radio Encyclopedia, famous and rare 6th edition covering all radios from the beginning to and including postwar models to 1948. A must in every library to search schematics for radios without model numbers, chassis numbers, etc.
Radio for Everybody by Austin Lescarboura of the Scientific American, 1922 publication of a popular guide to practical reception & transmission - a rare book with 334 pages of historical information.
The Radio Manual by George Sterling. 1940 technical book encompassing 1,120 pages covering all aspects of radio theory.
RCA Radiotron Designers Handbook 3d Edition, with 352 pages dated May, 1945. This book is the most famous design book covering old radio technology and is one of the most sought after book with valuable data for radio collectors.
Tube Substitution Handbook - 1977 - 111 pgs. - an invaluable reference in these days of hard to find tubes!
Bernard’s English Valve Substitution Manual - 44 pgs. - 1966 comprehensive english valve to tube cross reference.
Cunningham 1927 Tube to Radio Cross-reference - 214 pgs, great for identifying those hard to find out what they are radios!
- Zenith Trans-Oceanic CD-ROM by Compendium of Various Authors, Radio Era Archives
Publisher: Radio Era Archives (January, 2000)
About the Author(s)
The authors were Howard W. Sam's Photofacts, Zenith Radio Corporation and Radio Era Archives. The creation of the CD-ROM, indexing and executable files are by Radio Era Archives. Radio Era Archives is an electronic publisher of reference books and other media designed to preserve these works for all time in a digital format. The works are produced on a CD-ROM format for easy storage and use.
This CD-ROM consists of every service manual for every Zenith Trans-Oceanic made from the first to the last. Includes service data, parts lists, pictorial diagrams, photos of chassis, alignment data, schematics and more. Includes a photo gallery of all Trans-Oceanic models from the original "Bomber" to the R-7000-2 series that ended this long line of fine radios. This is the first CD-ROM publication ever created exclusively to the Trans-Oceanic radio