The ‘golden age of radio’ may be gone, but antique radios are still going strong. Whether you’re interested in a specific manufacturer (RCA, Philco, Zenith, Crosley, Emerson) or style (catalin, transistor, cathedral or console), there’s a radio out there for you.

You can identify most antique radios by model number, which can include any combination of letters and numbers. If you don't see a manufacturer's name, look inside the chassis, as it may be stamped on the tubes or other components.

The earliest radios were typically bare components (e.g. glass tubes) mounted on a board. Later came plain wooden or metal boxes, and by the late 1920s, elaborate cabinets designed to look like real furniture. Cathedral and tombstone style wooden cabinets were popular during the 1930s. And Art Deco style radios made of Bakelite, Catalin and other early resins or plastics (Plaskon, Beetle, etc) became popular during the 1930s and 1940s. Transistors were introduced in 1957, displacing tubes and enabling miniaturization.

Although you may be able to play an unrestored antique radio, note that its capacitors are likely to fail without warning (and may also pose a fire hazard), so replacing them pre-emptively is advisable.


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Recent News: Radios

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Heart of Americanness
Gapers Block, July 5th

Large beds with thick wooden bedposts, Victorian dolls, soft recliners, old-fashioned toys, sturdy wood dressers and antique radios. heart of america bandb. Heading down the stairs in the B&B. Photo by Tore Rasmussen Steien. On the first floor they...Read more

6 Break-the-Mold Wineries to Visit This Summer
The Cheat Sheet, July 4th

For the record, there are strip clubs in Napa, but there is fun to be had that falls in between that and the quaint inn with antique radios and no televisions that Stu described. Some may put wine tasting in the same category as visiting a bed and...Read more

Mad Internet Rumour of the Day: Paris Hilton Restores Vintage Radios for Fun
Gizmodo UK, July 3rd

Paris Hilton, the inexplicable celebrity who is best known for being inexplicably famous secretly restores vintage radios as a hobby, it has been alleged. Seriously. Alan White over at Buzzfeed got the scoop - reporting on a number of independent...Read more

Take a trip back to the '50s in New Holland's Community Memorial Park July 12
LancasterOnline, July 3rd

On weekends the red and white vehicle is usually parked in front of the classic American eatery in the small Chester County town. The parade car is complete with fins and chrome, a vintage radio system and a bubble gum machine — the tall, dome-shaped, ...Read more

What's It Worth? 1940s radio with a Bakelite case
Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2nd

The event will feature a 19-piece "radio studio orchestra," a live radio play of "War of the Worlds," silent and live auction of antique radios, an electronics flea market, good food and beverages and lots of fun. You'll be certain to come across...Read more

Does Paris Hilton Secretly Restore Vintage Radios In Her Spare Time?
BuzzFeed News, July 2nd

Does Paris Hilton Secretly Restore Vintage Radios In Her Spare Time? View this image › · tumblr.com. Unless you know differently. Perhaps you've seen Paris Hilton at a vintage radio show. Maybe you've bonded over transistor parts. You might have sold...Read more

Book Buzz
La Crosse Tribune, July 1st

Toward the end of July WVRQ radio announcer Ernie Betts will be leading a program titled, “Collecting Antique Radios.” Please join Betts on Monday, July 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the adult department for a program featuring his collection of antique radios...Read more

This Is The Coolest Vintage Radio Ever
Gizmodo, June 23rd

If you were a radio nerd in the 1940s, this was your dream set. Built by Kluge Electronics in Los Angeles, the “California Kilowatt” could not only send and receive messages, but it came with all the bells and whistles — including built-in speakers...Read more