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Listening To My 1941 RCA Victrola TV Stand

By • Nov 24th, 2005 • Category: Radio, Tech Weenie

The dial of my 1941 RCA Victrola RadioI’m a radio geek. Since I was 3 feet tall, radio was the coolest thing in the world to me. I’d lay in my bed at night cruising from one end of the dial to the other. Sometimes AM, sometimes shortwave, but it was a constant. It blew my little kid mind to listen to radio shows that were happening in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, New York…in the dark of my bedroom in Iowa. There are fewer things I care to listen to on the air these days, but it’s still magical thing for me.

I think I was maybe 8 when I discovered this 1941 RCA Victrola console radio in our attic. One of the previous owners of the house, Frank S. Stewart, had owned both the funeral home and the furniture store next door. His family and later his son Jack’s family had lived there from about 1910 until my parents bought the place in the 70s. I would sometimes dig though the stacks of random things that accumulate in the attic of a funeral home over the course of 60+ years. Mostly it was old chairs, records, and odd houshold items that had just been left there. We had a long row of winter clothes that hung up there on a long rod. One day I peeked around behind it and saw this massive radio covered in a ridiculously think layer of dust. Stewart’s furniture store had been a dealer for RCA (perhaps others) and I would assume this had been one they’d used in the house.

My dad gave me the go-ahead to drag this thing out of the attic and into my bedroom where I cleaned off the gunk and wired up a new power cord. It was certainly old, but the power cord was really the only thing on it that was disitegrating. With not much more than a thorough cleaning, it worked without any problems up until a few years ago when one of the tubes went bad. It somewhat ironically became the thing upon which the TV lives. The TV will remain on top, but since replacing the bad tube earlier this evening I’ve been camped out in front of it crusing up and down the dial.

Once I refinish some damage from Rocco the dog’s claws and give its guts another good cleaning she’ll be as good as new. I might document some of the progress here, but I’ll definitely post some pictures once it’s done.

is a post-hardcore rock'n'roller, graphic designer, amateur chef, typography nerd, coffee connoisseur, radio guy, motorcyclist, skateboard commuter, and a reluctant adult. He lives in Portland's Old Town area with the lovely Dr. Adrienne and Rocco the Dog.
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