Emerson Model 520 Catalin Table Radio (1946)
I believe the Emerson model 520 was a Raymond Loewy design that was the last catalin radio produced by the company. In spite of
sometimes being called the Edsel of catalin radios, the 520 is today one of the more common catalins and as a result can be pur-
chased by collectors for a reasonable price. The unit photographed is in brown catalin with orange marbling. There are rarer var-
iants made of marbled black catalin as well as others having grilles with round slots and alternate dial designs. The original list price
back in 1946 when the set was introduced was $37.85.
The receiver is a typical All-American-Five (AA5) design covering the broadcast band from 540-1620kc and having tube line-up:
12SA7 (mixer/LO), 12SK7 (IF amp), 12SQ7 (2nd det/AGC/1st AF), 50L6GT (power amp), 35Z5GT (rectifier). The numbering on the
Riders schematic diagram at Nostalgia Air shows a full complement of GT type tubes, though the tube listing beneath the schematic
contradicts this and calls out 12SA7, 12SK7 and 12SQ7 for the first three (i.e. metal types). This matches my model as well as most
others I have seen the chassis for, though in practice either type will work just fine.
The radio features a moulded back as shown below. More often than not, this back shows cracks and breakage around the screw
holes as a result of the stress induced by the shrinkage of the catalin casing over time. Mine is unfortunately no exception.
I found this radio at an early morning outdoor flea-market over the summer of 2004. It caught my eye because in the bright morning
sunshine the radio appeared as a highly spectacular fiery blaze of orange, white and brown.
...a modern classic in plastic..with miracle tone.