Saving a bit of history - one radio at a time...

Over the last few years I've been having fun restoring old tube radios. There is something about the sight, smell and sound of an old tube radio that can't be beat. The biggest thrill for me is bringing a dead radio back to life and saving it from the landfill.

Most of my radios to restore have been EBay purchases. Lately, I've been having more success shopping antique stores, and garage and estate sales.

If you're interested in fixing up old radios yourself, don't miss Tom's Top Picks for a list of my favorite old radio websites and resource links.

If you click on the images, you'll be able to see a larger version of the picture or, if I've written a restoration article for it, you'll be taken to that page.

Airline (Montgomery Ward)

Airline 64BR-1514A Airline 74WG-1804D

Airline 64BR-1514A

I had to repaint this one. It turned out pretty nice, I think. It includes some shortwave coverage. That's always a plus for me!

Airline 74WG-1804D

This was my first wood cabinet radio. I stripped most of the finish off, saving the bit around the Airline logo and refinished it. The grain on this wood cabinet is quite interesting and makes this radio a real looker.


Arvin 5591

Arvin 5591

Yes, a rather lowly radio, but it was only $3.00 at a nearby estate sale. I like the unusual olive green color and interestingly shaped cabinet. For that price, I couldn't pass it up.

Bendix Radio Corporation

Bendix 110 Bendix 300 Bendix 526e Bendix 953B

Bendix 110

This is one of the first radios I restored. My dad worked for Bendix Corporation for many years. In fact he met my mom there. Dad worked on jet fuel controls, but I knew he'd get a kick out of seeing this old radio from Bendix Aviation. I love its art deco look! More…

Bendix 300

Kind of another typical Bakelite All-American Five radio, but Bendix radios are built better than average and usually work quite well.

Bendix 526E

My wife Sue and I found this nice Bendix set while wandering through a flea market in Gnaw Bone, Indiana. This radio still needs some cabinet refinishing, but it works real well after replacing all the paper and electrolyic capacitors.More…

Bendix 953B

This is a much newer set than the Bendix above. At first glance, you might think this is a clock radio. That's the tuning dial on the left that moves as you turn the tuning knob. They do however, have a similar looking set that DOES have a clock in that spot!

There is a lot of great information on Bendix radios at The Bendix Radio Foundation page.


Crosley 6H2

Crosley 6H2

This beautiful set was part of a Craigslist purchase of several antique radios. I love how the only station call letters on the dial are those of WLW 700 kc in Cincinnati, a station owned by Mr. Crosley himself!


Emerson DL330 Emerson 602A Emerson 659

Emerson DL330

I found this one at a Mishawaka, Indiana antique store and couldn't pass it up. I think the brown bakelite cabinet is quite stylish!

Emerson 602A

This FM-only set was an estate sale find. I love the red cabinet and gold grill. It is one sharp looking radio! There's a nice video by "banderson" on YouTube showing his restoration of this set here.

Emerson 659

I see a lot of these for sale on EBay. There is also an AM/FM version, the model 659-B. Emersons are usually easy restores. They are solidly built - much like Zeniths of the same era, and nearly always work well after a recap, at least in my experience!

General Electric

GE Model 62 GE Model 102 GE Model 201 GE Model 221 GE Model 400

GE 62

I usually don't go for clock radios, but the unique sideways tuning wheel and metal trim accents make this a really nice one!

GE 102

A very common set. Still, I like its styling.

GE 201

Another very common set, but I really like the styling on this old GE with its brass grille and pointer.

GE 221

Vintage 1946. I always like sets that include Short Wave coverage. There's a Bakelite cabinet version of this set - the Model 220. I have one, but it had been very poorly restored by a previous owner. It was easier to scrap the set than try to undo the "horrors."

GE 400

The neatest thing about this radio, besides its swirling, purple case, is that a light follows the tuning pointer as it moves. It's a great effect!


Magnavox FM-41

Magnavox FM-41

This nice AM/FM set from the 60s was most likely made in Fort Wayne, Indiana - not far from my home in South Bend. This is the only set in my collection that I can say I like, mainly because of its grill cloth. The cloth has nice gold highlights that make this one sharp looking radio.

John Meck Industries

Meck 5D7-W18 Meck made

Meck 5D7-W18

This radio, made just a couple dozen miles from where I live, was a 2012 Christmas present. More…

Meck "Plymouth"

Another 2012 Christmas gift - A "Plymouth" model, made by Meck Industries in Plymouth, Indiana More…


Motorola 51X11 Motorola 56R Motorola 57CS Motorola 58GI Motorola 58R11 Motorola C4P 6

Motorola 51X11

I took pity on this poor, damaged Motorola set when I found it on a garage sale table. Apparently, it had fallen off a shelf at some time. It would be nice to find a new cabinet for this one since it works rather well.

Motorola 56R4

This set was part of a local Craigslist purchase of several radios. Many radio collectors like radios that came in bright colors. To me, this radio looks like it should be in a "Jetsons" cartoon episode.

Motorola 57CS

This pink clock radio is a monster. It is big and heavy and boasts Motorola's "Plated Circuit Chassis" -- their name for a printed circuit board.

Motorola 58GI

This is one of the first tube radios I purchased on EBay. I was never real impressed with its looks or performance and sold it at a local hamfest.

Motorola 58R11

Another colorful green Motorola. Motorola radios from the late '50s are pretty cheaply made inside, but some of the cabinet styles are quite nice.

Motorola C4P 6

I've mentioned I don't particularly care for clock radios, but here's another one. I bought it because I really liked the cabinet coloring. It is an Elkhart, Indiana antique store find.

The National Company

NC-125 SW-54 NC-98

National NC-125

I love the look of the old, gray cabinet National Radio receivers. I saw this one on EBay and couldn't resist. It was a bit of project getting it going, but it is now one of my favorite old radios. More…

National SW-54

One of the cutest little shortwave receivers around. I've owned two of these so far. Read more about this 50's set here

National NC-98

I couldn't help myself. When I saw this radio listed on EBay by a local ham, I had to bid on it. Although not as good a performer as the NC-125, it is way ahead of the SW-54 and has that great National Radio look that I love. More…


Philco 41-220

Philco 41-220

My only Philco radio came from my old Valpo Tech buddy Jon from Philadelphia. It was fairly easy getting this set back up to snuff. I replaced the yellowed and cracked dial cover with a new one. The result was a great looking and operating set.

A great resource for information on Philco radios is The Philco Radio Page. Be sure to check out the Philco "phorum."

Radio Corporation of America (RCA)

RCA 95T5 RCA 67 QM77 M

RCA 95T5

I often tell people that garage sales are not the place to find old radios. Nice finds are just too few and far between. But I scored a home run with this beautiful 1938 RCA set found at a garage sale just a couple of miles from home. I had to replace the speaker fabric with some material with a similar pattern that I found at a local fabric shop, but otherwise, the cabinet was in pristine condition. Just the normal recap and a few minor fixes and I had this set working great. The "Nipper" dog was a much later purchase, but just seemed to belong next to the pride and joy of my moderate radio collection.

RCA 67 QM77

This one isn't actually in my collection. It belongs to my neighbors Jon and Jane. Jon's dad bought it in Germany many years ago. I managed to repair it for Jon and thought I'd add a bit here about this interesting set. More…

Silvertone (Sears, Roebuck & Company)

Silvertone Catalog #15 Silvertone 7038 Silvertone 8022

Silvertone Catalog #15

Sears, Roebuck & Co. got a lot of things right when they designed this 1951 Silvertone radio. Its beautiful brown bakelite cabinet was formed with lines and details that make this "Catalog #15" radio a real looker. More…

Silvertone 7038

I bought this radio at a Kalamazoo radio swap meet. From 1941, this large, wood cabinet radio uses "loktal" tubes. With its built-in loop antenna, large speaker, and roomy cabinet, it sounds great!

Silvertone 8022

We seem to find a lot of Silvertone radios around here. It is not surprising, since they were sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. - a major retailer. This set was an antique store find and gift from my son Bryan.


Sylvania 6F18

Sylvania 6F18

Everyone needs an aqua colored radio, right? Well, maybe. Aqua seemed to be a popular color for a short while in the late 50s or early 60s. Even the power cord is aqua on this space-aged shaped set.

Tele-Tone Radio Corporation

Tele-Tone Model 145

Tele-tone 145

My wife found this little portable at a local antique store. It can run from batteries or AC. I first identified this as a model 152 from the schematic glued to the back cover. Closer examination however, shows a penciled in "145" along with a serial number, presumably done at the factory. The schematic at Nostalgia Air verifies that this is indeed, a model 145. This little Tele-Tone works very well as found and is quite sensitive, especially considering that it has only 4 tubes, along with a selenium rectifier.


Zenith 4B231 Zenith J615 Zenith Trans Oceanic

Zenith 4B231

This is my only "Farm" set. It has a vibrator power supply and is designed to run off of a 6 volt battery, such as one might find in an old tractor. My wife and I found this radio at a Lawrence, Michigan antique store.

Zenith J615

I love this radio's "bullseye" look! The speaker is actually behind the dial. This is a great-playing set. One of my best! More…

Zenith Trans Oceanic 8G005YT "Clipper"

An anniversary gift from my wife. I've always wanted one of these fine portables. All but parts sets were out of my budget though. This is a fine example of Zenith's premier tube portable. They were made for years! More…

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