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The ambiance of old radios – Cracked Ice and Chrome

The ambiance of old radios


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One of the aides who works in my room at school gave me a great gift the other day: an old bakelite Airline radio, sold by Montgomery Ward. He presented it rather nonchalantly in a Wal-mart bag, but when I saw what was inside, my heart lurched. I have searched for a few years for a functional radio to give that special little detail to my 1950’s style kitchen, but a multitude of factors usually prevented my buying one. For the functional radios, price usually scared me away. Still, though, I wanted that special look, and this little radio has it all.

It’s not perfect, but it’s so awesomely art deco.  My coworker said that it had sat in some guy’s garage for years, hence the dust and the paint specks.  Doesn’t that sound just like a great-find story?  “It sat in some guy’s garage for years, collecting dust . . .”

It does work, although after about 15 minutes the volume begins to fade until the sound is hardly noticeable.  After a quick search online, I found that the problem is caused by the “electrolytic condenser.”

Uh, yeah . . . let me go find one of those right now and fix it.

Or not.

Whatever.  The radio’s cool, and when I looked up the model number, I was happy to find that the radio was from 1939.  I have a little piece of bakelite history sitting in my kitchen, offering static-filled ambiance to my retro room.  Maybe it’s just me, but old songs sound a little bit better when they are heard on an equally old radio.

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