This 1941* Crosley floor console radio (03CB?) was given to me as a Christmas present in 1983 by my sister, Gayle, and her husband, Mike. They found it in a barn on Kent Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It sported a couple shortwave bands and AM (no FM in those days). Unfortunately, I did not take any detailed pictures of the unit, so the best I could come up with is this shot of my two children (Philip & Sally) sitting with my father-in-law, Marlet Goodwin, on Christmas day of 1990.
Its original finish was peeling off, and all the metal parts - the dial and trim plates, electronics chassis, etc., was rusting. It sat in our house for a couple years and then I tackled the refinishing project. Every bit of of the stain and shellac was removed from the case, and paint from the metal parts, using naval jelly (the good, caustic pink stuff). Hours of scraping, filling and sanding took care of the wood, and then a Minwax stain was applied, with a top coat of a few coats of Deft lacquer. The dial was carefully cleaned and lacquered. The dial trim plate was primed and painted gold (the original color). I removed all the tube and primed and painted the chassis gray (its original color). All the paper capacitors were replaced, and the tubes were tested on a portable tube tester that had been given to me by überengineer Jim Wilson. Only a couple needed replacing. Those were the days before eBay and the Internet, so finding replacements took enlisting the help of Ham friend who found them at a Hamfest. The antenna was a solid rectangular coil that ran around the rear outside edge of the entire chassis.
After doing a good visual and continuity check of the electronics, I plugged the radio into the wall. No smoke - that was a good start. A beautiful warm glow appeared at the base of all the tubes, and before long there was a welcoming 60 Hz hum coming through the huge electromagnetic speaker (no permanent magnet). I turned the dial and, voila!, the local AM stations came in clear as a bell (well, as a bell with a 60 Hz hum). The hum was eventually tamed by adding a couple caps across the coil. It probably killed some of the bass, but who would notice on AM? I pushed the "Japan" button and picked up some foreign station, but it definitely was not from Japan. Similarly, other far away broadcasts were received on the other bands, but I cannot recall the details.
Melanie and I gave the radio to her sister as a wedding present in 1993, since her sister's home was decorated in a Victorian theme. It has since, shall we say, "moved on," and I now have no idea where it resides. Oh well, that's the risk I took in gifting it. Here are a few of my other projects.
* I originally had 1926 as the year since I remember seeing the date on a label inside the radio, but research has shown that
it is most likely 1 1941 model. The 1926 date was probably for one of the patents listed.
Crosley Radios, Cars, Appliances, & Proximity Fuses
If you have any interest in vintage radios, you undoubtedly are familiar with Crosley products. They were very different from today's Crosley products in terms of quality. My experience with Crosley was while restoring a 1929 floor model that was given to me by my sister. It was constructed of solid wood and a nice mahogany laminate. The face plate, dial, and knobs were heavy guage metal. Following the success of their radios, Crosley ventured into the automobile market from 1939 through 1952. Little known even amongst Crosley fans is that they built proximity fuses during World War II. "Crosley's involvement began in late October 1941 when they were contacted by the Bureau of Ordnance and told that they would be contacted later that month concerning a 'top secret, top priority' project." A Crosley VT (variable time) fuse was credited with the dowing its first Japanese dive bomber in 1953. The Brits used them against German V-1 Buzz Bombs. Thanks to RF Cafe visitor Kevin A. for the tip.