Zenith Model 8-S-154H (8S154H) Console Radio with Rare Maple Finish
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Zenith 8-S-154H (1937)
Zenith introduced the 8-S-154 (8S154) console radio in June
of 1936 as part of their 42 model line-up for 1937. It had an
introductory list price in Eastern states of $89.95 (in walnut).
One big talking point at the time of its introduction was the
"Squared Circle" edition of the Big Black Dial and its "tell tale"
controls. The innovations incorporated into the 1937 line, in
words borrowed from Zenith's advertising, include:-
Zenith 8-S-154H Dial Face
"A most unusual design, of great simplicity, yet containing
a wealth of the finest decorative effects of which the
cabinet maker's art is capable"
"8 tubes. Tunes American and foreign stations, police, amateur,
aviation, ships at sea. Auditorium 12-inch Electro-Dynamic
speaker. Voice-Music-High Fidelity Control, Sensitivity Control,
Lightning Station Finder, Target Tuning, Split-Second Re-locator.
Overtone Amplifier. Acoustic Adapter. 41 inches high"
Certain of the 1937 models were offered from the factory
with a choice of ebony, bone white or maple finish as an
alternative to the standard walnut. The 8-S-154 was one
such model and during the summer of 2007 I was fortunate
enough to acquire the set featured here - sporting the rare
Honey-Maple finish. This was promoted by Zenith as..
  • Acoustic Adapter - the only device now made that
    adjusts for perfect performance in any sized room
  • Split-Second Relocator - only means yet devised to
    relocate short wave foreign and domestic stations
  • Big Black Improved Dial - with the "squared circle"
    and "tell tale" controls. Zenith's most imitated feature
    again improved.
  • Lightning Station Finder - twirl the control and the
    pointer speeds to the station. No more slow, laborious
    knob twisting.
  • Voice-Music-High-Fidelity Control - voice control
    adjusts for natural speaking voice...High Fidelity for
    startling realism. Three additional important adjustments.
"a pleasant, cheerful and carefree finish with a
glint of golden sunshine in it. For those who
prefer a touch of the informal"
By comparison with the standard walnut version, it is
interesting to note that even the knobs are in a matching
maple color. Furthermore, the two vertical stripes of veneer
at either side of the instrument panel exhibit a quite different
grain orientation to the diagonal pattern found on the
standard version.

Curiously, the model number stamped on the rear of the
cabinet reads simply 8S154 and not 8S154H, Zenith's official
designation for the Honey-Maple version. This is perhaps the
reason why the collector who sold it to me did not realize it
was maple at the time he bought it, some years earlier. He
had in fact initially thought that the entire cabinet was faded
as a result of sun exposure and only upon embarking upon a
course of restoration did he discover its true nature!

This beautiful radio retains its original finish, grille cloth,
knobs and other appointments and was restored electrically
by its former owner.
The 8-S-154 is an ac-powered, 8-tube superheterodyne receiver tuning from 538 to 19,250 kcs in three wavebands. The tube
line-up is 6K7/6K7G (RF amp), 6A8/6A8G (mixer/LO), 6K7/6K7G (IF amp), 6H6/6H6G (2nd detector/AVC), 6F5/6F5G (1st AF),
6F6/6F6G (AF power), 5Y3/5W4 (rectifier) and 6C5/6C5G (shadow meter tube). Like other Zeniths for the 1937 season, this one
was designed to work with either Octal-based metal or metaglas tube types.  
Rear View
ZENITH ... America's most copied Radio. Again a year ahead.