At the left is a photo of a
1941 Crosley Model 03CB floor model radio. This one I restored a couple years ago, but
I restored another one 20-some years ago, which was given as a wedding present to my sister-in-law
Robin Sparkes just checked in with a Capehart Radio restoration project that he is getting
ready to undertake. Please click on the link to view his page. Maybe you can provide some
You will also want to check out Gary Steinhour's restored
Hammarlund Mfg. RBG-2 and
Scott Radio Labs RBO-2 Navy radios.
Here is a page of links to companies that provide
services and parts.
Paul's Tube Radio Restoration website
has lots of good photos of restoration processes.
Bob Davis' Radio Restorations
RF Cafe visitor Bob Davis, whom I have known for many years, recently sent me (at my request)
photos of some of the antique radios that he has restored - it is one of his hobbies. That
these radios are still available is a bit miraculous since Bob lives in New Orleans, very
near the levee system along Lake Pontchartrain. Fortunately, his home was on higher ground
and was spared the worst of the flooding during Katrina. Here are Bob's restoration stories
Lloyds shortwave radio, his RCA 86T, and a few other
radio restoration projects.
RCA 86T Restoration Project
This is a really nice, art deco looking set. I got it from a friend. It's on the list to
restore, but haven't found a really good schematic for it. I turned it on so you could see
the dial. It hums a bit, so I'm worried that the caps may blow up.
Read Bob's complete write-up on the 86T
My Christmas  holiday project was to start restoring my RCA 86T radio.
came to me through a friend of a friend as a forewarned basket case. For the 50 bucks I gave
him for it, I didn't care what I had to do to it (at the time my car took more than 50 bucks
to fill up!).
I took a few pictures showing the dangers of just connecting one of these old fellows up
to the AC mains and going for it (they were on a current limited power supply, with one hand
holding the camera and the other poised over a kill switch).
I wonder how many people buy these old sets off of the internet or antique shops and are
told they are "re-capped" and ready to go without such obvious hazards like these repaired?
Heat and rubber coated wire + 70 years = fire! Cloth covered wire gets brittle too, as one
of the pictures show.
There are many businesses where competent folks sell radios that are refurbed safely (and
professionally). Some auction sellers One will find on the popular sites are amongst that
number. Be careful to check credentials and get a few referrals before you buy unless you're
going to gut and rebuild the radio yourself. The pro's will be happy to show off their work,
with pride. Whatever one does, a disassembly and a safety check beneath the chassis of any
old set one may buy is good advice before plugging it into the wall. It may be pretty on the
outside and not be so pretty underneath the chassis.
Airline 62-437 "Movie Dial"
Here is an Airline 62-437 "Movie Dial" tabletop radio from the series that was sold by
Montgomery Ward in the 1930s. It uses a
self-rectifying vibrator DC-DC converter for changing 6 Vdc to 145 Vdc.
See a complete article on the restoration
Stewart Warner R1451-A
This is a wonderful set, circa 1936. It has been fully restored. The magic dial glows in
the dark ready to navigate the user around the world. It has a wonderful tone and is a real
WW2, late 1940's. This set is a little unique. Most you will see have the 8 pin 50L6 output
tube. This one uses a 50B5 which is a newer mini tube amongst the locking 7 volt filament
tubes (fun to get those out of the sockets). This unit came to me in a shopping bag with about
5 coats of various types of white paint on it and many insect nests in it. Every wire in it
had to be replaced as they all crumbled when I flexed them. About 100 hours in this little
girl. I stripped off all the paint to reveal a beautiful, "swirly" cabinet.
You can still pick these up on eBay once in a while for under $100.00 (make sure you restore
them or they have been restored if you want a player, their wiring and their capacitors don't
age well). This one probably isn't worth the $300 some of them go for totally restored, but
it was owned by my Uncle Pete and it was the first radio I remember that could get AM stations
in Iowa that were farther away than any other radio I had access to at 6 years old. Let's
just say it HAD to be restored as it helped to launch a long career of yours truly making
sensitive receivers for a living.
They call these "Hippopotamus" radios, one can see why with a quick look at the face.
Bendix Model 75P6U AM/FM
"A late 1940's Bendix AM/FM set. Now that she's all re-capped and re-tuned it's a very
nice receiver. Look at how labor intensive the wiring is underneath. This one would have survived
a Russian attack for sure... I still have a little cabinet work to do. Trying to find a good
pinstripe brush to re-do the frequency dial where the paint wore off after 60+ years."
This is the next challenge for restoration. Say...where's the FM dial?
Stewart Warner SW13-6P1
Nice little set. Dual band unit pre WW2. Best I can tell from what I've seen it was around
1939. I'm sure someone will tell me exactly (the Riders diagram on this one doesn't have a
One black, one white. The black one is totally restored
(note the "Saints" colors?).
I had one of these when I was a kid and it was an AM DX hound. The TC-62 had a extra tube
in it for an RF amp over the other, cheaper set that looked identical to it. The tube wasn't
too well shielded however and the radio would squeal if you got the signal strength and the
tuning cap just right (which was pretty cool to a 7 year old). Neither of these have that
issue as I shielded the tubes.
I like these not only because they remind me of the one I had (that my Dad gave to me when
it was retired from the kitchen counter) when I was a kid, but they also have some nice 1950's
styling. These are circa 1954.
I bought this on eBay and brought it back to life thanks to the BAMA site I see you have
a link to on your site now (wow, great folks who provide the schematics for us). I went through
it with a fine tooth comb and refurbed all the electronics with new caps etc. and then did
a full re-alignment on it using my fancy test equipment. It's a real player and a fine shortwave
set. If you look, there is quite a bit of band spread across the dial (i.e. the frequency
change versus dial travel is small), makes it really nice to DX with.
Bob says: "I'll probably have a really neat one for you in about 3 months Once I get it
restored. It uses a projection system to display the station Information, they call it a 'movie
If you take this further, perhaps a warning on your hobby page that if you buy one of these
things (especially off of eBay) have it inspected by a qualified tech or rebuild it yourself
Or you may burn the house down. I don't quite know how one would word that, but It's probably
a good idea. Old caps explode, old cords are frayed and short, transformers short And the
insulation starts on fire, you know, cool stuff! Also a note about knowing what you are doing,
using an isolation transformer and variac so you don't kill yourself or set off an explosion
hitting 70 year old caps with a 120 volt (or higher) transient by just plugging the radio,
in may be an idea.
I worked on an old Aetna radio a few years back and the IF cans had 200 volts on them,
Here are some pictures of some of the radios I have. All but the White Capehart and the
Wards Magic Dial have been gone through thoroughly although I haven't done the full cabinet
restoration on most.
I usually concentrate on the insides and bring them back to life and make them safe. I
leave the cabinet collecting to the collectors. I just do this for fun, and to re-learn some
of the old secrets the RF engineers of the past used to make these radios use fewer parts
but still perform so well.
I will say it is fun to tune them up with my Rohde and Schwarz test equipment. The engineers
who designed these never could have foreseen a 7 GHz spectrum analyzer and a 3 GHz
high fidelity signal generator aligning their sets I am sure.
Well, that's about it for now, I have a few hangar queens that I'm working on, namely a
1936 Wards (Wells Gardner) "Movie Dial" set and a 1931 Westinghouse/Philco grandfather clock
radio. Both are real basket cases, but will soon be back in shape. I hope you found this interesting.
This 1941* Crosley floor console radio model
03CB was given to
me as a Christmas present in 1983 by my wife, Melanie. It was found by my sister, Gayle, and
her husband, Mike, 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.
"The Rainbow of Sound" - Here is a 1942 vintage magazine advertisement pitching the Crosley
Glamor-Tone Radio and Phonograph Combinations. They were the next iteration of my 1941 version
03CB console radio.
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 03CB Floor Console Radio by
- 1941 Crosley
03CB Floor Console Radio Restoration Project
Tesslor R-601S Vacuum Tube Radio Teardown
Tesslor R-601S Retro Vacuum Tube AM/FM Radio w/Bluetooth 3.0 Modification
- Crosley 03CA Floor Console Radio for Sale
- 1941 Crosley Model 03CB Radio Photos (Tim
- Radio &
Electronics Restoration Projects
with Science / Technology Themes
Vintage Magazine Ads
from Duke University's Ad*Access Website
Vintage Radio Control