Zenith Model 809 Chrome Grille Tombstone Radio (1935)
To ardent lovers of table radios deriving from the climax of
the 1930's Art Deco period, Zenith's model 809 is pure and
delectable eye candy. For what a superbly crafted piece it is!
Its individual attributes, comprising a waterfall front of rich
veneers, decorative inlays and vaulted base, a grille beaut-
ifully adorned with chrome, beset with eclectic dial and
knobs, all combine harmoniously to produce a cumulative
effect far greater than the sum of the separate parts. In fact
one's sentiments for this gem can be expressed in no better
words than those taken from Zenith's own original model 809
advertising, for it is "truly a veritable masterpiece among
The 809 was the lowest priced member of a trio of highly
imaginative chrome-front tombstone radios introduced by
Zenith in the early summer of 1934 (the others being the 829
and 835). Its list price was $54.95, just $5 more than the
model 808 with which it shares its 6-tube three-band chassis
type. Band coverage is standard broadcast (537-1500kc),
the old police band (1500-4200kc) and shortwave (foreign
broadcast) (5500-15800kc). The tube line-up is 6D6 (RF),
6A7 (mixer/ LO), 6D6 (IF), 75 (2nd detector/AVC/1st AF), 42
(AF power) and 80 (rectifier). Schematic.
..truly a veritable masterpiece among table radios.
I purchased this radio at the Kutztown radio show in September of 2009. I had come close to purchasing one on several occasions in the
past but somehow always seemed to just miss out. In fact I almost passed on this one too! I had the grille cleaned and re-chromed by
SouthShorePlating of Quincy and the radio needed a new dial glass and grille cloth. The finish is original and cleaned up beautifully. I'm
ecstatic with the final result!
Zenith "small white dial" series