Saturday, July 24

1928 Model 49 Atwater-Kent Radio

Here's a 1928 Atwater Kent Model 49 battery radio and its matching E3 speaker.  If you've been thinking about purchasing a working 20's era battery radio but have hesitated out of concern that getting the set to operate properly might be more trouble than its worth, this is your radio.  The radio and speaker were restored (electrically and cosmetically) in 2003 by a well known Atwater Kent aficionado , and they now work as well as -- or better than -- any other Atwater Kent battery radio/speaker combo I've ever owned.  In fact they work better than many contemporary AM radios, when the proper antenna and ground connections are in place.  The radio requires a regulated DC power supply (I'd recommend an ARBEIII from Antique Radios, Inc) and a longwire outdoor antenna.  However, if you don't have room for a longwire antenna, or you don't have the time to string one up in your yard, a 30 foot strand of copper wire run along the ceiling of your home or office should get good results, too. 

Condition of the radio is superb throughout.  The panel and chassis have been cleaned and professionally restored, new wires have run through the original wiring harness, the original AF transformers have been rewound to as-new factory specs, dials and knobs have been cleaned, hardware has been replated, weak and/or oxidized wiring connections have been cleaned up and, if necessary, re-soldered, etc.  The cabinet finish is original, but the cabinet has been French polished to a beautiful luster.  The E3 speaker has been cleaned, its metal surfaces re-painted, its grill cloth replaced, and the metal tips on the speaker cord have been replaced and secured to the sheathing.
As noted above, operating the radio is as easy as turning on a power supply and rotating the dial.  The Model 49 was one of Atwater Kent's last battery radios, and by the time they'd put it into production, they'd finally figured out how to make a DC powered set that worked more or less effortlessly. Single-dial tuning minimizes the hassle involved in finding a strong station.  In fact, it's pretty much impossible not to find a station  -- strong or weak.  I live out in the country, more than 25 miles from the nearest AM station, and this radio is able to pull in more than a dozen different broadcasts, from all over east coast, in the middle of the afternoon.  More than twice that number at night.  In short, a great looking, fully functioning pair, and a great introduction to the world of 20's battery radios.

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