Friday, March 23, 2012

Were FDR's Fireside Chats Heard on my Radio?

This is a Thorola Model 57 desk radio, dating to 1926. After spending decades in an attic, the wooden case was quite worse-for-the-wear, so I've refinished it. The painted front panel was pretty much intact though, and the interior is quite good. I was able to replicate the correct finish luster by the interior wood that had been protected from dirt and dust. There is also a separate, round wooden speaker, about 18 inches tall. I'd love to know what radio programs were heard on this set, who listened to it, what their discussions were at the time, what was being knitted or otherwise created at the same time. Imagine the history that was broadcast through these "doughnut" coils and vacuum tubes and wiring. FDR's Fireside Chats most definitely. Did my family hear about the stock market crash of 1929 on this? Did they hear "Happy Days Are Here Again" through its speaker?

Happy Days are Here Again, from 1930. This was once a victory song for the Democrats. I'm sure it was heard over and over again in my family's home!


  1. Does that radio still work? We have an old one in the kitchen that we bought from an old repair shop. I didn't have a chance to look inside, but it still works. The outside has a wooden finish. The company that made it is called Philco

  2. Philco ended up being owned by Ford! Ford used Philco radios for years (Philco = Philadelphia Company). No, the radio doesn't work right now. I'd need a lot of different types of batteries for it. I have two replacement vacuum tubes for it, though.

  3. Well Casey!! THAT was an uplifting little reprieve!
    No democrats in my family (just us off the wall "i'll vote for whomever I wish folks"!! LOL)
    Love this song...Going to have to play it a few times (and I have an old pink radio from late 50's early 60's that sat on top of the frigidaire for years and from which we heard the morning news from a local station.
    As always, thanks for the memories!