Among the many interesting things we have in storage are two radios that might have been used to listen to news about the fighting during World War II. The older of the two is a Philco model 610 radio. This make and model was made in 1935 and 1936. This is known as a "tombstone" radio, given its resemblance to a tombstone. Typical of 1930's vintage radios, it has a small window in the center to see which radio station is being tuned into. Another picture taken of the back of this radio shows its internal components. Among the internal parts is a device known as a vacuum tube. It was used to amplify (increase the strength of) the received radio signal. Vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors many years ago, so for a lot of young people today the tubes are a strange sight. Philco was an electronics manufacturer that was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the model 610 was one of many radios produced by that company.
Once the war began, many products were no longer produced, or production was reduced due to the demands of military equipment production for the war. It is therefore likely that radios from the 1930's that still worked were kept in use as the supply of new civilian radios decreased.
The other radio seen here is a Sonora LWU-181. Despite the above mentioned war production changes, it was introduced during the war in 1942. A big difference from the Philco can be seen with the bigger radio tuning indicator. The Sonora company label can be seen just below the speaker. It includes a picture of a bell because of the "clear as a bell" slogan on company advertisements. It is difficult to find information about the Sonora Corporation. Definitely not in existence anymore, it went out of business in January, 1957.
These radios are interesting objects from a time when families gathered around the radio to listen to news and entertainment programs before the introduction of television sets. On radios such as these one could have listened to news of the Normandy Invasion or one of President Roosevelt's "fireside chats."
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