Heck Yeah, Old Technology!

Zenith ‘R521F’ clock radio, manufactured 1954.

Today’s thrift find. I went to a different Goodwill Outlet than usual and it seems they’re not created equally. This one had fewer people, more valuable stuff, and cost 20¢ more a pound. But I came away with some amazing things, including this awesome green radio. Inside are 5 vacuum tubes driving the AM radio, and both the radio and the clock (and its alarm function) work fine. You should have heard me, it was like I’d just found a kitten in the bin: “Hey, little baby, what are you doing in here?” [pick up gently, cradle to bosom, walk to the front to find a test outlet, tubes begin glowing when I pet the knob and in seconds it purrs]

The only external flaw seen is that chip on the volume knob. The internal flaw why this was given up and wound up in the last-chance bin was because initially there was no sound. This was due to the antenna’s solder joint on the tuner breaking, thus no signal — see picture 5, the antenna is wound in an oval on the fiberboard backplate of the radio, and the end of the black wire from it which is just hanging there over the wood is supposed to be connected to the post near the tuner’s grille, where that other black wire ends. A minute with a soldering iron and I’m listening to a Seattle Mariners pre-game show on KIRO 710.

The last photo is to illustrate the glowing tubes (the fifth one is to the left of the second tube, behind the second block), and the extra light from inside the case is the backlight in the corner of the radio’s face.

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