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Collectible Tube Radios (1930-1949)

Before television, the most common way to be entertained in the home was through the radio. Many vintage and antique radio models made between 1930 and 1949 are highly collectible, including brands such as RCA, Philco, Westinghouse, and Zenith. These tube radio table models came in a range of sizes and variations.

How do you identify a collectible tube radio?

Before you start a tube radio collection, it is important to know how to spot a tube radio as opposed to any other type of antique radio. Some features of tube models that you should look for include:

  • Knowing which brands manufactured radios during this period. Westinghouse, RCA, Philco, Watterson Radio, and Zenith all manufactured this type of radio in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • The easiest way to identify a specific radio model to know if it is antique is the model number and serial number. These will be printed somewhere on the radio and can help you determined the year that it was manufactured.
  • The design of the wooden cabinet or other radio components can help you identify the radio that you have.
What are the most common brands of tube radios?

Tube radios were produced by many different brands. Between 1930 and 1949, there were thousands of different radios produced in the U.S. and worldwide. Some of the more recognizable brands include:

  • RCA
  • Westinghouse
  • Zenith
  • Watterson Radio
  • Philco
How should you clean a tube radio?

Any vintage or antique radio must be handled with special care. If a tube or other component breaks, it may not be easy to replace.

  • The outside wooden case of a vintage tube radio can be cleaned with a soft cloth and dust cleaner.
  • A small paint brush can help clean the insides of the radio, including the vintage tube and other important components.
  • Unless you are skilled at building antique radios, it is important to not remove any of the components during the cleaning process.
How should tube your radio collection be displayed?

Many vintage styles of tube radios have unique designs that you will want to display.

  • Although tube radios come in a variety of sizes, the smaller table top types are easy to display on a side table or inside a display case.
  • Standing models with wooden cases are easy to display and can be a focal point of the room.
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