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Golden Age Radio Research
It's More Than A Radio

Introduction to Golden Age Radio Research
We love listening to our Golden Age Radio recordings, but it's not quite the same experience if you can't listen to them over the sweet, deep, mellow tone that only a genuine tube-powered Radio supplies. The warm glow of a radio dial and the tubes behind them also contributes to the ambience.

We've collected over 100 Golden Age vintage Radios over the years and we've added this feature to share some of them with you.

As we add to our collection of fully restored Radios--and works in progress--from the Golden Age, we'll continue to add them here.

Click here for our Table-Top Models

Click here for our Floor Console  Models







What does a $100,000 Radio Look Like?1938 Zenith Model 1000-Z Console Radio
1935 Zenith Model 1000-Z Console Radio

And Who Would the Owner of A $100,000 Radio Trust to Restore It?



Meet Mark Miner, Proprietor and Chief Technician at Mark's Antique Radio Kollection and known throughout the world as 'The Florida Radio Doctor'. Mark is shown here with his hands in the guts of the Upper Chassis of a $100,000 Zenith 1000-Z Stratosphere Floor Console Radio. It's widely believed that there are less than 50 serviceable examples of this amazing, 25-Tube radio.


This one's the real deal; built 1n April 1935:




More of Mark's meticulous work on the exquisite chrome upper chassis of the Stratosphere 1000-Z

The Stratosphere Dial
The Stratosphere Dial on this particular Model 1000-Z has a 12-hour time dial versus the 60-minute time dial on other 1000-Z derivatives


Two 12" Dynamic Woofers


Another view of the powerful 12" Dynamic Woofers


Here's a photo of the lower chassis (2501-P) ready to supply 50 Watts of TUBE-mellowed power to the three speakers.



The Stratosphere's 25-Tube chassis' demand a healthy supply of available genuine replacement Zenith Tubes and capacitors. Mark's clearly the man to go to in this respect.


What was the number of the tube for that rare Zenith chassis? You can be certain that Mark has it readily at hand.


Stratosphere lower chassis 2501-P underside view


Mark's Business CardContact Mark Miner Here
Click on Mark's Email address (above) to contact him directly

Mark Miner, The Florida Radio Doctor and his Mark's Antique Radio Kollection

1938 Sales Ad for Zenith Stratosphere 1000-Z Console Radio

1938 Sales Ad for Zenith Stratosphere 1000-Z Console Radio (the Siamese Cat didn't come with the radio)

Stratosphere 1000-Z (Chassis 2501)

Country: United States of America (USA)
Manufacturer/Brand: Zenith Radio Corp.; Chicago, Illinois
Year: 1935 – 1936
Type: Radio or Tuner
PrincipleSuperhet with RF-stage; IF-Freq. 485 kHz
Tuned circuits: 9 AM circuit(s);
Wave bands: Broadcast, Short Wave(s) and Police.
Power type and voltage: Alternating Current supply (AC) / 117 Volt
Loudspeaker/pwr.out: 3 Loudspeakers / 16 W
Model: Stratosphere 1000-Z (Chassis 2501)
Material: Wooden case
Shape: Console with any shape - in general (details vary).
Dimensions (WHD): 30 x 50 x 19 inch / 762 x 1270 x 483 mm
Weight: 275 lbs.
Valves / Tubes: 25

Notes: The Zenith Stratosphere 1000-Z was introduced in December 1934 for the wholesale market. Like the Scott line of deluxe consoles the Zenith Stratosphere 1000-Z used also a chrome-plated chassis. The 1000-Z has 5 bands covering 535 to 63600kc but the 63600 kc were soon dropped to 45000 and later to 32000 kc. The Stratosphere 1000-Z comes with 3 speakers; has two subchassis: lower 2501-P power supply, upper 2501-C control (receiver). It was designed in 1933 and 1934. There are several interesting books about Zenith and some articles about the Stratosphere 1000-Z. It was a milestone for the radio industry of that time.

Price in first year of sale: $ 750 USD
Collectors' prices: $ 75,000 - $ 125,000 USD
Circuit diagram reference: Rider's Perpetual, Volume 6 = 1935 and before

Reference: The Radio Museum.org

Zenith Stratosphere Newpaper Advertisement from October 27, 1936
1936 Zenith Stratosphere Newpaper Advertisement from October 27, 1936

Why the high value? There were only 350 Stratosphere Model 1000-Zs ever manufactured. With only 10% of the entire run surviving--as far as is known--their very rarity keeps their values shooting higher and higher each passing year. Not to mention the amazing value even their original buyers got for what was the price of a brand new sedan in those days:

  • 25 Tubes in two separate chassis; Receiver (2501-C) and 50 Watt Power Supply (2501-P).
  • All-wave, 5-band capabiltiy. All-wave, all international, and all air, land and sea waves, including police bands.
  • Three huge speakers: One 6" dynamic tweeter and two 12" dynamic woofers.
  • A Chronometer
  • Chrome Molybdenum chassis.
  • A full-size cabinet, 45" to 55" tall in most examples.
  • Some of the finest cabinetry ever offered by Zenith, featuring exotic wood inlay work and burl.
  • The finest superheterodyne circuit for its day.

Not to mention the most finely crafted construction and design ever attempted by Zenith. Bottom line, what you got for the price of an ordinary Ford sedan of the day, was a "12-cylinder Duesenberg with custom Fisher chassis" quality Radio.

All told, an incredible bargain for its day.

Restoring the chassis' of an historic radio demands the highest standards of craftsmanship and attention to a myriad of details--none of which can be overlooked.

This kind of craftsmanship:


Here's the bottom of the Receiver (Control) Chassis. Note the exquisite routing of electric components, wiring and connectors. All original or original specification componets and connectors.





1937 Zenith 'Walton's' Table Model 7-S-232

Bringing the Radio Home on 'The  Waltons'
Bringing the Radio Home on 'The Waltons'


Screen capture of The Waltons from 1978's "The Day of Infamy", showing the X-X-232 family of Zenith farm radios made both famous and highly collectable from the series.


The Zenith 'Walton' Radio--proud member of the Family Walton.


1937 12-S-232 Tuning Eye Waltons Zenith Table Radio. 12 Tubes made for a pretty tight fit in this cabinet.




1937 Zenith 'Walton's' Table Model 7-S-232

7-S-232-AT Walton´s (Chassis 5709-AT)

Country: United States of America (USA)
Manufacturer/Brand: Zenith Radio Corp.; Chicago, Illinois
Year: 1937
Type: Radio or Tuner
Principle: Super-Heterodyne (Super in general); IF-Freq. 456 kHz
Wave bands: Broadcast, Short Wave(s) and Police.
Power type and voltage: Alternating Current supply (AC) / 110-250 Volt
Loudspeaker/pwr.out: Electro Magnetic Dynamic LS (moving-coil with field excitation coil) / Ø 20.3 cm = 8 inch
Model: 7S232AT Walton´s (Ch=5709AT)
Material: Wooden case
Shape: Table model, Tombstone = Upright with decoration.
Dimensions (WHD): 16.9 x 23.8 x 12.4 inch / 429 x 605 x 315 mm
Valves / Tubes 7: 6A8G
Price in first year of sale: $ 79.95 USD

Notes "Walton" cabinet.

Circuit diagram reference: Rider's Perpetual, Volume 9 = 1938 and before

Reference: The Radio Museum.org

The 7-J-232 (7J232) 'Waltons' tombstone table radio acquired its colloquial name due to its use by The Walton Family in the television series of the same name. The radio actually came in four models:

  • 7-J-232 (both A.C. and battery operated, but no tuning eye)
  • 7-S-232
  • 9-S-232
  • 12-S-232

The first number represents the number of tubes used. The S- models are A.C.-powered sets featuring a tuning eye and, in the case of the domestic 9 and 12 tube models, motorized tuning. The 7-J is a dual-use farm set, capable of running from either the 115V AC line or a 6V storage battery. It has neither a tuning eye nor motorized tuning. All four models cover three bands and feature Zenith's classic robot dial (now referred to as the shutterdial). The radio originally sold for $79.95.

The tube complement for the 7-J-232 is:- 6S7G (RF amp), 6D8G (mixer/LO), 6S7G (IF amp), 6T7G (2nd det/AGC/1st AF), 6L5G (2nd AF), 1J6G (duo-triode used for push-pull o/p) and 6ZY5G (rectifier). The audio output power is 1.75W. Overall band coverage is from 540-18,400kc.

The styling of the radio wasn't particularly beautiful, either aesthetically or technically. As a matter of fact this line of radios was marketed as 'Farm Radios' throughout the rural and agricultural sections of the country. Owing to its appearance in the long running The Waltons television program, any of the 'Walton' farm radios have become highly collectable, fetching upwards of $3,000 for excellent, fully restored examples.

Say . . . that means you could buy about thirty-three 'Waltons' by selling just one Stratosphere 1000-Z. What a deal, huh?




1932 Stromberg-Carlson 140H Table Model Radio

1936 Stromberg-Carlson 140H Table Model Radio

Country: United States of America (USA)
Manufacturer/Brand: Stromberg-Carlson Co. ; Rochester (NY)
Year: 1936
Type: Radio or Tuner
Wave bands Broadcast and Short Wave (SW).
Power type and voltage: Alternating Current supply (AC)
Model: 140H
Material Wooden case
Shape: Tablemodel, with any shape - general.
Circuit diagram reference Rider's Perpetual, Volume 8 = 1937 and before

Reference: The Radio Museum.org




Mark's own 1932 Philco Baby Grand Cathedral Table Radio

1932 Philco 'Baby Grand' Model 90-A Cathedral

90A Baby Grand
Middle

Country: United States of America (USA)
Manufacturer/Brand: Philco, Philadelphia Stg. Batt. Co.; USA
Year: 1931
Type: Radio or
Principle: Superhet with RF-stage; IF-Freq. 175 kHz
Wave bands: Broadcast only (MW).
Power type and voltage: Alternating Current supply (AC) / 115 Volt
Loudspeaker/pwr.out: Electro Magnetic Dynamic LS (moving-coil with field excitation coil)
Model: 90 Baby Grand Middle
Material: Wooden case
Shape: Table-Cathedral-Radio.
Valves / Tubes 9: 24
Notes: Models 90 and 90A were available in a cathedral, a lowboy, and a highboy cabinet. The chassis had three versions - an early model with two 45 output tubes, a middle version with one 47 output tube, and a late version with two 47 output tubes. Model 90 is for 115 VAC 50-60 Hz; model 90A is for 115 VAC 25-60 Hz. The cathedral cabinet is the classic design by Edward L. Coombs, and is similar to the cathedral versions of model 21, 35, 46, and 70. [3331438-1133]

Price in first year of sale: $ 69.50 USD
External source of data E. Erb 3-907007-36-0
Literature/Schematics Rider's Perpetual, Volume 2 = 1932 and before (Philco 1928-36 Wiring Diagrams, Parts Lists, and Essential Service Data)

Reference: The Radio Museum.org




16B (16, 16A)
Version 3

Country: United States of America (USA)
Manufacturer/Brand: Philco, Philadelphia Stg. Batt. Co.; USA
Year: 1934
Type: Radio or Tuner
Principle: Superhet with RF-stage; IF-Freq. 460 kHz
Wave bands: Broadcast plus more than 2 Short Wave bands.
Power type and voltage: Alternating Current supply (AC) / 115 Volt
Loudspeaker/pwr.out: Electro Magnetic Dynamic LS (moving-coil with field excitation coil) / 10 W
Model: 16B (16, 16A) Version 3
Material: Wooden case
Shape: Tablemodel, Tombstone = Upright with decoration.
Valves / Tubes 11: 78

Notes: The model 16 series were high-end multiband radios. The early chassis used in 1933-34 had five bands covering 520 kHz to 23 MHz, and also included a QAVC ("quiet automatic volume control") squelch circuit to silence noise between stations (with a switch on the side and a control on the back to adjust the QAVC). The late version (1934-35) of the chassis covered a similar tuning range, but with only four bands, and eliminated the QAVC feature. Both the early and late chassis used a type 80 rectifier tube for the more compact 16B models, and a type 5Z3 for larger models. Both chassis included a shadow meter (tuning aid). Both chassis also were available in a version for 25-40 Hz power, and these chassis are marked as "16A" (where the -A suffix is a chassis suffix, not to be confused with the cabinet suffix on the main model number).

The chassis codes are as follows:

Code 121: early chassis with 80
Code 122: early chassis with 5Z3
Code 123: unknown
Code 125: late chassis with 80
Code 126: late chassis with 5Z3
Code 127: late chassis with 5Z3 (difference between 126 and 127 unknown)

There were fifteen versions of model 16 in different cabinet styles over a three year span: four versions of the 16B cathedral/tombstone, three versions of the 16L lowboy, four versions of the 16X floor-type console, three versions of the 16RX chairside, and a special 16CPX chairside.

Version 1 (1933-34) of model 16B was a cathedral (early chassis); version 2 (1934) was a gently peaked tombstone (early chassis); version 3 (1934) was a slightly updated tombstone with a somewhat more steeply peaked top (late chassis); version 4 (1935) is a flat-topped shouldered tombstone (late chassis).

The early version (1933-34) of the 16L lowboy has four vertical bars through the speaker opening and an arched control panel (early chassis). The middle version (1934) has V-shaped bars in the speaker opening and hexagonal knobs (early chassis). The late version (1934-35) had the same cabinet as the middle, but with the late chassis.

Version 1 (1933) of the 16X console had a large open speaker grill on an inclined sounding board (early chassis). Version 2 (1934) had three round vertical bars in front of the speaker opening and patterned moulding around the top of the cabinet (early chassis). Version 3 (1934) had a more "modern" style with three square vertical bars in front of the speaker and no moulding around the top (early chassis). Version 4 (1934-35) kept the same cabinet, but used the late chassis.

The early version (1933-34) of the 16RX chairside had a control unit on legs with a top that swiveled to reveal the controls and a large separate speaker cabinet (early chassis). Version 2 (1934) had a more modern design, the control unit having no legs (or very short) and the speaker cabinet having a lightning bolt pattern on the speaker grill (early chassis). Version 3 (1934-35) kept the same cabinet, but used the late chassis.

The 16CPX was a special chairside model commemorating the "Century of Progress" and is rare or nonexistant today. The modern-style cabinets had veneers of Madagascar ebony and myrtle burl, with catalin and stainless steel trim. Only 750 units were manufactured. The 16CPX has the early chassis.
Price in first year of sale: $ 90 USD
Circuit diagram reference Rider's Perpetual, Volume 6 = 1935 and before
Literature/Schematics Philco Service Bulletin #205

Reference: The Radio Museum.org