Stromberg Carlson radios

wikicollecting

wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:50:43

Stromberg Carlson radios are radios produced by Stromberg Carlson.

Background

Stromberg Carlson were originally founded in 1894, producing telephones as well as some small radio components. During the 1920s Stromberg Carlson began to sell their own radio sets with impressive results.

In 1923, the company was licensed to produce the “Neutodyne” radio circuit designed by Dr. L. A. Hazeltine. Stromberg-Carlson’s first set came out in early 1924, and the company steadily grew its radio production, eventually requiring RCA licenses for several products.

In 1926, Stromberg-Carlson became the first manufacturer to merge phonograph and radio technology by incorporating a phonograph jack into its radio chassis. By the end of the decade, Stromberg-Carlson sold sets with fully integrated radio and turntable technologies, and the company’s radio sales surpassed that of its telephones.
The 1930s represented boom years for Stromberg-Carlson’s radio development, as it introduced new modifications like automatic volume control, improved amplifying methods, and an early push-button tuning mechanism. Ads from the late '30s emphasize other innovations, like the unique Stromberg-Carlson “acoustical labyrinth,” a complex baffle design which improved sound quality by guiding audio waves through a series of interlocking chambers, and its “Te-Lek-Tor” series, which included remote-control capabilities. “Let your dealer arrange an audition,” was the brand’s cheeky slogan, emphasizing its reputation for superior sound quality.

Over the next 20 years, Stromberg-Carlson created an array of gorgeous Art Deco-inspired radios, from the sleek, ivory-colored 140-K console to the tabletop 225-H with its floral-patterned speaker grill and octagonal dial. After the company’s merger with General Dynamics in 1955, the business was restructured to focus production on telephone products, and its radios were discontinued.

Collecting information

Early, "boxed" radios are worth substantially more than the later "stand alone" models and serve as a centre piece in many impressive vintage radio collections.

Bakelite models are also highly desirable among radio and Bakelite collectors alike.

Although you might think functioning radios would be worth more than defunct models, since most collectors acquire radios on the basis of their aesthetic appeal, whether or not the radio still works actually has very little impact on the cash value of any radio. Collectors and dealers value brightly coloured, distinctive, and Art Deco models more than the plainer more contemporary looking radios.

If the radio in question is made out of wood, the condition of the wooden casements is of paramount importance, though some flaws in wooden casements can be professionally restored. Restoration will only recover a portion of the radio's mint-value however.

Price guide

Early boxed radios are much larger and worth substantially more than almost any other Stromberg Carlson model. A beautiful, lacquered, Chinese-style, early radio by Stromberg-Carlson, with #846 receiver, contained in a special cabinet of great beauty, sold for $2,200 in November 2008.

Mint and near mint condition Bakelite models usually sell for upwards of $100.

Wooden, Art Deco models are highly prized among serious collectors, usually bringing several hundred dollars if they are in good condition.

More common models or models in poor condition will sell for around $50 to $70.

Cheap Stromberg Carlson radios can be found in thrift stores at at yard and car boot sales. If you don't want to pay over the odds for your radios, avoid professional dealerships. However, if you want to find quality radios which are accurately priced, auction houses are where you should be hunting.

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