Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Radio

17 July 2010

The main purpose of the forties room has always been to create an atmosphere where I can listen to my collection of old time radio shows; thus THE main component of the room has always been the radio.  And ever since I’ve started casually looking for ideas and artifacts for the room about 9 months ago,  I’ve known exactly which radio would fit the vision: a 1939 Zenith console (aka floor) radio with a big, radial dial.

After traveling to almost two dozen places over the last week from Walnut, IA to Council Bluffs, IA to Missouri Valley, IA to places here in Omaha, today I found and bought a 1939 Zenith 6-S-326.

Let me tell you about this thing.  First of all, the radio turns on and, after warming up, picks up static.  And after turning it on the first time and seeing the beautiful glow of that big round dial, it was pretty amazing. The radio picks up three bands, controlled by a knob: Broadcast, Police, and Foreign.  There is another knob for adjusting what looks like equalizer presets: Foreign, Hi Fidelity, and Voice.  There is a power/volume knob and the volume goes up to about fourteen and a half.  And of course there is a tuner knob.  The power cord is in good shape, but I can’t tell whether it’s original or not and the vacuum tubes glow very faintly.  Finally, the wooden exterior is in pretty excellent shape.

Now the bad news: there really isn’t an antenna; the “antenna” that is attached looks like a wire that someone cut from a pair of cheap modern headphones.  And the dial doesn’t quite work; it moves somewhat, but it’s attached to the tuner knob with a set of pulleys and the band around them is slipping.  So it needs a bit of work, but in all, I think it’s absolutely beautiful and I got a pretty good deal.

So here’s the plan: I’ll fix up the electronics and the tuning mechanism and then I’ll buy an AM transmitter (possibly from and hook it up to my computer so I can broadcast my shows from mp3’s to the radio.  More posts on this as I make progress.  Stay tuned!

Total spent today: $450.00

A Desk

3 July 2010

Today we went out to a couple antique places, one of which was recommended to me by a coworker called Venice Antiques. So we drove out to Waterloo, NE and there I found an awesome desk that looked like it would fit. I asked the gentleman that worked there what decade he thought it was from and he said “thirties or forties.”

I took some pictures and went home; I googled around a bit for a few hours, looking to confirm the date and make sure that this style of desk wasn’t atypical for a middle-class 1940’s American living room. I did find some desks from the thirties and forties with similar characteristics and the more I thought about it and the more I looked at the pics I took, the more I liked the desk. A couple hours later it made a perfect addition to the room. When I took the drawers out to move it, I noticed on back of each was the number 32; does this mean it was made in 1932?

Anyway, I’ve been researching the layouts of typical middle-class 1940’s American living rooms and though they vary almost as much as living room layouts today, in all the pictures I’ve come across of 1940’s living rooms where there was a desk, it was almost always shoved into a corner (case in point: remember where the last present was plucked from in A Christmas Story?). So my new desk was put in the corner and I casually tossed upon it the magazines and matchbooks that I got last weekend.

Total Spent Today: $118.69.