Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The One That Started it All

I have shown you a couple of antique radios out of my vast and growing collection in previous posts.  My collection is literally to the point that I have lost count of how many radios I own.  They are stashed everywhere.  I am working on getting one large shelving unit set up in the spare bedroom to keep them all on.  Hopefully they'll all fit!

I am well aware that the radio that I am featuring above is not from the mid-century era.  This is the most important radio in my collection, the one that I would keep if I had to choose only one, and just might run into a burning house to save.  I would date this antique Admiral tombstone style radio to the 1930s.  Of all the radios in my collection, this is the one that I have the least information on.  There is no model number on it and I have yet to find another like it on the internet.  This was the first antique radio that I restored.  This radio was given to me by my great aunt and great uncle somewhere around 1998, I believe.  It was purchased new by my great-grandfather, and after he passed away, my great aunt and uncle ended up with it.  My great uncle used it in his woodworking shop behind his house for several years before stashing it up in their attic.

When I ended up with it, I plugged it in to see if it worked.  Teenagers do silly things like this.  If you get one of these old radios, check it out carefully before attempting to plug it in!  Anyway, I was pleased to find that it was working, and has a beautiful rich tone.  The case was in terrible shape.  The grille cloth was rotted out and had holes in it, the finish was coming off the wood, it had paint splatters all over it, and the cabinet had a bad place in the wood on the top.

This became a project for my grandfather and I to get it looking good again.  We carefully disassembled the radio and stripped the cabinet down to bare wood.  We did what we could to fix the top, but there is only so much one can do to repair that kind of damage.  I polished the metal parts, repainted the black strip at the bottom, ordered new grille cloth, and re-stained the cabinet and gave it a nice coat of polyurethane.  In the middle of all of this process, my grandfather passed away.  We started the project together, but it was mine to finish on my own.  It sat untouched for quite a while, I just wasn't interested in touching it.  After quite a while, I finished the cabinet, installed the new grille cloth, re-installed the metal pieces, and finally was able to put the chassis and speaker back in it.  The result is what you see above.

This was proudly displayed in my room through the rest of my high school years, and when I purchased my mobile home in college, it came with me.  It has had a place of honor in my house ever since.

As I said before, I have no information on this radio.  If anyone can give me a model number, year of manufacture, anything, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks!


  1. Hey MM - Today my hubby and I pulled a Capeheart Panamuse cabinet radio/record player with Erbe changer out of a Dumpster. Yes, you heard me right! Er, I mean, read me right. Do you know anything about them? And would you be interested in it? We want to sell it, quite frankly. There is nothing on eBay. Several fan websites, though. I think this one is 1941-1942 vintage. It will definitely need restoration.

  2. Wow, great find! I had actually never heard of them before your comment! Do you have any idea how much you would be wanting for it? I honestly don't know what it's worth. I also don't know how much it might cost to ship it...do you have pictures? Email me at culdesacshack at gmail dot com Thanks!

  3. Michael, I sent you a link to a Flickr set I made of it.


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