Here is an Atwater Kent Model 55C. AK sold hundreds of thousands of the sturdy model 55 and many have survived quite well. Weighing in much like a big box of rocks, their solid construction is well known. Several variations of the 55’s were released and all were built “the old fashioned way” with sturdy wood and plenty of steel. The chassis in this is one of the “late” versions. A purchaser would have choosen from a range of cabinets by several manufacturers, this was perhaps least expensive. I probably paid too much for it, more than any box of rocks, but it turns out that a couple of tubes stuck in it are worth more individually than the whole rest of the radio! A pair of 45's drive its output circuit. Type 45 is a simple and reliable tube that has become harder to find since capturing the fancy of certain modern audiophiles who continue to drive up its price beyond all reckoning. This summer (2010) I saw prices starting around 65 dollars each, and up and up.
The fact is, I don’t want another console radio! They are too big so why did I buy another? Pam and I were really just out looking for a couple of simple chairs for the kitchen. In a dusty antique shop a few hours away she found the chairs and then found me buzzing around this old thing. The shop keeper was more than happy to see it carted away. Pam reminds me that at least we got two nice chairs out of the deal.
I wish I had taken more "before" photos as I worked. All major chassis parts and knobs are present and accounted for. I also found handy installation instructions stapled inside the cabinet.
Too bad about the grill cloth, it had a nice floral pattern which is now ripped with a small chunk missing. I can’t help but wonder if rodents did that. Must have been a mighty mouse!
Severly damaged grill cloth
Original finish has a lot of wear and damage
Radio chassis removed from cabinet
Radio chassis rear view
I pull out the heavy (39 lbs) chassis and speaker. Everything is filthy and the cabinet’s finish is near a total loss, maybe 40 or 50 percent gone from the legs and the top. The sides are better but not by much. I think a complete strip and refinish is the way to go even though cabinet work is not my forté. It would take skill far beyond mine to invisibly repair this kind of damage.
There is certainly no point to putting in so much effort without knowing about the radio’s potential health. If it is a corpse I want to know it now. next-->