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 Post subject: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED????
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 10:41 am 
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Veteran expert/enthusiast Steve Johnson suggested to me earlier today that I post an entry on this forum regarding a remarkable Craigslist radio find I made about a week ago. The find appears to be historically significant. According to its chassis plates it was manufactured in 1932 by "General Television & Radio Corp. New York, N. Y.," (see photos below) which would therefore make it the earliest known surviving example of a radio by this company. Recall that General Television & Radio Corp. is the maker of the fabulous iconic marbleized bakelite 591 radio as well as the classic 1937 Art Deco AHE (see sample photos below). Due to time constraints I have only conducted a very limited amount research on this "Series T," but described below is what I know so far. I am hoping experts and specialists can chime in to help clarify matters.

According to RadioMuseum the earliest models from this company date to 1932 (the "Midget," and another un-named 11-tube model), but the record so far indicates that no physical examples of these are known to survive. Information on these appear to only come from the "Radio Collector's Guide 1921-1932." For the "Midget I could only find a period ad showing it, and for the un-named model there is no photo.

Next are the 7, 7C and 9 models dating to 1934, but there are no photos I could find for any of these and again the information appears to only come from the "Radio Collector's Guide 1921-1932."

Then there are the single letter models A, B, C, E, G, K, and M which RadioMuseum has uncertainly dated to "1935?" (RadioMuseum has a question mark after the date). Another reference has them putatively dated at 1934. For the singleā€letter models A, B, C, E, G, K and M there seems to be no known surviving examples. All I could find is a period ad for the model "K."If one assumes these were produced in alphabetical sequence, then that would peg these single letter models at 1932 or earlier, not 1935 or 1934, given that the "Series T" that I found is definitively date stamped at 1932 (see photo).

The "Series T" radio that I found is unfortunately missing the un-shielded tubes (the shielded ones are luckily still there). The wife, of the husband and wife couple who sold it to me, apparently inherited it from her mother. Apparently her mother had the tubes safely packed away somewhere and were in working order. Although they appear to be now lost, the seller's husband held out a ray of hope and said he would continue to look. I'm keeping all proverbial fingers crossed, at this juncture, that they find them. If they cannot, then I will need to reverse engineer a schematic diagram of this radio and then make educated guesses at the tube assignments based on the circuit characteristics. I will likely need some expert assistance in doing this.

I am looking forward to anyone who can chime in with information regarding this radio and its place in the history of the company. Hopefully somewhere out there is another surviving example which could solve the mystery of the missing tube numbers. It's possible because the serial number of this "Series T" radio is "193" and therefore General Television & Radio Corp. likely made at least a couple hundred of them.

Warm regards,
Christopher Kavanau, Ph.D.

Attachment:
File comment: FRONT VIEW OF THE 1932 "SERIES T" BY GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO
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File comment: SIDE VIEW OF THE "SERIES T"
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File comment: CHASSIS PLATE OF THE "SERIES T"
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File comment: SECOND CHASSIS PLATE OF THE "SERIES T"
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File comment: REAR VIEW OF THE "SERIES T" AS FOUND
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[/attachment]
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File comment: ICONIC MODEL 591
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File comment: CLASSIC MODEL AHE
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Attachments:
File comment: CLOSE-UP OF "SERIES T" KNOB. NO FLASH WAS USED ON ANY OF THESE PHOTOS INCLUDING THIS ONE.
knob closeup.jpg
knob closeup.jpg [ 195.35 KiB | Viewed 6762 times ]
File comment: SECOND FRONT SHOT OF SERIES T
SECOND FRONT SHOT OF SERIES T.jpg
SECOND FRONT SHOT OF SERIES T.jpg [ 162.86 KiB | Viewed 6760 times ]


Last edited by DRKAVANAU on Dec Sun 22, 2019 5:02 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 12:18 pm 
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Hello and welcome to the Antique Radio Forums!

That radio is beautiful! I cannot say I have ever seen one in the 35+ years I have been collecting.
I have an affinity to these leggy consoles :D

I'm at work right now, but I will look to see if I can unearth anything in my resources.

Historical or not it is one gorgeous radio!

-Steve

EDIT: A good site for research would be http://www.americanradiohistory.com/

Look through Radio News, and Radio Craft. There is also Radio Retailing, but I'm finding nothing on General Television and radio in 1931 or 1932.

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 2:45 pm 
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I agree with Steve. I like the set. I too have always liked the leggy sets! It seems not many collectors do. It looks to be in great condition. I am not certain of all the reference to being histodically significant however. Nice set though!

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 3:06 pm 
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I forgot to mention that for these singleā€letter models A, B, C, E, G, K and M (referenced in Radiomuseum) there seems to be no known
surviving examples. All I could find is a period ad for the model "K."

Thank you so far for the feedback, kind words and information! I am very excited as to what else you and the forum might find out!

Cheers,
Christopher Kavanau


Last edited by DRKAVANAU on Apr Tue 11, 2017 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 3:11 pm 
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This is all quite confusing.

Did more than one company use the name General Television and Radio? Is it possible that a struggling New York company in the depression years found a way to merge with a Chicago company and move there?

This console clearly says New York. General Television which made the stylized wood set and the Catalin set pictured above is generally accepted as the successor to the Climax Radio company of Chicago, those sets all have a "CX" prefix to the serial number, which has always been thought to indicate Climax.

Are we sure this Chicago based General Television and Radio is the same company that was around in 1932 in New York? I'm not finding any documentation which could verify that it is, or that it isn't, and unfortunately Radiomuseum is not always a valid source as there has been some inaccurate information posted there over the years to the point where it would be impossible to correct it today.

Another very, very unusual note, in more than 60 years of radio collecting I have never before seen a set which had a nameplate on it stating the year of manufacture. It's not logical why they would have needed to do that. A selling tool to prove to the customer their radio was the latest model? Perhaps to keep unscrupulous salesmen from representing a set on the sales floor as being something it wasn't, such as trying to sell a previous year's set as a current model?

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 4:14 pm 
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In the off chance that this helps, here is a close-up of the front plate that I took just now using my iPhone.

Best,
Christopher Kavanau


Attachments:
File comment: FRONT PLATE TO THE "SERIES T"
Front Plate.jpg
Front Plate.jpg [ 209.55 KiB | Viewed 7453 times ]


Last edited by DRKAVANAU on Apr Sat 15, 2017 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 4:44 pm 
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Regardless of the sets history I truly do like the styling! The more I view the pictures the more I like the set. I have always been a leg man!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 4:44 pm 
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Maybe a "built under license" set? It wouldn't be the first time. I have a Columbia set that I have dated to 1931 (iirc) that is apparently not a Columbia built set at all. It's a DeForest built set (and I have seen the same set with the DeForest name and I have service info), but it carries the Columbia Name.

Is it possible that this one is similar to that? Built by someone else with permission to use the name?


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 5:03 pm 
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That's indeed possible! Steve Johnson had also mentioned this as a possibility when I spoke to him yesterday.

For the moment assuming this as a working hypothesis, this would likely entail that all the single letter models ("A" through "T" and perhaps beyond) were licensed out in this way. After all, the chassis plate of the "T" in question referrers to it as a "Series." To test this hypothesis we would need a chassis plate, or some additional form of documentation, from one or more of the other single letter models. Unfortunately I am not sure that any are presently known to exist. All that's confirmed is a surviving "T" (the one in question) and a period ad for the "K." Perhaps one of the printed collector's guides might have more information, but I don't have any copies other that what I can glean online.

One last note: The 1944 Sylvania Tube Complement Manual lists General Television & Radio Corp. as a receiver manufacturer in the State of NY (specifically NYC) in 1944. Hence, this entity was still in business and licensed in NY as late at 1944. Could it be that the same company, General Television & Radio Corp., was licensed and manufacturing radios in both Chicago and New York?

Christopher Kavanau


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 7:00 pm 
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
Another very, very unusual note, in more than 60 years of radio collecting I have never before seen a set which had a nameplate on it stating the year of manufacture. It's not logical why they would have needed to do that.


Well, they had their "5 Year Guarantee" emblazoned on the other data plate, maybe that year of manufacture statement was to pin down the valid period for the warranty.


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 7:04 pm 
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That's completely logical. I think you solved that part of the puzzle!


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 7:22 pm 
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The only company I know that used that escutcheon was Pierce Airo (1929), renamed DeWald mid-1930. They did build radios sold under other labels, such as "Little Giant" and "Silver Marshall." The commonly-seen example is the 522 (AC) / 632 (DC), which has shown up with multiple different labels.

All the radios I've seen with that escutcheon were 1929 - 1930 timeframe. So 1932... Maybe this "General" brand sourced some radios from DeWald and DeWald used some old-stock escutcheons on them?

Image

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 7:58 pm 
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Great eye! Impressive! I guess it wasn't such an "off chance" to help after all when I posted the photo. This is certainly a major piece of evidence that is now shining light on corporate connections between Pierce Airo/DeWald and General Television & Radio!

Interestingly DeWald Radio Mfg. Corp. is also listed as a New York receiver manufacturer -- so that puts Pierce Airo in close proximity to the New York General Television & Radio Corp. that made the "T" in question.

As you mentioned, Pierce Airo became DeWald in the mid 1930's. Apparently until 1936 Pierce Airo used the trade name DeWald. But then from 1937 onward DeWald became the manufacturers name.

Cheers,
Christopher Kavanau


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Escutcheons were typically sourced from outside vendors, so it is well within reason that the same style could have been used by more than one manufacturer, as well as on multiple brand names built by the same manufacturer.

Trying to sort out corporate history and connection between one company and another many decades later is never easy. Documentation is difficult to impossible to turn up. In this case, I would be very interested in seeing articles of incorporation for the companies, and names of the principals involved, particularly around the time that Climax became General Television and Radio in the late 30's.

It's entirely possible that there could have been two divisions of General Television and Radio, in two different cities.

The "General" name itself has always been intriguing as far as it's use back in the 30's. You had General Electric, and this brand called itself "The General" on the escutcheon, then there was another brand simply called "General" which not a lot is known about other than their sets were all subcontracted from the midwest independents like Detrola. There was also "General Television and Radio" which succeeded Climax, and General Motors also sold a model or two with the name "Little General".

Other than GM, which had the right to use the word General as part of their own corporate identity, one would reasonably conclude that each and every one of the other companies which built or sold radios having the word "General" as part of the brand name or manufacturer's name were simply trying to cash in on the reputation of General Electric which was well known to the public and probably created feelings of confidence in potential customers.

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 8:57 pm 
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As far as the use of the name "General" I have a Simplex made cathedral from about 1931/32 era with the name "General" and have seen other Simplex built radios with that name.

Whether or not it was a private label name, i don't know.

-Steve


Attachments:
general-simplex.jpg
general-simplex.jpg [ 68.22 KiB | Viewed 7291 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Tue 11, 2017 9:34 pm 
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palegreenthumb wrote:
The only company I know that used that escutcheon was Pierce Airo (1929), renamed DeWald mid-1930. They did build radios sold under other labels, such as "Little Giant" and "Silver Marshall." The commonly-seen example is the 522 (AC) / 632 (DC), which has shown up with multiple different labels.

All the radios I've seen with that escutcheon were 1929 - 1930 timeframe. So 1932... Maybe this "General" brand sourced some radios from DeWald and DeWald used some old-stock escutcheons on them?

Image



Notice also that the dial markings seem to be identical. Same Font, and same somewhat unusual markings, showing both frequency & "0 - 100" scale.


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Wed 12, 2017 12:58 am 
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Great observations and analysis! Multitudinous thanks! So it seems that in order to carve out a vigorous path forward it would be very insightful to get copies of the Articles of Incorporation for these companies and do a cross check. I will check to see if this information is archived in New York with public access.

I will also investigate to see if there any other remarkably close correspondences between the model "T" in question and the Pierce Airo, beyond the escutcheon and dial. One could also look at the electronics, hardware and lettering/style of the chassis plate, etc.

Thank you again for your valuable and insightful input!

Best,
Christopher Kavanau


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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Wed 12, 2017 9:25 am 
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SUMMARY (SIGNIFICANTLY UPDATED AND EDITED):

I believe I have the corporate aspect -- to some degree -- figured out! I managed to track down a copy of the March 1939 issue of Radio Today ("azenithnut" pointed me to the "americanradiohistory" website). With this issue came the 1939-1940 "Radio Year Book Including Radio Trade Directory" (see image below). Within this is the "Annual Radio Trade Directory" which says it's "Up-to-date, verified listings of manufacturers, products and trade names -- a complete buying guide" (see image below).

Assuming that Radio Today is correct when they say their Trade Directory of U.S. radio manufacturers was "verified," "complete" and "up-to-date" then it would appear that in March 1939 Climax Radio & Television Company (located at 513 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, Ill.) was still a separate corporate entity from General Television & Radio Corp (located at 257 W. 17th St., New York, N.Y.). Soon after this Trade Directory came out in March 1939 (see below) these two companies must have merged. After the merger they used a new Chicago address and operated under the "General Television & Radio Corp." banner.

By December 1940 the address being used by the merged General Television & Radio Corp. was no longer in New York but in Chicago, specifically at 1240 N. Homan Ave., according to the December 1940 issue of Radio Today (page 28; See image below). This is likely a result of their merger with the Chicago based "Climax." On or about December 10th 1945 General Television & Radio Crop. of Chicago, was purchased by Portable Products Corp., Pittsburgh. Apparently all capital stock in this transaction was included (Page 70; December 10th 1945 issue of Broadcasting Telecasting).

Hence, it appears that General Television & Radio Corp. was originally located at the 17th St. NY address and then sometime between March 1939 and December 1940 they moved to the 1240 N. Homan Ave. Chicago address after they merged with Chicago based "Climax." Assuming this is correct, the "Series "T" radio featured in this forum would have been made by the original General Television & Radio Corp. in 1932 prior to its merger with "Climax."

Given the definitive 1932 date stamp for this "Series T" radio, it appears to be one of the very first radios made by General Television & Radio Corp. There is nothing I can find in the literature -- so far -- of General Television & Radio being in existence prior to 1932. Further, I can find no evidence of any other surviving 1932 radios from this company. The only other circa 1932 radios referenced in the literature (that I have seen so far) are the "Midget," apparently built circa 1932 (RadioMuseum specifies it as "1932?" and "CA 1932") and some 11-tube 1932 model with no known name. Hopefully others will turn up and will be announced in this Forum. It's possible that there were other single-letter series radios made in 1932, or even earlier. RadioMuseum mentions models "A," "B," "C," "E," "G," "K," and "M," all uncertainly dated to "1935?" One could start here and hypothesize that the "Series T" was part of this single-letter chain of radios, and possibly chronologically ordered.

As noted earlier, I will attempt to obtain a copy of the Articles of Incorporation for General Television and Radio Corp., the value and interest of which (names of principles, dates, etc.) was pointed out by Mr. Detrola, an expert radio historian. I was able to find out that a "S. H. Hartley" was likely one of the corporate principles (October 1935 issue of Radio Today). The existence of the date stamp on the "Series T" was indeed a fortuitous circumstance, apparently given as a mechanism to authenticate the start of the 5-year "guarantee" period certified on the chassis plates, as noted by forum member "Bob E, " and the uniqueness of which was also pointed out by Mr. Detrola.

I'm keeping my proverbial fingers crossed that one day another forum member will chime in with the known whereabouts of a second General Television and Radio Corp single-letter model, or perhaps the "midget," which will help in the demystification of General Television & Radio Corp's early history.

Best,
Christopher Kavanau


Attachments:
File comment: 1939 ANNUAL TRADE DIRECTORY FROM THE 1939 RADIO YEAR BOOK
1939 Annual Trade Directory.jpg
1939 Annual Trade Directory.jpg [ 180.88 KiB | Viewed 7136 times ]
File comment: 1939 March issue of "Radio Today" and the cover of the inserted "Radio Year Book"
1939 March Radio Today.jpg
1939 March Radio Today.jpg [ 107.25 KiB | Viewed 7131 times ]
File comment: RADIO TODAY DEC 1940; COVER AND PAGE 28
Radio Today Dec 1940.jpg
Radio Today Dec 1940.jpg [ 145 KiB | Viewed 7077 times ]


Last edited by DRKAVANAU on Apr Fri 14, 2017 8:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Thu 13, 2017 2:27 pm 
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SUMMARY (SIGNIFICANTLY UPDATED AND EDITED):

I believe I have the corporate aspect -- to some degree -- figured out! I managed to track down a copy of the March 1939 issue of Radio Today ("azenithnut" pointed me to the "americanradiohistory" website). With this issue came the 1939-1940 "Radio Year Book Including Radio Trade Directory" (see image above). Within this is the "Annual Radio Trade Directory" which says it's "Up-to-date, verified listings of manufacturers, products and trade names -- a complete buying guide" (see image above).

Assuming that Radio Today is correct when they say their Trade Directory of U.S. radio manufacturers was "verified," "complete" and "up-to-date" then it would appear that in March 1939 Climax Radio & Television Company (located at 513 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, Ill.) was still a separate corporate entity from General Television & Radio Corp (located at 257 W. 17th St., New York, N.Y.). Soon after this Trade Directory came out in March 1939 (see below) these two companies must have merged. After the merger they used a new Chicago address and operated under the "General Television & Radio Corp." banner.

By December 1940 the address being used by the merged General Television & Radio Corp. was no longer in New York but in Chicago, specifically at 1240 N. Homan Ave., according to the December 1940 issue of Radio Today (page 28; See image above). This is likely a result of their merger with the Chicago based "Climax." On or about December 10th 1945 General Television & Radio Crop. of Chicago, was purchased by Portable Products Corp., Pittsburgh. Apparently all capital stock in this transaction was included (Page 70; December 10th 1945 issue of Broadcasting Telecasting).

Hence, it appears that General Television & Radio Corp. was originally located at the 17th St. NY address and then sometime between March 1939 and December 1940 they moved to the 1240 N. Homan Ave. Chicago address after they merged with Chicago based "Climax." Assuming this is correct, the "Series "T" radio featured in this forum would have been made by the original General Television & Radio Corp. in 1932 prior to its merger with "Climax."

Given the definitive 1932 date stamp for this "Series T" radio, it appears to be one of the very first radios made by General Television & Radio Corp. There is nothing I can find in the literature -- so far -- of General Television & Radio being in existence prior to 1932. Further, I can find no evidence of any other surviving 1932 radios from this company. The only other circa 1932 radios referenced in the literature (that I have seen so far) are the "Midget," apparently built circa 1932 (RadioMuseum specifies it as "1932?" and "CA 1932") and some 11-tube 1932 model with no known name. Hopefully others will turn up and will be announced in this Forum. It's possible that there were other single-letter series radios made in 1932, or even earlier. RadioMuseum mentions models "A," "B," "C," "E," "G," "K," and "M," all uncertainly dated to "1935?" One could start here and hypothesize that the "Series T" was part of this single-letter chain of radios, and possibly chronologically ordered.

As noted earlier, I will attempt to obtain a copy of the Articles of Incorporation for General Television and Radio Corp., the value and interest of which (names of principles, dates, etc.) was pointed out by Mr. Detrola, an expert radio historian. I was able to find out that a "S. H. Hartley" was likely one of the corporate principles (October 1935 issue of Radio Today). The existence of the date stamp on the "Series T" was indeed a fortuitous circumstance, apparently given as a mechanism to authenticate the start of the 5-year "guarantee" period certified on the chassis plates, as noted by forum member "Bob E, " and the uniqueness of which was also pointed out by Mr. Detrola.

I'm keeping my proverbial fingers crossed that one day another forum member will chime in with the known whereabouts of a second General Television and Radio Corp single-letter model, or perhaps the "midget," which will help in the demystification of General Television & Radio Corp's early history.

Best,
Christopher Kavanau


Last edited by DRKAVANAU on Apr Fri 14, 2017 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EARLIEST SURVIVING GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO DISCOVERED
PostPosted: Apr Fri 14, 2017 7:35 am 
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This General Television & Radio 634 (1934) appears to be the 2nd oldest model known to survive from this company (see image below). This image is referenced from the RadioAtticArchives. Note that "GENERAL" appears on it's escutcheon, just as it does on the 1932 "Series T" model. This is consistent with the 1939 Annual Trade Directory from the 1939 Radio Yearbook (image in prior post above and also reproduced below) where the nickname "GENERAL" was used for "General Television & Radio Corp."

Of further note is that "GENERAL TELEVISION" was also used as an abbreviation on later models (see image below with the Model 591 as an example). This can cause confusion because "General Television Corp." was actually a completely different company that didn't make radios and was founded prior to the founding of General Television & Radio Corp. General Television Corp. was Boston based and in business until at least 1945. Hence, someone new to radio collecting might look at RadioAtticArchives and see them reference "General Television & Radio" as "General Television" and confuse it with "General Television Corp" when they go to read early radio and television literature.

Best,
Christopher Kavanau


Attachments:
File comment: GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO 634 (1934)
General_Radio_623_(1934)_Magrish - Copy.jpg
General_Radio_623_(1934)_Magrish - Copy.jpg [ 182.26 KiB | Viewed 6851 times ]
File comment: 1939 Annual Trade Directory
1939 Annual Trade Directory.jpg
1939 Annual Trade Directory.jpg [ 180.88 KiB | Viewed 6851 times ]
File comment: "GENERAL TELEVISION" ALSO USED AS AN ABBREVIATION FOR "GENERAL TELEVISION & RADIO CORP."
New Bitmap Image (3).jpg
New Bitmap Image (3).jpg [ 202.6 KiB | Viewed 6845 times ]
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