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Display and Preservation of Radios

Ernst Erb 
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Papers » To collect radios - but how! » Display and Preservation of Radios
Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
CH  Articles: 5254
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25.Mar.05 12:29

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Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   1 The following is an excerpt from "Radios von gestern", written in German by Ernst Erb [1-269]. The informaiton about this topic should reach every collector, as a collection can only claim to be a good collection if it possesses a "face"; i.e. it is presented in some orderly and logical fashion. That is also the opinion of Alfred Zeeb, Canada, who presented this translation to me to be published. I'm very grateful for this voluntary work as a member of our beloved (RMorg). 

Just lining up a number of very similar sets will wear out the eyes of the onlooker and quickly turn interest into boredom. The paragraphs following here attempt to show how a collection should be displayed, how its various components can be documented and how individual items should be stored to protect them from any harm over the course of time.
Displaying the Collectibles
As already mentioned before, a defining "line", a recognizable course or manner of procedure should be in evidence. The display of any collection will benefit from visual distractions which can be achieved through the hanging or placing of suitable items in appropriate spots.

Catching the eye will posters, enamel signs, suitably big-sized promotional material (leaflets, etc.), mounted company histories and similar items. Another good idea is to enlarge interesting schematics and suspend them, framed or mounted, next to the respective set. The same can be done with advertisments, leaflets and other related documents.

To counteract the monotony of a large collection, one usually emphasizes particular items, certain rarities or other uncommon pieces. That could also be predecessors of radios and related devices.
A great role, of course, plays the number of units available for display and the physical characteristics of the display space. In some cases it might be advisable to display smaller items under glass to prevent "shrinkage".

To protect individual sets against dust, hoods made from Plexiglas (or other transparent acrylic thermoplastics), even water tanks for fish (aquaria) turned upside down, can be used. Very good in terms of dust protection and optics are glass cases; unfortunately, they are also quite expensive.

Radios are heavy and require solid racks and equally strong shelves; especially if the display items are arranged on several levels above each other. There are all kinds of rack systems and designs may differ substantially. Very suitable for our purpose are systems which feature strong centre supports with cantilevers projecting horizontally on both sides and at different levels.

Care should be taken to not let the rack dominate the scene. This can be achieved by choosing an appropriate, non-obtrusive colour for the rack system, utilizing shorter brackets at the upper level(s) and placing the exhibits as far to the front edge of the respective shelf as possible.

Displays along a wall should be done accordingly, whereby a wall offers the added advantage of allowing for more creativity in interspersing visual distractions. Another possibility is provided by having a centre wall with cantilever racks on either side.
Preservation of stored Radios
Shortage of suitable display space may force many collectors to have the larger portion of their "treasures" somewhere in storage. There is a real risk that unsuitable storage facilities and only sporadic inspection will lead to unexpected damage unless the stored items are appropriately preserved and packed.

Ideally, the radios would be kept in a dark room at a constant temperature of 15 - 18 degrees Celsius and 45 - 55 relative humidity. In real life, these sets are often stored away in humid basements, hot attics or in a shed, a hobby room or similar location.

At least the more valuable radios should be removed from these unsuitable places to be protected from dust and possible vermin attack.

At the very least should a transparent sheet of polypropylene be drawn over the shelves. For viewing and inspecting it can be rolled up. A broomstick or similar may be used to hold down the cover and will also assist in rolling it back. All stored objects and plastic sheets are to be kept out of direct sunlight.
Better protection is provided by bags or hoods of transparent polypropylene (PP) with a thickness of approx. 0.05 mm and sufficient airspace between cover material and the object proper. One or several little holes for ventilation are a must to prevent condensation and/or other harmful processes.

Plastic bags of the type useful for this purpose are generally manufactured in large quantities; however, upon inquiry, the manufacturer will usually make a smaller number available. Solid PVC can also be used but will in general demand a greater effort in working with it. Also, on thermo-bonding, it will release small amounts of muriatic acid. If there is a risk of termites, death-watch beetles or similar (unlikely to happen these days in bigger cities), sets are to be tightly wrapped or otherwise protected  -  especially if there are areas of insufficient or damaged finish (lacquer, etc.) on soft wood. This would most likely be the case inside and at the bottom. There are also chemical products for situations when one cannot, or wishes not, to pack up a radio for a longer period of time.
Soft PVCs contain a softener which over some time will cause damage to the lacquer, and polyethylenes that may harm the set. Should ready-made hoods / covers not be available, it's relatively simple to make them. The type of polypropylene to be used is available on the open market. Any suitable household version of polypropylene thermo-sealing equipment will do.
As mentioned earlier, one each of the schematics, the owner's / operating manual, the "restoration history" and any replaced original components belong to each set.

Radios with a power transformer and, therefore, vulnerable electrolytic condensers, should be operated once a year for a short while. Failure to do so may require regenerating the electrolytic condensers before the set can be returned to regular operation. 
If you read to here, you have more than a casual interest in the subject. Surely, you can think of other important hints and tips that could be added for the benefit of all serious collectors. We will be glad to hear from you.

This article was edited 01.Apr.05 09:43 by Ernst Erb .

Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
CH  Articles: 5254
Schem.: 13504
Pict.: 27526
04.Aug.09 00:55

Count of Thanks: 30
Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   2

There are many articles about how to prepare schematics for upload to a model page. This is the most difficult "job" a member can do within
Often the whole process is not understood because members are sometimes used to store any type of image as .PJG - which in fact is optimized for smooth color changes and if picture storage size is reduced by using the quality the picture is not loss free: sharp changes like we know for writing or for schematics are lost ... Therefore we use .PNG or .GIF which is made for sharp changes and is stored loss free.

To show what we can achieve with our process which wraps the .PNG-8 into a PDF I have added here two attachments which then can be used for links in the forum or other places - and be studied also by guests. The schematics are scanned with 300 DPI.

The first schematic is for the USA version of SABA 4000 Automatic Stereo 11 Sonorama with 16 tubes and 22 tube functions on one standard sized sheet. Attachment two is for SABA Lindau Automatic 8 - with 12 tubes and 19 tube functions. Both you can enlarge to 400 % or look at the print out with a magnifying glass to read all the values for these exceptional radios. Just as a proof that our method for schematics is fine - but needs some skill if the schematic is that detailled.

Thomas Albrecht sent me an other schematic he has loaded up to Philco 37-670 and I publish it here also at his wish - to use also as reference. He wrote: "If you print it out and look at it next to the original, it is identical (or actually better, since contrast level is increased and paper blemishes don't show up)."

I add them to articles like "Schematics perfect with Irfanview ..." (but please use 300 DPI, not the old 200 DPI-instruction - and never shrink the size but only the grey scales.


This article was edited 04.Aug.09 10:59 by Ernst Erb .