|Sparton 409 (409GL) "Seven-Sided" Blue & Peach Mirror Radios
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.
Examples of both are featured on this
page. These spectacular relics from a
bygone era are rare and highly collectible
pieces today, with the old-rose variant in
particular being especially scarce.
The 409GL is similar in concept to the
Bluebird 566 in that it consists of an incl-
ined mirror with the electronics artfully
concealed 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 black lacquer.
The 409GL is diminutive in size, measur-
ing 12" wide (mirror tip to tip), 7.5" high
and 5" deep. It was billed as a second
radio for the home, priced at below $20.
Based upon advertising, the set appears
to have been offered for sale through at
least the end of 1940, by which time it
could be purchased for just $9.95.
The rear cab (see lower right) is finished
in grey and 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) and BK3AJ (ballast). Schematic
The 409GL requires a good antenna for
satisfactory reception with all but the
strongest local stations. However, I imag-
ine that very few if any of these are act-
ually used for listening to today!
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
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.
0.15A filaments. These types were not available when the radio was first manufactured. The original tubes
were 25Z6GT, 25L6GT, 6A8GT & 6J7GT with 0.3A filaments. For someone wishing to play the radio, it
turns out this was a neat idea, since the substitution allowed the troublesome resistive line-cord to be
disconnected (a definite safety enhancement) and the ballast tube to be bypassed. Aside from this, the
two tube sets were interchangeable without any additional circuit modifications other than the removal of a
connection 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.
Note: The grille cloth is a replacement. The original appears to have been the same as that used on the blue mirrored model
As a final note, this model was promoted as a "radio for the kitchen bedroom or bath". Can you imagine it being sold for use in the bathroom
today? 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 nasty surprise!
For further reading on the 409GL, see Doug Heimstead's excellent article on Sparton's Mirrored Radios.
Clipping from a Newspaper ad dated Nov 1940
Clipping from a Newspaper ad dated Oct 1940