Fada Catalin Model 115 "Bullet" Radios (1940)
Gems of the Radio Industry. Beautiful!... Exquisite!... Handsome!... Gorgeous!... Gem-like!... Harmonizing!
The Fada model 115 "streamliner" or
"bullet" radios are widely considered to
be amongst the finest design classics
of the mid-century tube radio era. And
it's not difficult to see why, as what a
feast for the eyes do these little sets
render! Originally available in five
fabulous color combinations, they
stand out from the somber ranks of the
more traditional radios of the day, just
like gemstones, resplendent upon an
otherwise dull and rocky beach.
The 115 was introduced in the summer
or early fall of 1940 as part of the line-
up for Fada's 1941 model season. The
list price was $19.95 for all variants.
|"Outstanding among the many new FADA
1941 models are these eye-thrilling,
colorful radios. The chassis is a powerful 5
tube superheterodyne with 7 tube
performance, operating on either AC or DC
current. The set has its own built-in
FA-DA-SCOPE LOOP ANTENNA. The
convenient DROP HANDLE makes it easy
to carry from room to room. For STYLE
and BEAUTY these GEM-LIKE CABINETS
are breath-taking in appearance. They
resemble such precious stones such as
Onyx, Alabaster, Ruby and Lapis Lazuli.
Your choice of 5 color combinations are
|Model 115A - All Alabaster Cabinet.
Model 115AR - Alabaster Cabinet with Red
Model 115XA - Onyx Cabinet with Alabaster
Model 115MA - Ruby-like maroon cabinet with
Model 115BA - Blue Lapis Lazuli Cabinet with
The 115 uses an "All American Five"
chassis that tunes the standard
broadcast band. The tube line-up is
12SA7(GT), 12SK7(GT), 12SQ7(GT),
50L6GT and 35Z5GT. Schematic.
In perusing the list of available color
combinations listed in the ad snippet
above, there is no mention of yellow or
butterscotch. So how does one explain
the coloring of the trim on the second
and third or the base color of the first
of the models shown to the right? The
answer is that the model 115 is cons-
tructed of catalin, an early plastic whose
colorfastness is notoriously unstable.
When exposed to natural levels of ultra-
violet light over a period of years, the
surface layer of original alabaster col-
oring progressively "ages" to butter-
scotch, while blue turns a dark greenish
brown (olive-like). Thus my model 115AR
(upper) now has a butterscotch cabinet
and my 115BA (mid) and 115XA (lower)
have butterscotch trim instead of
alabaster. The 115BA would have had a
drab olive-colored cabinet had it not
been sanded and/or polished to remove
the surface discoloration and restore the
original, vibrant "lapis lazuli" blue color.
"Alabaster with Red", "Blue Lapis Lazuli with Alabaster" & "Onyx with Alabaster"
Radio Retailing, Sept 1940
|"Plug In, Play" Fada Slogan.
Portable Boasting Built-In Antenna is Featured
The 1940 Fada radios are so equipped the owner may "plug in and play them anywhere". This is made possible by the built-in antenna which also resists
Many table models are constructed with handles so the set may be easily picked up and carried wherever the owner desires. This portable feature is
added without interfering with the appearance of the set. In fact, the pick-up feature is designed into many numbers cabinetted in colorful Catalin
which gives off the appearance of precious jewels.
My 115AR could likewise have been treated to restore its original cabinet color too, but I've chosen to leave it be. I think it looks better as is.
The following cutting, pertaining to Fada's 1940 line, was found in a late 1939 newspaper. I've included it here as it remained applicable
to the company's 1941 models also.
"...eye-thrilling, colorful radios"