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 Post subject: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 5:33 am 
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Hi all. I just began collecting stereo consoles, starting with units I believe from the mid or late 1960s. One is a GE RC 4531 A, and the other is a Sears Silvertone Contemporary 3045. The Silvertone has an amazing sound! The GE is just humming, for now.

So, does anyone have a good resource to recommend for identifying when exactly these were manufactured? That information doesn't seem to be provided with the schematics.

I am in love with my new hobby already! And I'm picking up another console tomorrow; not sure the manufacturer or model yet, but that's part of the fun!

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 4:30 pm 
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Location: Blue Lake, ME
Couple ways to date your sets:
1: Search for your radio on RadioMuseum website. Thousands of older tube models listed including many later consoles. You may find its date of manufacture there.
2: If you come up empty on RadioMuseum, search for the associated Sams Photofacts, then use a cross-reference to date the Sams Photofact set number.

For instance, your GE is found on the Sams website in Photofact set#731:

https://www.samswebsite.com/en/photofact/search?s=Search&t=model&o=0&k=rc4531&submit=Search

Looking up set #731 in the following cross reference indicates that Sams was published in late 1964. Keep in mind, the Sams Photofact might lag six months or a year behind the radio's actual manufacture but it will get you in the ballpark

I've had this cross reference for a while and won't vouch for it's accuracy, but it works for me. There are also Riders and Beitmans books that can help you date old radios. After you've searched up a few old radios using the websites and books available, it will become old hat, and you may find a simpler method than the one I've outlined. Other forum members will likely add their methods as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
It is suprising to see people collecting these sets. Just 5 years ago one could hardly give one away. Many ended in landfills. At 54 years of age I have no desire to own one. To each his own!

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 8:55 pm 
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Oldmaine thanks so much!! You provided some amazing sources, which I really appreciate. After about a 30 minute search, I wasn't finding anything on the GE. You clearly have great expertise on dating sets.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 9:01 pm 
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Location: Winter Park, Florida
I believe the Sears is a 1967 model, one model below their top of the line.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2017 11:57 pm 
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Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
In post-war equipment, simply look at the EIA production source code number on major parts; the next three or four numbers are the date code, for when the part was manufactured. Prior to the late 1950s, the date code was a three digit number, with the first digit indicating the year, and the next two indicating the week of production. Eventually, they started adding another digit to the date code, to differentiate one decade from another.

Some examples:

648 - 48th week of 1946 (or 1956), it's usually easy to tell which.

6230 - 30th week of 1962.

With this information, it is fairly easy to tell when a given piece of equipment was made. The actual sales date can be several months later, if not longer.

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 4:46 am 
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Thanks Tim. This is good information and a better explanation than what I saw on YouTube.

Orthophonic, this information confirms what I saw in some of my other research: that in the year or two after the 3045 model was made, Sears began making sets of considerably lower quality. Which explains why the sound of this set is awesome! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 9:06 pm 
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My 1980 Sams index lists Sears model 3045 with chassis 528-64420 as being covered in Sams 1153-6... That folder was issued early in '71, if that's correct it's no doubt solid state...


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Location: alameda,CA
Quote:
It is suprising to see people collecting these sets. Just 5 years ago one could hardly give one away. Many ended in landfills. At 54 years of age I have no desire to own one. To each his own!


Some of you guys keep on saying that, but honestly, these kinds of sets are actually in many ways more desirable and valuable than even some of the nice 30's and 40's consoles. I sell a lot of stuff for my club and if we take one of these 60's consoles to a show, the things sell almost immediately and depending on how nice it is, between $150-$500 each.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
bobwilson1977 wrote:
Quote:
It is suprising to see people collecting these sets. Just 5 years ago one could hardly give one away. Many ended in landfills. At 54 years of age I have no desire to own one. To each his own!


Some of you guys keep on saying that, but honestly, these kinds of sets are actually in many ways more desirable and valuable than even some of the nice 30's and 40's consoles. I sell a lot of stuff for my club and if we take one of these 60's consoles to a show, the things sell almost immediately and depending on how nice it is, between $150-$500 each.


WOW!!! I guess there is a market for them! Glad to hear that!

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Nov Thu 22, 2007 10:25 pm
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Location: Moline Illinois
Once you see and hear a circa 1960 Maggie Concert Grande with its 16, yes 16
6V6 output tubes you will also want one of these aircraft carrier consoles.

Mine stands proud and loud surrounded by 1930's and 1940's consoles.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Fri 13, 2017 1:17 am 
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Those are both really nice looking consoles there Jim!

Watch out because these things seemingly start to multiply on there own end take up a LOT of space!

Come on over and join the rest of us console nuts at Vintage HiFi

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Fri 13, 2017 2:21 am 
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Joined: Dec Sat 24, 2011 9:17 pm
Posts: 1025
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Yes, congrats on finding 2 that are complete and in good shape.

1964 GE with a hum - that one is likely a tube set, altho the transition to transistors was happening then. Late 60's models are most likely to be transistor units.
The electrolytic capacitors in the power supply need to be replaced. In many cases this will cure the hum problem. The good things about a hum is - there is power coming from the power transformer, and there is audio coming from at least one of the speakers. To avoid burning up expensive components - do not plug it in until those caps are replaced.

To distinguish those units from the early console radios, you might want to call them stereo consoles.

The turntables will need to be lubed. Lots of resources are out there. Enjoy.

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Fri 13, 2017 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3883
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
Hi JiminPA and welcome to the forum!

In addition to resources available here in the ARF, you might also want to check out and consider joining http://vintagehifi.net/ (free membership!) which is an excellent forum dedicated to post-WWII hi-fi consoles such as yours.

Yes, there has indeed been a revival of interest in recent years in consoles such as yours. I personally attribute this to two reasons: (1) a revival of interest in vinyl LP among young adults, and (2) the current interest in so-called "mid-century" furniture styling.

I must say, your GE and Silvertone have excellent styling, and are prime examples of this "mid-century" style which is in demand right now. And from your photos, they seem to be in very good cosmetic condition.

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 5:24 pm 
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Thank you all for all this great info! :lol:

I agree with those who assess the desire and interest in these consoles as related to a renewed interest in vinyl, as well as the mid-century Danish modern design (which I personally love) and which is trendy right now.

And yes, they do have a way of multiplying! Luckily I have a large basement. And I do some wood working, so I use products which do an amazing job of bringing luster back to the finish and coloring the marks and scratches created over time.

So I will be joining the Vintage HiFi group for sure. And while I willkeep a few of these consoles, I want others to enjoy some others that I "rescued" from being junked. Unfortunately not all are as attractive as those I posted photos to (I have two now that are darker, from the early 70s, but nevertheless laminate over solid wood).

I'll keep the thread going as I proceed with repairs to the electronics (if I can manage it) and if I am able to sell these to anyone.

Just curious - does anyone know of any shows in the NY/Philadelphia area where I might find a vendor to buy them from me and sell to any interested parties?

A photo of my most recent acquisition is attached, a not so attractive Howard from the early 70s I believe (EIA 772).


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 11, 2017 4:45 am
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And regarding the GE, yes, it is a tube set. I haven't removed the chassis yet, but can see those old tube with a flashlight in there!

And yes, the Sears is a solid state according to the metal label near the (non functioning) turntable. I love listening to radio through the Sears; even better when I can find jazz or music from the 40s/50s; it's like going into a time warp!

And another thought on the value of these older units: So I have a desktop PC at work, a notebook for home, a tablet and an iPhone. I mostly listen to internet radio, sometimes from other countries. So I personally am drawn to these older units in part because it puts me in touch with our technological roots, with respect to communication anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3883
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
JiminPA,
The styling of the Howard is certainly representative of its era; actually it is a little less extreme than some of the massive "Mediterranean-style" consoles and furniture of that time. I came of age in the 1970's. Looking back, it seems that almost all tastes and styling were bad, but at the time we thought it was good (or at least our parents did). This includes furniture styling and interior decoration (shag carpets!), appliance and plumbing fixture colors (remember Harvest Gold, Avocado, etc.?), hair and clothing styles, auto design, the list goes on and on. Many tastes and styles from the past eventually become popular again with future generations; "Eastlake", "art deco", "art moderne", and "mid-century Danish modern" being some good examples. But I don't think the styling trends of the 1970's will ever become popular again, at least I hope not!

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 10:06 pm 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
I like the looks of that Howard! It's not too dissimilar from our dresser and night stands, bought in the late '70's.
When I furnished my apartment in 1969 it was with Danish Modern in the living room.
When we bought a new house in 1973, it had (garish) red shag carpeting throughout, and Harvest Gold colored kitchen appliances. The "cats meow" at the time, eh eh!

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3883
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
fifties wrote:
I like the looks of that Howard! It's not too dissimilar from our dresser and night stands, bought in the late '70's.
When I furnished my apartment in 1969 it was with Danish Modern in the living room.
When we bought a new house in 1973, it had (garish) red shag carpeting throughout, and Harvest Gold colored kitchen appliances. The "cats meow" at the time, eh eh!

Hi fifties,
Yes, that style would have been very typical of 1970's dresser and night stands. And the garish shag carpeting, the Harvest Gold appliances, etc., all bring back memories for me too.

You mention that when you furnished your apartment in 1969 it was with Danish Modern in the living room. Of course I don't know, but I would bet that when you bought this in 1969 it was "on the cheap" and you paid very little for it. But if you were to locate and buy the same pieces today, you would probably pay a very high price for it! Vintage pieces of "Danish Modern" furniture are very hot in the marketplace right now, or at least they are in my area of the country. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Just started collecting consoles
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2017 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Dec Sat 24, 2011 9:17 pm
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
You can patch your internet radio from whatever digital source to the stereo. You need a patch cord to the Aux input jacks (RCA plugs)
or if no Aux input, you could put a switching stereo jack on the phono input.

Best to use audio transformers and 1K resistors for impedance matching, but just the resistors works too.
Transformers will isolate your expensive device from the high voltages in a tube stereo.
Blue tooth is the ultimate, because there is no physical connection.

If Bluetooth, you combine the stereo input to a mono, that plugs into the BT transmitter unit. I think, because I have not done this myself yet. I use my little homebrew transfomered patch cords.

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