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Which version of the Jet?
Poll ended at Feb Sat 09, 2019 10:27 pm
AM-only with chassis 58A (model 375, 5803, or other)  36%  [ 4 ]
AM/FM with chassis 511A (model 5110 or other)  64%  [ 7 ]
Total votes : 11
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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Sold mine which was in perfect condition, buyer paid $225.00 which is a fair price. I also thought it was sorta ugly configuration.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 11:11 pm 
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I agree the prices of vintage radios is now very high especially if unrestored. But that alway seems to come with time. As once somewhat common items become less common it is sort of like the statement, "The junk of today become the antiques of tomorrow". This radio is very popular with people having a post-modern 1950's home where its' design would fit in well. Maybe because there are no other radios out there with an even similar design makes it desirable?

This particular radio made by the Setchell Carlson Radio Corporation probably did not have a long production run even when it was designed in 1949. The Setchell Carlson Model 58A and it similar AM/FM model indeed was "one of a kind.", especially its' cabinet design. As a result fewer of those radios exist today. Aside from that fact, this particular radio was designed in such an uncommon manner it has developed quite a following now having the nickname "The Jet". Such is often the case with unusually designed items. The electronics in this radio were well made and it produced a large sound in ways comparable to Console radios. It also has an RCA Jack for hook-up to a turntable or other device. It is a great performer which also helps its' desireability. There are many sites of now highly collectible radios on the Internet and such radios are oftentimes referred to as "iconic". This radio is always on those lists of the most highly collectible radios, primarily because of its' unusual modern cabinet design especially for a 1949 radio. The same is true with many other radios. Their uniqueness makes them more desirable and thus their value increases.

I have watched this Setchell Carlson radio's value climb over the past 15 or so years. One in fair unrestored condition just sold on Ebay last week (November 2017) for $1200.00 on an Ebay Buy-it-Now. You rarely see them for sale today any price and when you do they sell quickly at very high prices. Others that have been restored have within the past several years sold for close to $2000.00. How high that will go is only a guess. But just look at the Sparton mirrored radios or the simple transistor Packard Bell nicknamed "Gilligan's Island" radios and the price they go for today. Even the cheaply made General Electric's "Leave it to Beaver" radio goes for far more than it is worth simply because it was used on the television show. Then there is the nicknamed "Walton's Radio" by Zenith which although a very desirable radio, today sells for much more than it would be worth had it not been used on the television show.

There are many posts today of people who passed up on this radio because they thought it was ugly or their wife didn't like it. Many of those posts now have those same people asking is there anyone out there who wants to sell one. What is desirable for a person one day can oftentimes become very desirable to them the next day, especially if it's value and collectibility has increased. And such is definitely the case with this radio by Setchell Carlson.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 11:38 pm 
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This is an interesting video on Bart Setchell who was given a special award for his work in the field of Broadcasting from the Minnesota Hall of Fame. There is one brief black and white photograph (at 4:50 minutes on the video) of what I assume to be the Setchell Carlson Model 58A nicknamed now "The Jet".

As Setchell Carlson Inc. had 2 wood fabrication plants associated with Setchell Carlson, Inc. known as Wright-Zimmerman employing over 500 employees at 2 plants in New Brighton, Minnesota, I can only assume "The Jet" radio was designed by Wright Zimmerman working in conjunction with the Setchell Carlson Inc. cabinetry fabrication departments.

https://vimeo.com/80422595

Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Bart Setchell
Inducted 2003
Inventor, manufacturer, and electronics genius Bart Setchell designed and built the first practical car radio and the first television set to use modular or unitized construction.

In 1928, he put radio on the road by inventing the radio vibrator, which made bulky “B” and “C” batteries unnecessary, and founded Karadio Corporation to produce and market the first commercial automobile radios. In 1930, he formed Setchell-Carlson, Inc., in Saint Paul with Karadio colleague Don Carlson. Setchell-Carlson built radios and audio amplifiers, as well as the world’s first radio intercom, and was an important source of radio and electronics equipment for the Armed Forces during World War II. When the company began producing television sets in 1949, it pioneered “Unit-ized” television construction, a design based on small units or modules that greatly simplified both manufacturing and servicing and became an industry standard by the 1970s. Setchell was also a leader in developing closed circuit television for school systems. He started a new company, Transifier, when he retired to Florida in 1966. Holder of over 100 patents, he died in 1995.


Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Feb Sat 16, 2019 4:32 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 07, 2017 6:26 am 
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Location: Skwim WA USA
So, ten years or so ago, I saw one of these at a garage sale in Colville, Washington. The asking price, I think, was about $30. I hesitated because I wasn't all that interested in FM radios, but it looked really kind of cool and unique and after thinking about it for a moment I decided it was worth the $30. I began to reach for it, but about a half second before I could pick it up, someone across the table from me grabbed it. I was maybe a second too late. Moral: Grab it while you have the chance.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 07, 2017 7:34 am 
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I think most people reading these comments have had similar experiences. Once I was at an Estate Sale looking at a painting on the wall, fully intending to buy it. Someone pushed me aside, grabbed the painting and bought it when I was the one standing in front of it. Many various situations of this nature exist. I remember thinking if they want it that bad, just let them have it. But when I pass up something and then go back to buy it a day later and it is gone, then it is definitely my fault.

Regarding this Setchell Carlson "The Jet" radio, there are many comments from people who initially upon seeing "The Jet" pass it up only to regret it later. Those situation generally happened years ago, prior to its' current popularity. I don't think that is happening very often these days as "The Jet" has become well known and is now highly appreciated. Some of the sites actually refer to it as the most "Iconic" radio ever designed. That may be carrying it too far, but it definitely falls into the "iconic" radios from the Golden Age of vacuum tube radios and is generally listed on such sites today.

"The Jet" is much more impressive and larger in person than in photographs. I won one on an Auction site and was really surprised how much larger it is that it appears in any photograph I had seen of this radio. It is a great performer with an 8 or maybe it is a 10 inch speaker located in the large rounded section of the cabinet. I'll have to check on the exact speaker size. It is also a fragile radio in that the veneer is well made but very thin and could be damaged easily especially with all its' turns and curves.

Many of the radios now designated as "iconic", were designed by noted Industrial designers of the time including Robert Davol Budlong (Head of the Zenith Design Dept.) Ingraham, Walter Dorwin Teague, the Eames Brothers and many, many others and that alone makes them collectible and oftentimes museum pieces. The Sparton Radio Corporation's mirrored radios were designed by Walter Dorwin Teague and probably have the highest price tags. I can only assume this radio was designed by the Setchell Carlson wood making and cabinetry division, as the Company built its' own cabinets (primarily for their televisions beginning in 1949, the year this radio came out) and from what I have read also made its' own speakers. Who that designer was is for now a mystery? Maybe one day someone having worked for Setchell Carlson will come forth with the information as to who or possibly a group of people came up with this design.

Either way, this radio's place in the history and design of radios made in the United States will only continue to grow and fascinate people interested in such. It is now rare to even see one for sale any longer and when one is for sale, it generally goes quickly at a very high price. Many of these "iconic" radios are now in Museums because of their designer, and maybe this one will make it there simply on its' design merits alone. Time will tell, but it looks good for this now highly sought out radio, both the AM only and the AM/FM Models which had different wood stains but the cabinet design was the same.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 09, 2017 8:03 am 
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The Setchell Carlson radio "The Jet" arrived today. :D If anything it was over packed, which is good if they don't damage the speaker from pressing too much into the backside. Luckily such was not the case and all is well. The Serial No. is 58A 222 Maybe that will help with the numbering mystery.

I think the rest of the information is listed on my prior comment with the photographs. If not , let me know. After looking at the knobs, I do now feel they are definitely replacements. The color is looks good with the stain of the radio, but they when viewed in person, don't fit as snugly as would be the case with the originals and that was another give away. I feel certain all the "Jets" originally had either black, white or a combination of white and black knobs somewhat similar to knobs Emerson used on so many of their radios.

The radio appears better in person than the photographs show. It may have been refinished. If not, it certain is not in need of any refinishing work. I will need to replace the plastic dial face, knobs and also have one of the wooden feet restored back to the radio as one is missing. The inner station numbering scale may possibly just need a good cleaning, but the exterior plastic face is cracked, but oddly no bends which is more often the case.

I got this radio on the Goodwill Auction site. I check that one regularly and they will surprise you as to what treasures may come up. Often radios that stopped working years ago, then sat in someone's closet for years until the house was cleaned out. They all need electronic upgrades and are dusty, but the condition is in many cases close to "like new". There are two places to look on their Internet page. Go to Computers and Electronics, then select Vintage Electronics, but don't stop there. You can also enter Personal electronics and under that category is listed Radios. They list all of their radios under these two categories so don't just look at one, look at both. You may be surprised with some of the unique radios in very good condition that can turn up on this site, and generally always much less than what the prices end up being on Ebay. I am sure this news will get out, but for now it is a fairly well kept secret. They have had 2 Setchell-Carlson radios within the last year, and also an early 1930's Colonial "The Globe" radio, which appeared in very good condition. I have never before seen that one for sale. I can't remember what it sold for, but think it went for about 4 or 5 Hundred dollars. The "Jets" seem to go from between 4 and 8 hundred dollars, and their shipping for the most part is very cheap, and generally through FedEx. Much cheaper on the shipping than is the case with Ebay.


Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Dec Sun 23, 2018 1:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 09, 2017 8:19 am 
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In an earlier post with statistical information on the Setchell Carlson "The Jet:, the following comment is made....Mark Stein's famous "Model 58A-375"

I did not know to whom you were making this reference? I am familiar with a Mark Steyn (different last name spelling) from his news media commentaries on television and radio, and wondered if this Mark Steyn was indeed the person you were making reference about.

As Mark Steyn is a radio commentator, I went to his site to see if maybe he had one of these radios on display, but could find nothing.

Let me know.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Jan Fri 26, 2018 1:46 pm 
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Somehow I missed your post a few months ago, sorry, or I would have answered. Mark V. Stein wrote a series of radio collectors guide books in the '90s and early 2000s. If you search his name on Amazon.com you'll find most of the books.

There were 3 books titled "Machine Age to Jet Age," Vols I, II, and III, one book on Pre-war Consoles, and a book focusing on Cathedrals and Tombstones. Mark must have had a massive collection, because he actually had photos of most models, and this was in the days before RadioMuseum.

His books are surprisingly comprehensive, but also a bit notorious for having quite a few mistakes as regards model numbers. (Seems to come with the territory; radioattic.com and radiomuseum.org both have the same problem... although quite a few of their misnomers can be traced back to Mark's books!)

Mark posted just one post here on ARF. It was back in 2007, regarding his motivations for selling his collection, which was on the block at Estes Auctions at the time. He explained he was selling to help fund his daughter's college tuition.

-Rodney

P..S. Back to the subject at hand... Does anyone else own a Setchell Carlson Jet? Tell us some details about it, please!


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Jan Sat 27, 2018 5:48 am 
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I have been lucky enough to have found two of the Models 58A which is the AM only with an RCA Jack for additional attachments, primarily at the time used for phono turntables. :D In fact they all have an RCA Jack with an electric plug on the backside of the chassis. The Radio was made by the Setchell Carlson, at the time located in both St. Paul and New Brighton, Minnesota. I think most of the "Jets" were made at the New Brighton, Minnesota plant. There is a great video on the history of the Company honoring Bart Setchell on Vimeo. There may be a LINK to this video in one of the earlier posts that still may work. Otherwise, I think you can just enter Vimeo Bart Setchell and watch a most interesting video on this not so well known company.

Setchell Carlson made radios from the late 30's well into the 1950's also manufacturing their own line of unique televisions (unitized components for easy repair which was not the case with the "Jets". The Company had its' own carpentry shop, so the unique design of the Setchell Carlson radio nicknamed "The Jet" was probably designed by one of the design employees working with Setchell Carlson in their carpentry division. They had earlier made a popular radio model nicknamed "The Frog" which is also quite popular but nothing like "The Jet" was made before or since it initially came out in 1949 in both AM and AM & FM Models. It was made of Bakelite and Plaskon cabinets. The wood colors used on "The Jets" also varied from a blond to brown and a reddish brown mahogany. There is a very good historical write-up on this section in an earlier write-up. The information by the commentator is most informative.

This radio is large but very light weight for its' size. That also make it quite fragile, as it can be easily dented. Until recent years, many felt this radio was an "ugly duckling" :shock: , but that idea has since changed as you will now find this radio listed as one of the most "iconic" radios ever made. As large as this radio is and as open as is the back side, the radio doesn't have the best design in getting to the tubes. To even change the Dial Lamp (one is used in this radio) out, the speaker has to be removed and then the entire chassis, unless you can possibly remove tubes, unless you have small hands and can work them around and hopefully change a tube. Otherwise the large speaker (which is think is 10 Inches) has to be removed and then the chassis. It is not hard, but a lot to go through just to change out a Dial Lamp or a tube which is towards the front side of the radio.

The sound and tonal quality is exceptional as is the reception, although it does work better with an additional antenna. The large area (which many refer to as similar to a Jet engine) which contains the speaker helps to create a great acoustical area for the sound quality of this radio. Plus it has three selections for either deep, medium and high tone selections. The radios are rarely seen on Ebay, but they do occasionally show up at rather high prices, even if in bad condition. Of course there are other sites such as Craigslist and so forth, as well as Estate and Garage Sales where they may be found. The plastic front of this radio was made of a plastic which tends to bend and warp badly over the years for a variety of reasons relating generally to poor storage conditions. Luckily, all of these parts are obtainable from Radio Daze, aside from the original grill cloth. The original grill cloth seems to be a type of plastic threading, so unless it is torn can be easily cleaned or if necessary changed out.

Aside from this short write-up, all I can say is if you find one of these radios (hopefully at a reasonable price), do purchase it as you won't be making a bad investment, and will find this radio a definite "keeper" as it is a very good performer aside from being one of the most uniquely designed radios during the Golden Age of Vacuum tube radios. There are some "Jets" which have been beautifully restored both cosmetically and electronically which have sold for close to $2000.00 and that price will only go up with time and the fact that most people simply don't want to sell one of these radios if they own one.

This is an interesting Post and hopefully more people who own one of these radios will learn of this site and enter the requested information, as such will give a better picture regarding production numbers, grill cloth, knob colors wood stains, whether AM or AM & FM and any other specifics. The shape seems to always be the same style one normally sees with no variations in the cabinet shape. From what I have read most of these radios were made in 1949, but Setchell Carlson may have made them into the first few years of the 1950's.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: May Mon 21, 2018 1:23 am 
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There is a "Jet" Setchell Carlson Model 58A Radio on an Ebay Auction as of (5-20-2018)...No Make Offer, just the full Auction cycle for this one. I think the listing went up on May 18,2018. According to the seller who seems to know little about the radio, the number on the label lists Model 58A, 2005. So another "Jet" information has been secured.

There is no picture of that label, but there are many others of the radio itself. The seller states that the Dial face is a replacement, which could only mean the original one was warped or damaged and a new one was secured from Radio Daze, which to my knowledge is the only Company I know of that duplicates the Face Dial (Radio Daze does an excellent reproduction job of the Face Dial for this radio) and the inner station number dial. The seller gives no detailed information as to the history of the radio.

There appears to be a minimal amount of veneer damage, but seemingly attempts have been made in repairing damaged sections. The radio appears refinished with a high gloss finish. Not bad, but in my humble opinion should have been toned down a bit. The grill cloth appears original, and possibly such is also the case with the radio knobs. I think it has about 5 days left to go as of today (5-20-2018), so it will be indeed interesting to see what this eventually sells for as to my knowledge it is one of the few Setchell Carlson "The Jet" radios available for sale in the past several years on any site. They do not come up very often.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: May Mon 21, 2018 3:37 am 
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Funny. I also contacted the seller and got the serial number. I just hadn't gotten around to digging up this thread yet and adding the info here. So thank you. Yes, 58A-2005 is the same number I received.

That is an interesting number, as it falls in what was previously a gap in the data. The total known serial numbers from 20 identified examples are:
AM-only: 258, 333, 440, 599, and 2005, all stamped on the metal tag.
AM-FM: 119, 556, 641, 747, 865, and 1054, stamped on the metal tag, and 2367, 2382, 23xx, and 3035 stamped on a paper tag.

It's a mahogany color with same color feet and black knobs, but the knobs are not original and I agree that it looks refinished. The grill cloth is the gold color and it does look original to me, as well. The IF cans have the clips on them. I think those are all the details I was assembling. :P

-Rodney


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: May Wed 23, 2018 3:14 am 
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Here is a close-up label from the "Jet" (May 22,2018) that is currently on sale from Ebay now clearly showing the identification numbers. The seller sent me a close up of the actual label. The Chassis is a bit rusty but should clean up well. The number does show 58A 2005.


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Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on May Wed 23, 2018 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: May Wed 23, 2018 5:37 am 
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Apparently I don't read the forum as often as I should since I just found this topic tonight. I live just a few miles from New Brighton, MN where Setchell Carlson was located and can report that the Jet model is probably as rare here as elsewhere in the country. Years can go by without seeing one locally and I'm always on the prowl for radios. I also passed up a few over the years because I didn't like them well enough to pay the price, but I did buy this model 511A, serial number 1052, AM/FM set a few years ago from an old-timer who once had a radio business and sold Setchell Carlson radios back when they were new. I'm certain this is entirely original and found it interesting to compare it to serial number 1054 that mrlee posted here in February 2017. I can only assume that mrlee's radio must have been stored in a hot attic to warp his dial like that. Mine isn't here at my house, but I believe it has a plastic dial.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: May Wed 23, 2018 7:18 am 
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A most interesting post and from New Brighton :!: As your friend sold these radios in New Brighton when they were new, did he or you have any information as to the designer of the the now nicknamed "Jet" radios?

There is a very interesting post on VIMEO on Bart Setchell and the Setchell Carlson Company (BART SETCHELL on Vimeo) which tells the story of Setchell Carlson over the years. The video does indicate that the plant in New Brighton had its' own wood-making and carpentry shop for the at the time television cabinets (and possibly radios) built by Setchell Carlson. I have always assumed that the "Jet" was a creation of this design department. Can you supply any information on the possible designer of this unique radio. None of the other radios made by Setchell Carlson even closely resemble the "Jet". It truly stands alone in the field of radio design which is probably why it is considered "iconic" in the many articles written about it today.

Any insight you may provide regarding the Setchell Carlson plants, especially the one in New Brighton would be appreciated and add to the relatively little knowledge available on the Company or how the design of this radio came about.

The radio you provide here has the white knobs, which seemed to be less common than the black knobs. Those knobs are hard to find today. Simple and possibly generic, but yet still hard to find. I am looking for these knobs in black and if you have any knowledge of where they may be obtained, that information would also be appreciated.

The grill cloth seemed to have come in two patterns for "The Jet". One with seemingly a plastic threading and the one you pictured which appears to be a wheat colored cloth material. Am I right on that one?

As you can see this blog is gathering information on the "Jet" radios still out there and the information and photograph you have provided is a definite help. Pass the word on as I know there are many owner's of a "Jet" out there not aware of this posting.

I wonder what Bart Setchell would have thought about the nickname of his radio as "The Jet". Bart Setchell may have been the designer by himself or with his partners in the Company at the time? He obviously gave it no name aside from its' model numbers and I don't think it had been nicknamed "The Jet" at the time of his death in Florida in 1995.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 12, 2018 9:40 pm 
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As you may have noticed, there were 2 "Jets" (both Am only) on Ebay. One Buy-it-Now (which sold almost immediately for over a thousand dollars) and one still on Auction with only 3 bids as of today 9-12-2018.

I wrote the seller with the blond receiver still on Ebay and he wrote me back stating the full number on the back is listed as 58A-266. The Ebay listing stated 58A-375, but in his email he game me the number as 266, so I assume the later one is correct as opposed to what is on the Ebay listing.

I received no reply from the seller on the dark "Jet" with white knobs, but did notice he added the number 5803 to the listing, so I assume it to mean 58A-5803

Hope these numbers can help with the total tabulation.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 13, 2018 2:10 am 
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I think the one that sold had the wrong face plate, showed FM on it.
Also something was amiss with the speaker.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 13, 2018 3:12 am 
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ZenithStratosphere wrote:
[b]I received no reply from the seller on the dark "Jet" with white knobs, but did notice he added the number 5803 to the listing, so I assume it to mean 58A-5803.

Thanks for tracking down what you could!

Actually, 5803 is the model number of the radio. 58A is the model number of the chassis. But I looked at the auction listing, and the serial number is visible in one of the photos: 58A-589. So that's interesting, as it's still in the 3-digit number group less than 1000.

Similarly for the AM/FM model, 5110 is the model number of the radio, and 511A is the model number of the chassis.

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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Dec Sun 02, 2018 11:15 pm 
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On eBay right now, there is this 5110 Jet:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Setchell-Carls ... 2976749710

This is an AM/FM Jet, serial number 587, with original mahogany finish, black knobs, plastic dial, matching-color feet, and the clip-style IF transformers.

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Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with a chainsaw.


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 03, 2018 12:29 am 
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I was watching a very well done video on the Sparton 'Nocturne" blue-mirrored radio and they made the comment that it was one of the most sought after radios in the World. Would the Setchell Carlson be in such a list? Does such list actually exist. I know lists cannot really list the exact 10 most commonly sought out radio in the World, but wondered if anyone out there knows if there is such a list and if "The Jet" by Setchell Carlson falls into such a listing?


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 Post subject: Re: How Many Members own a Setchell Carlson Jet?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 03, 2018 1:08 am 
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