Atwater Kent Model 70 Console Radio (1930)
This floor model radio from 1930 uses the 7-tube Type L TRF chassis. It
employs push-pull 45s in the output stage and covers the broadcast band.
I found the cabinet for this radio at a yard sale, following a tip-off from a relative. I arrived at the sale late in the day and
the seller, Bob, told me he would put the cabinet in the trash if he still had it by day's end. It was in fairly good shape
(other than having been glossed with Shellac), so I negotiated to buy it for $5. We were both happy. Afterwards, I
asked Bob what had become of the chassis and he said he had long ago put both it and the loudspeaker in the
trash. He then proceeded to tell me the following story.
Several years beforehand he had planned to restore the radio and to that end he had taken it to an old radio repair
shop in the city of Boston. While there, the proprietor started to examine the radio but soon asked Bob if he would
mind going out to buy him a coffee. Bob gladly did so. Upon returning, the proprietor had reached a conclusion about
the radio "I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for it, the tubes are obsolete and replacements can no longer be found
and besides, the chassis needs too much work". Dismayed, Bob took the radio home, threw out what he believed to
be a worthless chassis and speaker but held onto the cabinet, planning to turn it into a cocktail cabinet. He never got
around to doing that and so the cabinet ended up at the yard sale where I bought it that day.
Well, we can only guess what happened when the radio repairman sent Bob out for coffee. This radio likely had
valuable S-type 45 and 80 ( globe) tubes in it and I'm guessing they had been removed by the time the owner
returned to the shop, probably replaced with worthless types or duds. I suspect this is something that occurs fairly
often, unfortunately. I told Bob that you can still find just about any type of tube and that, judging by the condition of the
case, the chassis was probably almost certainly restorable. Shame he hadn't kept them.
I took the cabinet home wondering if I would ever find the correct chassis. A little research told me that it needed a
Type L chassis and Type N loudspeaker. I put the cabinet up in the loft not expecting to remove it any time soon. The
very next week I was at a Sunday morning flea market and what do you think I found out on the grass at 5am? Yes, the
very chassis and speaker needed to make this model complete. The chassis had a tone control switch unbolted
from the faceplate and was missing a knob. But these were easily taken care of. As my wife later said, this radio was
obviously meant to be!