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"Silver Bell" table top radio, wood with tubes

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Tube Radios129 of 226Airline Record Player / Recorder / PA / AM RadioTube Radio
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    Posted 10 years ago

    (1 item)

    I have a wooden table top radio. The wood is in very good condition, and still quite pretty. There are cut-out areas with metal wraps for the volume and also the tuning. The tuning knobs themselves are quite pretty and almost resemble fancy buttons. The dials are an ivory color with writing on them, and light up when the radio is turned on. There is no back, no tags I can see within the case itself, and nothing on the bottom The name tag on the front says "Silver Bell", but also on the back is a model number, on a tin type plate, Model 40, serial number 1026, this is located on the metal area which the tubes are in. There are tubes that resemble strange light bulbs and also some that have metal around them, at least one tube says RCA on it. It seems to have cardboard behind the material on the front. I have had it for many, many years. I think I may have gotten it from my Grandmother who passed away in 73 in Chicago, she was from Wisconsin. Now that my kids are grown and I have a little time I have finally gotten it out and unwrapped. But I have no idea just what it is, manufacturer, year, etc. I would like to get a good idea so I can gain information on how to repair it. It turns on, but doesn't seem to get any channels. I also don't know just how to take it apart either. So finding the correct information would be really useful. I think it is probably something simple, loose wire or tube, etc. Any and all information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your assistance.

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    1. Bobber57 Bobber57, 10 years ago
      Your Grandmother's set was probably made in 1933 or 1934. I love this style of radio and have collected them for years but the only reference to Silver Bell I've ever found is a label on a set from about 1936 that said it was made by Silverman Manufacturing Company in Oakland, California.

      You've got a top of the line set there because it has the big transformer (in the back on the right). These things were expensive during the depression and very heavy. Companies got around using transformers at this time by using line cord resistors – a resistor in the power cord – in what were called "curtain burners."

      The two tubes on the left have tube shields (the one on the far left is missing the top) and are covered to keep out unwanted radio waves from the other tubes in the set. These sets were generally not made with backs. Too much heat developed inside the cabinet from the tubes.

      If you could remove the tubes you will see numbers on them. If you go to there is a section called "Search for models by Tubes/Valves/Semiconductors" that you can enter the numbers in with a space between each number. It will give you a list of all the sets in their database that use those tubes. You can use the information from there to search for schematic diagrams that will help you work on the set. If that gets too complicated, there are many places listed online that will work on the set for you.

      The wire coming out of the back of the set with the power cord may be the antenna. Try connecting another wire that’s about ten feet long to it and try it again. Post on this site again if you find anything!

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