Sparton 409 (409GL) "Seven-Sided" Blue & Peach Mirror
Radios (1938/1939)
The 409GL, introduced in late 1938, was
the last in the line of Sparks-Withington's
Sparton mirror radios. Like the models
that preceded it, it was available in either
blue or "old rose" (peach) tinted glass, as
seen on this page. These spectacular
relics from a bygone era are rare and
highly collectible pieces today, with the
old-rose variant being especially scarce.

The 409GL is similar in concept to the
Bluebird 566 in that it consists of an incl-
ined mirror, with the chassis artfully con-
cealed in a rear cab. The mirror is seven
sided with beveled edges and features a
circular cut-out in front of the loudspeaker
and dial markings formed into the rear of
the glass. The wooden runners upon
which the ensemble sits are finished in
ebony.

The 409GL was billed as a second radio
for the home, priced at below $20. Some
ads promoted it as a "radio for the kitch-
en, bedroom or bath". Can you imagine it
being sold for use in the bathroom? One
side of the AC line is connected to the
chassis with the knobs providing the only
barrier between the listener, the chassis
and potentially a lethal surprise!

The 409 appears to have been offered
for sale through at least the end of 1940,
by which time it was could be purchased
for just $9.95.

For further reading on the 409GL, see
Doug Heimstead's excellent article on
Sparton's Mirrored Radios. Also, see the
re-creation of a store-display stand for
the 409-GL at the Decophobia website.
Sparton 409GL Blue Mirror Radio (1938)
Sparton 409GL profile
Sparton 409GL rear housing
A strikingly beautiful and different radio for the kitchen, bedroom or bath.
...beveled midnight blue mirror glass....   ..rythmic modern design enriched with touches of silver glints
and ebony black.                             ...a  worthy successor to the widely accepted Sparton Bluebird model
Newspaper ad for the 409GL, dated Dec 1940
Sparton 409GL in 'old rose' tinted glass Tube Radio
Note: The grille cloth is a replacement. The original appears to have been the same as that used on the blue mirrored model
Newspaper ad dated Oct 1940
Clipped from a Newspaper dated 11/40
Clipping from a Newspaper dated 10/40
The rear cab houses a 5-tube (including
ballast) regenerative superhet receiver. It
also uses a resistive line cord. Tube line-
up is 6A8GT (mixer/LO), 6J7GT (2nd
det), 25L6GT (power output), 25Z6GT
(rectifier) & BK3AJ (ballast). Schematic is
available here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
12" (W) * 5" (D) * 71/2" (H)
Copyright TubeRadioLand.com
After purchasing my blue 409GL, I dis-
covered that the original tubes had been
replaced with the newer types 35Z5GT,
50L6GT, 12A8GT and 12J7GT, all having
0.15A filaments. These types were not
available when the radio was first
manu-
factured. The original tubes were 25Z6GT,
25L6GT, 6A8GT & 6J7GT with 0.3A fila-
ments. For someone wishing to play the
radio, it turns out this was a neat idea,
since the substitution allows the trouble-
some resistive line-cord to be disconnect-
ed
(a definite safety enhancement) and
the ballast tube to be bypassed. Aside
from this, the two tube sets were interchan-
geable without any additional circuit mod-
ifications other than the removal of a con-
nection from the socket of the 35Z5GT
rectifier. For vintage radio purists, the
original configuration is readily restorable
by re-inserting the original tube types and
re-connecting both the line-cord (still
present on my set) and the wire to the
rectifier socket.
Sparton 409GL Tube Radio Rear View