Collector's Ethics 101

"OK, why do all this in the first place?"

Why do it at all? Well, consider this: These sets represent a combination of efforts that will probably never again occur in American life; these sets personify an era when Radio was still young, the craftsman was still king, and a good radio Technician was worth his weight in gold. The broadcast sets for home use you see here were a unique collaboration between the artists and designers who produced the cabinets, the engineers and technicians who designed the chassis, and the assemblers (mostly women--thanks, ladies!) who all came together to produce a radio set. Furniture was still made of actual wood back then, and it wasn't uncommon for a good radio set to have as many as six different types of hardwood veneer (or solid wood!) used in their construction. Many of these sets actually have ivory inlay utilized in their construction.

Additionally, many early sets were actually burned. When AC sets first came in about 1927, sales were slow; people had already invested huge amounts of money in battery sets that were still perfectly functional, and weren't about to go on the road to bankruptcy as fast as the retailers wanted them to. The retail radio industry, in an effort to stimulate sales, commenced a "Burn Your Blooper" campaign, in which people were given a substantial rebate on a new AC set if they would come in to town on a weekend night, and throw their old battery set on the bonfire in front of the radio store!

No one knows how many tens of thousands of sets were destroyed in this manner, but it's sure made battery sets hard to find.

Additionally, you must remember that radio developed rapidly, much like the medium you're using to read this now! Sets six years old were obsolete, and entered that perilous phase in between "new" and "collectible" very quickly: that phase is, of course, junk! And out it went, cat-quick, to the dump.

As you can see, you just cannot save too many of these prized old jewels. Unless, of course, you live in a small place, but that's another story, and it comes with a very understanding wife...(!) And there's the most important reason of all, of course...these old sets are just plain fun!

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