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History of the radio manufacturer  

Admiral (brand) Continental Radio & Television Co.

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Name: Admiral (brand) Continental Radio & Television Co.    (USA)  
alternative name:
Continental Radio & TV
Brand: Globe Trotter || Marshall || Oriole || Radiomaster || Slagle || Sunbeam || Wondertone
Abbreviation: admiral
Products: Model types Others

Continental Radio & Television Co. with its brand Admiral was one of the big radio producers in the USA and ranked 1939 number 5 in sales volume. Before it was "Transformer Corp. of America" which sold Admiral radios. See below. The end was in 1979.

Founded: 1924
Closed: 1979

Admiral is the brand of Continental Radio & Television Corporation, 3800W. Cortland Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA bzw. Admiral Corporation at the same address is the marketing company for the maker.

The story goes: "A group of four investors founded Continental Radio & Television Corporation in 1934 by literally selling their belongings to raise the initial capital. The company was a success right from the start. Concentration was on quality to an inexpensive prize. In 1939 Admiral ranked number 5 in sales volume by 1939." [Bunis]. Below we have a bit a different story - and there are early Admiral models ...

Admiral was also successful when the movement of major sales outlets, such as Montgomery Ward and Sears, made their way into the radio sales in the end of the 30s. Continental Radio and Television Corp. made the Admiral, Globe Trotter, Radiomaster and Star Raider brands for them and some more.

Admiral radios were also exported. A catalogue in France [602-39] even lists some French models (5D33X and 952 from the 50s) but they are made in the USA. In Switzerland "Thali" published schematics for the most imported models and Admiral is one of the listed brands from the USA.

Because of quality problems and the growing competition from Japan the plants of the company had to be closed in 1979. The main losses resulted from TV sets.

A more detailled story:

Ross Siragusa founded the Admiral Corp. during the Depression and transformed it from a small radio and phonograph company into one of the leading makers of televisions, audio products and home appliances.

In 1924, Siragusa had developed an earlier company, Transformer Corp. of America, which grew quickly by selling battery chargers for radios. But by 1929, the Depression caused Siragusa's company to go out of business. Undaunted, he turned to manufacturing radios. To get some start-up cash, Siragusa sold his automobile and home furnishings, and in 1934, created a new company, the Continental Radio and Television Corp., which is known most for its brand Admiral. Growth exploded with the arrival of contracts for military electronics during World War II; afterward, Siragusa steered Admiral into television.

A pioneering TV brand, it became one of the top three in sales and was one of the first to produce color sets. In 1951, Admiral sold five million television sets, but then came a downturn. Disputes simmered over the regulatory framework for color television, and a new excise tax left manufacturers with huge inventories.

By discounting its television sets and increasing its promotion of home appliances, Admiral survived for a while. But during an industry shakeout, with profits falling, the company was sold to Rockwell International Corp., which later pulled it out of the TV business.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  60 Transistor Radio Battery   9 Volt Transistor Battery. 
USA  36 134 Ch = 8AU 6A7  See mod. 133 for details - also 8AU = same chassis. 
USA  36 133 Ch = 8 AU 6A7  150 - 350 kHz, 535 - 1730 kHz, 2350 - 7100 kHz plus 6 pushbuttons for short wave bands. Pu... 
USA  50 6T11 Ch= 5B1   Admiral Table Top AM 5 Tube Radio Model 6T11 Chassis 5B1. Power Consumption 30 Watts. 
USA  49 RC 181    
USA  49 RC 182    
USA  50 RC 195    
USA  50 RC 196    
USA  50 RC 197    
USA  46 RC 200    
USA  50 RC 210    
USA  50 RC 211    


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


Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Admiral (brand) Continental Radio & Television Co.
Threads: 2 | Posts: 2
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Admiral Radios and important sources of information
Ernst Erb

Please see the next posts for data.
Here I explain only how I do it - as a possible input how this could be followed by some other members.

There is the simple way to upload pictures - or this way to enhance or change data if possible - or even a step further to build up a framework similar to that I have done for the brand Lafayette.

We are building up a most complete reference work for radios and related items.
Often this starts with information from schematics - with not even having a picture or a correct date. Even if two model admins will have to accept, there can be errors. After having created 200 thousand model pages by November 2011, we have to focus for the next years in uploading pictures and getting exact year dating. A few thousand members participated in creating this work. Now in November 2011 we are well over 8500 members - and we have to deliver about 300 thousand pages each day to more than 20 thousand different users (more than 85 % guests).

The most important source for that is primary information of the manufacturers
- including advertisements and articles in newspapers and journals etc. Most important are also fliers and folders, factory brochures, catalogs etc. Later books are not bad sources but include errors which can not be corrected, Internet can be most problematic but also most complete - who knows which it is when we find? Most important: We may not copy pictures from secondary books and websites without a written permission by the copyright owner. For guests we provide a certain security with a watermark - which is not a copyright at all. We never claim a copyright but we protect the uploaders or donators. But collector prices we can get freely from the different auctions and Internet-auctions.

On the example of Admiral Radios,
made by "Continental Radio & Television Corp.", Chicago, USA, I try here to show what can be done for solid information and for uploading (foreign) pictures:
For a long time I bought fliers and folders plus important journals like "Radio Retailing" (alter called "Radio & Television Retailing"), a monthly publication for US dealers. Now the scanning, preparing and uploading is in progress. Unfortunately this is hard work for years to come ... I just begin with Admiral because I have a few fliers and folders - but we go through the "Radio Retailing" issues by years - doing all manufacturers and brands when handling an issue. The progress is equally for all brands - and takes time.

The whole process we do is an iteration process - but on a huge amount of data - a slow process. Already a few hundred "man years" of work are "invested"!

In November 2011 we show only 115 thousand models with pictures and 101 thousand with schematics. Total is 200 thousand model pages (71 thousand for the USA - 30'600 with pictures and 47'700 with schematics). I'm sure we still miss worldwide many ten thousand models completely - yet.

For Admiral we show in November 2011 pre WW2 models: 273 and post war models: 1858
a total of 2131 models. But only 651 models with (1253) pictures and 1660 with (7340) schematics. So Admiral has only 30.5 % models with pictures compared to Zenith (3220 models, 2282 with pictures) with a share of 64 %! How important a good picture gallery is for a user can only tell somebody who tried in vain to find out his/her model when missing a model name or so.

More analysis would be necessary to go on with this coding scheme for Admiral. It is a start.

Everybody is welcome for a free membership who is able to help in the enhancement of model pages. We have enough papers to give an input. Interested can use the Contact Form. Corrections are very welcome, pictures naturally too.

Hits: 2952     Replies: 0
Admiral coding in the early 60s on Y plus 4-digit models
Ernst Erb

In 1960/61 Admiral started a rather big range of small radios with or without clock or alarm clock with a coding starting with Y, followed by 4 number digits. But the start was with Y7.., Y8.. and Y9.. - an Y with 3 number digits. This range ended probably with Y86.. in 1963/64. In that period there is only a very few models which do not fit into this system.

On Y-4digit numbers, digit position 3 is indicating a case name and
digit 4 the case color(s).

The chassis begins always with the number of tubes or transistors.

There is also a mixed 4-digit range like Y853B (chassis 5B5B) etc. And there are models with more digits like Y2238GPS with chassis 6M3C or Y2301GP (6M3D). Before the Y... Admiral made also models like 4Y11 (chassis 4y1) with a digit in front of the Y. Before the above mentioned period simple 3 digit numbers were common for Admiral , sometimes followed by a letter - but also models like 4L...
After above mentioned period, the Y was followed by a letter.

To our present knowledge model ranges/chassis families are:
Y7..   5E5 (same chassis for models 691 and 692 from before)
Y8..   5A5, 5B5, 5L5, 8T1
Y9..   1F1
Y9.. and Y10.. chassis 5K5.
Y11.. 4E3 with model Y1189 from 1960, perhaps 1959.
Y19.. probably after above period: 20A6
Y20.. 7A2, 7B2C, 7V1, 8A2
Y21.. 7B2B, 7D2, 8D2
Y22.. 6M3, 7B2D
Y23.. 6V3, 7K2, 7L2, 8F2, 8G2
Y24.. 8K2
Y29.. 4P3
Y30.. 4N3, 4P3A, 5B6, 5F6, 5N5, 5S5, 5T5 and 5V5
Y31.. 4R3, 5A6
Y32.. 6N3
Y33.. and Y34.. 4X3, 5D6, 5R5, 6X3
Y34.. 6W3
Y35.. 4A4, D6, 5K6, 5L6, 5M6
Y37.. 5E6
Y40.. and Y41.. (3N1, 4F3, 5K5 = record players with amp.) , 5M5
Y44.. 3PA7 (tuner) and 7N2A (amp.)
Y46.. 4S3A
Y48.. and Y49.. 8P1, 9P1
Y49.. 1F1B, 9P1
Y50.. 2K1, 3L2 (record players with amp.)
Y60.. 3J2A (record players with amp.)
Y81.. and Y82.. 8N2
Y86.. combination of 12A2 + 4C4 + 8D3 

Each of the chassis family can have a different system of cabinet names and color scheme.

Each of the chassis families were treated a bit different. In common they have the case designation codes.

Example on case names for the Y33 series:
Y33.. are having the chassis 5D6 (like 6D6A, 6D6B, 6D6C, 6D6D, 6D6E and 6D6F).
One common schematic is for 6D6A, B and C for which Beitman lists 14 models (missing the model Y3343 "Lyric" in Ermine White. Other Y33.. are not included below:

Digit 3:
2 = Overture
3 = Serenade
4 = Lyric
5 = Duet
6 = Tempo
7 = Fiesta
8 = Marquis

Digit 4:
0 = grey
1 = black, here "Baltic Black".
2 = white, here "Coral White".
3 = white, here "Ermine White".
4 = pink, here "Cameo Pink".
6 = yellow (incl. gold), here "Ming Yellow".
7 = beige, here "Brighton Beige".
8 = green, here "Grotto Green" or "Tempra Turquoise".
9 = blue or grey (am = gray), here "Beryl Blue", "Beyl Blue/White") or "Magna Gray".

Admiral (brand) Continental Radio & Television Co.
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand