Friday, November 13, 2015

Tuning in to the right frequency...

In most of my blog posts I write about going out in search of history. Well this time, history came in search of Me. A little over a week ago I was contacted by one of the followers of my blog with an intriguing proposition. He had a collection of antique radio's and he wanted to know if I would like to have them.

I went and looked at his collection and it was Huge. I asked the man time and time again if I could at least pay him for the collection but he said no, he was giving them to me free of charge. So last week I went and rented a storage locker and on Friday I and some friends and family congregated at this man's house and we filled three suv's with radio's and speakers. I should mention these radio's are for the most part from the 1920's and 30's.

This was a time when there was no internet, no instant news 24 hours a day. A time when even the radio itself was a fairly new invention. And these examples show that. Some are very plain and others are elaborately constructed with scroll work and inlays. Most of these are in well constructed wooden cases. Many have tubes the size of a mans fist.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. They all work, too.  The collector, a man here in Princeton named Doug, is a serious radio enthusiast who spent a lot of time making sure these survivors can still play music and receive radio broadcasts. He told me jokingly that he was often asked if he could pick up the Pearl Harbor attack on the radio's. They say that the signals bounce around in space so I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear that some day. Or live coverage of the Hindenburg disaster...or the triumphant landing of the Spirit of St. Louis in France...Or FDR's speech to congress taking us into world war 2.


  1. Interesting. Maybe you could find a way to share it with others from Princeton.

  2. As a small collector and a frequent traveler to that area(my wife's family is from Tiskilwa and later moved to Princeton),I amn both jealous and intrigued! I would also love to see them.I wonder if that large antique mall(Sherwood,I believe?) or the local historical society could help.I believe the Bureau County Historical Society has an office downtown.

    1. Bill; Next time you're here drop me a line and I'll be happy to show them to you. John

    2. That's kind of you John! I will take you up on that sometime! I also know there is a gentleman that ran an antique radio museum/repair shop in Franklin Grove.I am not sure if he is still in business,but on a recent drive past the location(302 N. Sycamore St.),the sign was still up.It's called Tony's old radios museum and the owner is in bad health.Here's a link to the place..


If you have a comment or know of a place that would make for a great future article drop me a line. Thanks!