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March 12, 2009



At least clean the tube pins & sockets with Deoxit. At a minimum, electrolytic caps should be changed also. And watch out-one side of the chassis is connected directly to AC-so you have a hot chassis-meaning if you touch ground (outlet cover, etc.) and the metal radio chassis, you might be gettin' patted in the face with a shovel! Take VERY great care when working on old sets.

Best resource on Earth: http://antiqueradios.com/forums/


In my fancy-dancy hi-fi systems of the last 30 years, my pre-amp has always been tube-based. My amps were too, until a few years ago when it became too hard to get tubes for them. Just something about the sound. Tubes are inherently "analog," like music, while transistors are inherently "switches," best at turning on and off. Digital.


One of my favorite radios is my Philco tube radio. It is one of the lower-end models, a 46-200, but it has a wonderful, rich sound. The electrolytic capacitors were replaced first thing, though I'll probably replace the other paper capacitors in the near future. My set is AM only, but I play all kinds of music through the thing using my AM transmitter.


Ahh, nothing like the smell of fossilized dust warming up on old tubes.


My tube radio doesn't smell. Neither does my homebrew tube AM transmitter.

I've heard that many tube radios do smell, so I'm sure it isn't a problem.


It had the smell the first time I used it. Haven't noticed it the last couple times.

Brian (Scooby214)

Glad to hear about that the smell is improving.

(Listening to my tube Philco as I type.)

Richard McLeod

I also have one exactly like this one and agree with your assessment as to its' sound and tonal quality. "At Zenith The Quality Goes In Before The Name Goes On,"

I did think about changing out the grill cloth initially, but as it looks very similar to yours, the fabric looks fine, and is the original. Initially I thought most all grill cloths needed to be changed out, but have changed my thinking on that issue if the cloth is in good enough condition with no tears or rotting. Fading does not bother me as much as it did in the beginning of my collecting.

If the smell you mention was the Selenium Rectifier, it would be more on the rotten egg side of smells, but I think there is a certain smell with just about any of these Radios.

I assume you have changed the Selenium Rectifier out already. Most smells are only minimally noticeable and if they are stronger, it is the nostalgic smell of what I remember from many years ago. Just the tubes, dust and the heating up of the cabinet.

For some unexplained reason people today seem to be more affected by smells than was the case years back. Remember when "Jade East", "Canoe", "Russian Leather" and "English Leather" were the rage? I guess smells today are just not "Politically Correct!" Everybody is allergic to them these days and whether we like them or not, smells are just a part of life for both the good and the bad.

Like a new car years ago, cars of today just don't seem to have that new car smell, or certainly not from what I remember.

Richard McLeod

Regarding the handle, the one you have photographed, looks to be in very good shape. I have a friend who can restore these to "supposedly" the necessary strength to pick up the Radio safely. I personally have never trusted them.

Some of the similar models of the H-724 do not have them, but I think most do. Why Zenith chose this type of handle design would be interesting to know, but these handles are what we have today.

So, I treat my Radio as if it does not have the handle, preferring to just pick it up from the bottom for safety reasons. When the handles are bad and missing segments, they look pretty rough, and a detriment to the overall style of the Radio.

Robert Davol Budlong was Head of Design at Zenith from around 1936 until his untimely death in 1954, so this design is probably one of his, as the variety of these early 1950 Models were designed in his last years at the then called, Zenith Radio Corporation.

Commander MacDonald died 3 years later in 1957. The Zenith Corporation's two most influential Heads, especially Commander MacDonald, were both gone by 1957.

I would like to read something relating to the specific designs Budlong was responsible for during his tenure at Zenith (and possibly others after his death), but thus far have not found any articles specifically indicating exactly who designed what Cabinet and Face Dials, as he did have many designers working under him. I have read that Commander MacDonald was extremely fond of the Chairside Console Models and had one in his elaborate office at the Zenith Headquarters.

Some of the 1940's cabinetry and Dial Faces bear the definite styles Budlong designed while Head of the Zenith Design Department and some of this is discussed in the Zenith books by Dr. Cones.


I see that this post is 11 years old but thought I'd comment anyway. I have recently received one of these radios and am looking to get rid of it. Any ideas where I should post it. It was my father's radio. Thank you so much!

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