1930 Philco 20B


1931 Audiola Commander of the Air


1934 Philco 60

1930 Gloritone 26

1934 Philco 84B

The 1930's were the first decade in which radio became affordable for the masses.  In the 20's, most radios were complicated, ran on multiple batteries and were not particularly easy to use.  Starting with the RCA Radiola 60, which was the first popular AC-operated receiver, radio became much simpler.


Radios were also expensive.  In 1921, Powell Crosley wanted to buy a radio for his son, found the existing ones from Atwater Kent and others to be too expensive... so he built his own, for much less.  He then began selling radios at lower prices- eventually putting Atwater Kent out of business.  Philco also made the model 20 in 1930, and later the model 60 and model 84, as low-cost, but good performing radios for those on a budget.  They even called them 'baby grand'.


Performance was significantly improved in about 1930, with the Superheterodyne circuit design, which made reception better.  Additionally, AVC (Automatic Volume Control) improved the sound quality around the same time.  My 'Commander of the Air' cathedral proudly claims that it has a superheterodyne circuit, for example.  Philco also added AVC to the model 70 and 90, both upscale versions of their early 30's table radios.


Thanks to this new circuit design, it became simple to add shortwave capability, at a time when interest in foreign broadcasts was increasing.  In the mid and late 30's, manufacturers began adding 'showroom' features, like the electric tuning of my 1938 Zenith 'Robot Dial', 'magic eye' tubes, shadow tuning meters (Philco and Crosley used these), and others.

1934 Rca 102


1935 Philco 89


1936 Philco 610

1936 RCA 5T1

1936 Zenith 9S54

1936 Zenith 6S52


1937 Westinghouse W312X

1937 Zenith 10S153

1937 Zenith 12U158


1938 Philco 38-8

c1938 Truetone D726

1938 Zenith 9S262

1938 Zenith 5J217


1939 Philco 39-40

1939 Silvertone 6424

1939 Zenith 6D319

1939 Zenith 7S363

1939 Zenith 7S363

1939 Zenith 7S342 Chairside