1930 Victor R-15 aka Radiola 48 Mini-Console Radio, Mint

From the Okanagan: Victor (not RCA!) 1930 Midget Lowboy Console TRF Radio R-15 with Presswood Carved Front, Like New All-Original and Restored to Work. Bonus: Push-Pull Matched Pair of Westinghouse UX-245 Globe Tubes

In a Nutshell
This blond petite beauty lets your heart bump faster. Mostly known as the Radiola 48, it comes with special Victor make-up. One of the last TRF's with two gorgeous matched original Westinghouse UX-245 Globe Tubes in the Push-Pull Audio

On a trip to the Okanagan I found this rare Victor R-15, a binovular twin of the US RCA Radiola 48 and the General Electric T-41. This radio is petite, blond, and sexy (pict.4) from top to bottom and from front to back. The 4-stage TRF chassis RC-3 (picts.13,14,22-27) was one of the last Tuned Radio Frequency designs and was very successful. It was in fact used also in the Westinghouse WR-4 and the Graybar 678, and other Victor radios used it as well (R-14, R-15, RE-17 (with phono), R-42). The cabinets were made of what sometimes is wrongfully called repwood. It is in fact made from thin wood veneer layers, that were pressed together under high pressure into a form (presswood), and thus retained the beautiful oriented grain structure of wood, and in fact looks like real carved wood (picts.7,8,20,21). The forms and colours of the 3 cabinets (R-15, Radiola 48, T-41) differ considerably; I like the Victor R-15 most because of its light blond colour, its expansive front covering, and its wider dial window. When I looked at the back of the radio I was delighted to find two original Westinghouse UX-245 globe tubes (picts.17,18), that turned out to be perfectly matched in gain. The value of this pair is around 200US$ alone. The radio is:

  •    Very rare
  •    In extremely good and original condition
  •    An unicum combining new design, technical and commercial ideas at a turning point in (radio) history
Additional information:
1. Victor R-15: http://radioatticarchives.com/radio.htm?radio=3297
2. GE T-41: http://radiosphonos.com/museum/1930-geradiola-lowboy-pi-87.html
3. Radiola 48: http://www.radiolaguy.com/Showcase/Radiola48.htm
4. http://www.arcade-museum.com/presto/PRESTO-1930-2252/PRESTO-1930-2252-15.pdf
5. http://www.nostalgiaair.org

About my radio:

The console was built in late 1930 or 1931, as a cost-effective and compact Lowboy console radio, building on the successful TRF tradition of the Victor Talking Machine Company (1929 models R-32 and RE-45), when they were taken over by RCA in 1929. The radio has:
  •  Full wave rectifier using one 80 rectifier
  •  3 stages of RF amplification and a detector using 24(A) tubes
  •  Push-pull audio end stage with two 45 type tubes (here 2 matched Westinghouse UX-245 globe tubes)
  •  Large 8" Rice-Kellogg type dynamic field coil speaker
The radio is in very good and original condition, having no veneer damages, scratches, cracks or chips. The cabinet is not refinished, except the top area (pict.15). The set has been thoroughly cleaned and in-depth serviced. All moving parts have been treated with contact spray. All 15 shields and the chassis itself have been polished by hand to exhibit their shiny chrome and copper surfaces. The power cord and plug are original too, damages in the wrap-spun braiding have been secured with speed-sew. The speaker is in like-new condition (picts.28-31), as well as the original speaker cloth (pict.8). The radio plays loud and clear on AM/BC (see movie by clicking on last picture), where it has good sensitivity and selectivity over the whole band spread. The antenna has to be optimized at the final location of the radio, by either prolonging its dipole (rural areas) or designing a multi-loop wire with ground connection (high-rise). Please e-mail me (Kris) for any questions, ich spreche Deutsch, je parle Fran├žais.

For the historians only:
A detailed account of the 1929 takeover of Victor Talking Machine by RCA can be found at my previous auction (copy here). It seems (see pict.32 and ref.4) that even one year after that, the domestic frictions between the Radiola and the Victor Divisions within RCA Victor are still prevalent, both presenting the same radio under different model numbers and in different cabinets. Alternatively, since the Rider schematics for these two identical models are drawn very differently, it may also be that while the manufacturing departments of GE (for RCA) and Victor had been combined, the service/sales departments were still separate. In Canada the Victor brand was kept without any RCA label, until 1933/34.

Here are the specifications:

Technical Description of Item
Manufacturer Victor Division of RCA Victor, Camden N.J.
Model R-15, chassis RC-3
Type 7-tube AM/BC Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) Lowboy console radio
Production Year 1930/31
Serial Number 6030
Cabinet Presswood
Dial Illuminated celluloid dial with celluloid cover
Knobs 2 wooden carved knobs, on-off switch at side
Frequency Range 520-1750 kHz
Controls Volume, tuning, on/off
Tube line-up 80(Rect), 3x24(RF), 24(Det), 2x45(PP Audio)
Size (WxDxH) 20" x 13" x 34"
Weight 67 lbs = 30.5 kg
Comment Like new condition, serviced and perfectly working

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