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Vintage valve radios... 

(or tubes if you are American) have been a restoration and collection hobby of mine since 1994. Through this web page you are able to access a large collection of images and information about vintage radios.  I have tried to order the collection by the themes that I am interested in.  Not sure what you're interested in, then try the Graphical Master List of radios, accessible by thumbnail image. In a rush then try the Textual Master List of Radios.  You wont find any wooden radios on this site as I found that I am rubbish at restoring them!  I only buy them to sell on in order to fuel my collection of bakelite radios.

I use bakelite in the loosest sense as many of the later radios (late 1950's and 1960's) are other plastic formulae which is not true bakelite.  To me, however, the 20th century up to the end of 1960 is the Golden Era of plastic. This period is of such interest as it was a new vehicle of freedom for designers of (otherwise) functional boxes to steer in any direction they wished.  Note; I find the true way to detect bakelite is it's unmistakable aroma when polishing it.

Cream bakelite is of interest (and duly reflected in the price) of many collectors.  The early cream (and in fact coloured) bakelite was very brittle and sensitive to UV light, so perfect original examples are rare.

Black & White radio I find is so "in your face" that it deserves a category of its own in the history of early plastic design.  It also appeals to my sense of humour. 

 

Typically, for any product that is unreliable and expensive, a rental market flourishes.  My section on Radio Rentals is a fascinating reminder that a now disposable product once commanded rental revenue.

For much more information on Dr Leo Baekeland, art deco design, bakelite and Catalin I suggest you pick up a copy of the marvellous "Bakelite Radios" by Robert Hawes and Gad Sassower, ISBN 1-85076-622-3.  Have fun browsing !