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1947 Emerson 5-Tube AM/BC Table Radio Model 544, designed by Norman Bel Geddes, in rarely good, serviced and working Condition
In a Nutshell
It's not the "Patriot", but it's the same designer, Norman Bel Geddes, who created this cute little economy radio. Here we have the 1947 first edition, still with octal tubes
Whereas Philco and Zenith radios excelled in innovative and pioneering technical concepts, Emerson radios were at the forefront of esthetical and artistic cabinet design. The "world's biggest seller of little radios", started to build compact radios in the midst of the great depression starting in 1932 with model 25. Have a look at their wonderful 1937 mini-tombstone radios made from beautifully swirled coloured catalin (Philco and Zenith never made a catalin radio), or the numerous Emerson wooden cabinets made by the Ingraham company in Bristol, Connecticut (model 25 was one of the first). In 1940, one year before Pearl Harbor and the USA entering WWII, Emerson produced its first "Patriot" radio, created by Norman Bel Geddes, in a variety of red, white, and blue catalin combinations.
Norman Melancton (Bel) Geddes (1893–1958), a former theatrical designer, was one of America's most prolific and influential industrial designers of the 1930s and early '40s. He not only created futuristic cars, trains, ocean liners and planes, but also practical consumer products, like bedroom furniture and table and console radios (mainly for Philco and Emerson). In 1916 Geddes married Helen Belle Sneider of Toledo, Ohio, and 6 years later their daughter Barbara was born. Barbara Bel Geddes (1922-2005) became a recognized Broadway and movie actress, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1948 drama "I Remember Mama" and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".
Barbara of course is best known from her 1978-1984, 1986-1990 role of Miss Ellie, owner of the Southfork Ranch in the TV series "Dallas", and mother of machinating oil baron "J.R.", played by Larry Hagman, and his two brothers Gary and Bobby. The heavy smoker died of lung cancer on August 8, 2005.
About my radio:
The radio is in relatively excellent condition, the word relative meaning that most models 544 have succumbed to the ravages of time (pict's 26 and 27). The cabinet is made from plywood and has a so-called photofinish with a woodgrain pattern. As pictures 26 and 27 show this photofinish in most cases is damaged or has been replaced by a refinish of the underlaying veneer. The photofinish of my radio was damaged a little on the top and has been painstakingly restored by hand, relaquered, and the speaker grille and pedestals repainted. The dial obviously adopted the Bel Geddes' Patriot dial and is in mint shape, the dial bezel has an almost invisible sealed hairline (9 o'clock in pict.14). The knobs are correct and have the correct color (black or burgandy). The chassis is the earlier version with octal socket tubes (Type 1 in pict.24), and has been partially recapped (pict.21). The loop antenna and back plane are replaced. The radio plays loud and clear allover the band spread (watch flash movie by clicking on last thumbnail). Please e-mail me (Kris) for any questions, ich spreche Deutsch, je parle Français.
Here are the specifications:
|Technical Description of Item
||Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp., New York
|| 5-tube AM/BC superhet table radio
||Plywood with photofinish
|Dials and knobs
||Norman Bel Geddes dial, 2 original plastic knobs
||AM 550-1600 kc
||12SA7 (RF), 12SK7 (IF), 12SQ7 (Det.), 50L6 (Audio), 35Z5 (Rect.)
||11" x 6" x 7 ½"
||5 lbs = 2.3 kg
||Rare little Bel Geddes design radio in rare condition, serviced and perfectly working