Please click your language flag. Bitte Sprachflagge klicken.

History of the radio manufacturer  

Sparks-Withington Co., (Sparton); Jackson, Michigan

As a member you can upload pictures (but not single models please) and add text.
Both will display your name after an officer has activated your content, and will be displayed under «Further details ...» plus the text also in the forum.
Name: Sparks-Withington Co., (Sparton); Jackson, Michigan    (USA )    
Jewel || Sparton
Abbreviation: sparks-wit  
Products: Model types  

Sparks-Withington Co., (Sparton); Jackson, Michigan.

Founded: 1900
Production: 1925 - 1958

The Sparton Corporation was founded as the Withington Company in 1900 in Jackson, Michigan, by Philip and Winthrop Withington. William Sparks became the third partner in the business a few years later and the company name was changed to the Sparks-Withington Company. Sparks-Withington began as a small manufacturer of steel parts for agricultural implements but as the automobile revolution began to sweep through Michigan in the early part of the century, Sparks-Withington added steel automotive stampings like hub caps and brake drums to their product line. By 1909, the company was manufacturing car radiator cooling fan assemblies, which quickly became a major part of the company's production output, reaching 275,000 units by 1917. It was during this period that Sparks-Withington began to make use of the trade name "Sparton," a contraction of the company name and an evocation of the disciplined Spartans of Ancient Greece. The company's first major product innovation came in 1911 when the all-electric car horn was developed by Sparks-Withington engineers. The Hudson Automobile Company soon adopted the Sparton electric horn as standard equipment for its automobiles, replacing the optional bulb horns that had characterized the early era of the automobile. Radio and Television Production in the 1930s and 1940s The Sparks-Withington Company was officially incorporated in Ohio in 1916 and then reincorporated in 1919 when shares in the company began to be sold on the New York Stock Exchange. After a brief period of military production during World War I, Sparks-Withington used its growing expertise in the electronics field to bring out a line of battery powered radios, followed in 1926 by production of the country's first all-electric radio, promoted as "Radio's Richest Voice." While many American companies suffered during the Great Depression, Sparks-Withington expanded. In 1930, the company formed a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, Sparton of Canada, Ltd., to introduce the Sparton radio line in Canada.

Sparks-Withington Co.; Jackson, Michigan. - Trade names Jewel, Sparton. 1934/35 Sparton made also the tube VG-1 also called VisoGlo, a glow discharge tube (glow tube, glow light tube) as a tuning indicator (see Sparton Model 83) before the magic eye.

Sparton brand radios were produced by the Sparks-Withington Co. of Jackson Michigan. Originally involved in the manufacturing of automotive parts (particularly horns and radiator fans), the company had been formed in 1900 by General W. H. Withington and his sons Philip and Winthrop. William Sparks, a young immigrant from England joined the company shortly after it was formed.

Radio production was added to the company in 1925 under license from Roy Weagant, who formerly designed DeForest TRF sets. Sparton was one of the first to use Kellogg AC tubes. In the late 1920s, Sparton at first refused to license RCA's patents, which led Sparton into the business of making its own tubes under the Cardon brand to guarantee its supply. Sparton's Equasonne models in 1928 were another measure to avoid RCA's patents - these models used a special circuit licensed from Technidyne Corp. In 1929, Sparton finally negotiated a license with RCA - after showing that it had the capability and will to do without RCA if necessary. Once licensed by RCA, Sparton ceased making its own tubes.

Sparton was not particularly successful in the radio business after 1930, but continued to produce radios and TVs until 1956, when some of its assets were sold to Magnavox to form the "Spartan" (note different spelling) division of Magnavox. The name of the company changed from Sparks-Withington to Sparton Corp. in 1956, and it continues as a successful company today, making a variety of products in aerospace, defense, medical, and other product lines

1. Alan Douglas, "Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s," Vol. 3, The Vestal Press Ltd., Vestal, NY (1991).
2. Current company information at
3. Date of sale of assets to Magnavox (1956) from original advertisements and dating of SAMS service literature. Bitte wählen Neuer Text wird dem alten hinten angehängt. Neuer Text ersetzt den alten. Neuer Text wird dem alten vorangestellt. Geschichte (3)


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  50 Sparton 4944 Ch= 24TB10 6BH6  TV Receiver with 16" b/w CRT. TV Chassis 24TB10 and Power Supply Chassis 3TB10. Cha... 
USA  50 Sparton 4945 Ch= 24TB10 6BH6  TV Receiver with 16" b/w CRT. TV Chassis 24TB10 and Power Supply Chassis 3TB10. Cha... 
USA  36 Sparton 557-X blue ch= 517 [export model] 6A7  So called "Sled", blue mirror glass. Export version for 50Hz mains at 95 to 250 V. ... 
USA  36 Sparton 516 [1 band]   Wood with chrome. 
USA  34 Sparton 75 58   
USA  25/26 Sparton 5-26 Console [THREE tuning knobs] C-201A  For model 5-26, Sparks-Withington made a cabinet version (table model) and a Consolette... 
USA  26/27 Sparton 110 AC table cabinet C-401  The Sparton model 110 AC is probably Sparton's first AC radio. It is a battery radi... 
USA  28/29 Sparton 69 Equasonne Cabinet Set C-485  Combination of model 69 plus a table like high boy console. The Sparton 69 and 69-A E... 
USA  31 Sparton 610A 424A  Push-pull audio amplifier. 
USA  30 Sparton AR-19A 236  One dial (primary tuning control knob) 
USA  26–30 Sparton Speaker   Sparton sold also at least one model as an open speaker with cast metal base and stand.... 
USA  28–30 Sparton 29 Equasonne Cabinet Speaker   The text of a Sparton flier from 1928 reads: "This perfectly balanced Equasonne bu... 


Further details for this radio manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

tbn_sparton_prom_rr_oct45_p60.jpg tbn_sparks_prom_rr_jan46_p147.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_tv_ad_1951.jpg tbn_us_sparton_193x_ad.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_logo_1951.png
tbn_usa_sparks_1926_logo.jpg tbn_us_sparton_adv2.jpg tbn_us_sparton_adv.jpg tbn_sparton_prom_rr_apr46_p103.jpg tbn_sparton_prom_rr_may46_p123.jpg
tbn_sparks_sparton_1946_side1.jpg tbn_sparks_folder_sparton_1946.jpg tbn_rr_jul47_p14.jpg tbn_rr_jul47_p15.jpg tbn_rr_aug47_p28.jpg
tbn_rr_sep47_p29.jpg tbn_sparton_folder1938_p1.jpg tbn_sparton_folder1938_p4.jpg tbn_sparton_folder1938_p6.jpg tbn_sparton_folder_1933_p1.jpg
tbn_sparton_folder_1933_p2.jpg tbn_sparton_folder_1953_54_p1.jpg tbn_sparton_folder_1953_54_p2.jpg tbn_sparton_data_small.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_tubes_quantities_and_types.jpg
tbn_rider_5_sparton_page6.jpg tbn_sparton_tube_prices_november_1936.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_40thanniversarybooklet_4.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_40thanniversarybooklet_5.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_40thanniversarybooklet_6.jpg
tbn_usa_sparton_40thanniversarybooklet_7.jpg tbn_sparks_radio_retailing_03_1935_page_32.png tbn_sparton_79_etc_radio_retailing_06_1934_page_43.png tbn_sparton_79_etc_text_radio_retailing_06_1934_page_43..png tbn_sparton_radio_retailing_09_1933_page_55.jpg
tbn_sparton_radio_retailing_08_1935_page_63.jpg tbn_sparton_radio_retailing_07_1935_page_55.jpg tbn_radio_retailing_may1934_p30.jpg tbn_sparton_bulletin_7b_pg2.jpg tbn_sparton_bulletin_7b_pg3.jpg
tbn_sparton_bulletin_7b_pg4.jpg tbn_sparton_bulletin_7b_pg5.jpg tbn_usa_sparton_manual1_contents1_933pixels.png tbn_usa_sparton_manual1_contents2_933pixels.png tbn_usa_sparton_manual1_contents3_933pixels.png