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WSHU Chief Engineer Paul Litwinovich explores aspects of vintage radio, from the radio sets themselves to the people and technology that made it all possible.

From The Mailbag

Gary of Rockaway, N.J. Used with permission.

I received many comments about last month’s Trans-oceanic article, mostly about the fond memories from past owners of the radios, and a few questions about them as well. In addition, Gary of Rockaway, N.J., shared this picture of his Clearfield glass dealer’s display radio and a short story of how he obtained it.

Gary writes:

"From research years ago the name Clearfield model D comes to mind. Six silver topped tubes with a script that could be a "C." Three large central dials, all marked 0-200. Two small outer dials marked 0-100. couple of input jacks on each side of wooden base cabinet, a toggle switch on the base.  A cut pigtail of wires bundle out the back.

The original WT Grant store was in Lynn, Mass. In the late 60's it was a camera store, and I ran the warehouse. On the lower shelf of a wooden display table in the cellar sat the radio. The boss gave it to me. It drew raves at my house in Newton, went in storage for a few years, moved to N.J., and decorated a shelf in Rockaway for 30 yrs. "

Gary, It is indeed a "D Clearfield DeLuxe TRF-6-RC." Clearfield was the trade name of the Sherman Radio Manufacturing Co. It was made in 1925. I also found a similar radio, a Dolores Six Standard, made by the Fred W. Goerdes Co. of Newark, N.J., which is an identical twin to the Clearfield. The question raised is who copied who? I have also found identical knock-offs to the Polle Royal that I featured back in December of 2013 and the RCA Radiola 18 that I have mentioned in other articles, so it seems that copying a competitor’s design was somewhat common back then. The www.radiomusem.org website, which is sponsored by the European Antique Radio Society, has some information on your model. Otherwise, information regarding the Sherman Radio Manufacturing Co. is hard to come by. Like my National Browning Drake, your radio is a dealer’s display normally offered in a standard wooden cabinet. The wooden version was valued by The Radio Collector’s Directory (Grinder 1995) at $900, but that was a while back. I would insure your glass version for $5,000.

Paul was a design engineer and engineering manager in the broadcast industry for14 years before coming to WSHU in 1990. He holds an FCC commercial radio license, and an extra class Amateur radio license.