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History of the manufacturer  

Radio Craftsmen Inc., The; Chicago (IL)

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Name: Radio Craftsmen Inc., The; Chicago (IL)    (USA)  
Craftsmen || Kitchenaire
Abbreviation: radio10
Products: Model types Others

Radio Craftsmen Inc. (RC): Founded 1947 by John Cashman but (most probably) the first product, Kitchenaire, was built already in 1946. The next products were RC1, RC2, (probably) RC5, RC8, RC10, RC100, RC100A, RC101, RC200 and RC201. Then (beginning SAMS 176-8 - or 1951 for production) the prefix RC was left out for models 2, 10, 202, 500 and 800. Later the prefix was C, CA, CP, CT and CTA.

The users now do often not distinguish between with C or without - but there are technical differences (often only inside). We are not yet sure about each peace and photos of name plates would be great. But RC2 or RC-2 etc. is the same.

Founded: 1947
Production: 1946 - 1956
Radio Craftsmen Inc. (RC);
"The Radio Craftsmen" seems to be founded in 1947 by John Cashman who before worked at Hallicrafters Radio Company. The first product (perhaps even before the official foundation of the company) is the very special designed kitchen radio "Kitchenaire". Shown by SAMS Photofact in October 1946, this date is for sure. But the aim was to develop and produce home audio and television sets. The schematics-licenses often came from Western Electric or RCA. It was the right time for High-Fidelity where companies emerged like McIntosh, Fisher, H.H. Scott (not Scott Radio Labs) and Harman Kardon.

Ed Miller and Sid Smith were the two major engineers until mid 50's. Ed Miller was the founder of Sherwood when he left RC in 1952 or 1953. Sid Smith left 1953 and joined Marantz where he got 1954 the post as chief engineer.

Probably the famoust products ar the Audio Amplifiers series 500: The first two generations of C500 were mostly engineered by Sid Smith and licensed by Western Electric. The first generation C500 was introduced in 1951. In 1952 the smooth corner version was replaced by the sharp corner version output. Radio Craftsman C500 is based on Williamson design which operates with 2 x KT66 output tube in triode but pure class A operation with 10 watt output. It has very natural, sweet, clear, realistic and transparent tone than many vintage and modern hi-fi amp.

The Radio Craftsman C500 was replaced by C500A in 1953 and the same year Sid Smith left Radio Craftsman. We believe the Radio C500A is the final work of Sid Smith. The difference between Radio Craftsman C500A is that it has much higher plate voltage in triode class AB and the output increase to 15 watts per channel. It also has a much larger size choke than C500, it as well licensed by Western Electric. The rectifier tube changed to 5U4G instead of 5V4G.

The final version is Radio Craftsman C550/C550A (engineered by Bob Grodinski) and they replaced Radio Craftsman C500A in 1954.
Naming the products:
In the first period - up to 1950 or 1951 Radio Craftsmen did write the prefix RC before the number for a model. Exceptions are the radios Kitchenaire and "6 tube kit". Then they used plain numbers and for some models a C. SAMS lists the following models with a C: C375, C400 and C550. Starting in (later) 1954 (model year 1953 or 1954) Photofact lists models for "Craftsmen" without "Radio", therefore the company is listed/filed at two places.

A comparison between the SAMS pictures for model 500 and 500A shows clearly that the name plate of the 500A reads only 500 - but the parts line-up picture on it shows clearly the other version! In the last years there are different prefixes like CA, CT, CTA and at last CP.

Since the public used the C or sometimes the RC instead of a plain number we sometimes have added such wrong naming becaue otherwise the model will not be found by such persons. We will try to upload real number plates if possible to clarify.
Mid 1950s RC was was about breaking even, financially. It was then bought by Precision Radiation Instruments, Inc. (PRI) of Los Angeles. PRI made inexpensive geiger counters for the public - for the "uranium rush" in Alaska in the early 1950s. They went also into the record business. But sales of the geiger counters soon dropped dramatically and their public stock had plummeted to near worthless. They then bought Radio Craftsmen. In 1958 they merged with "Tops Records" so that Tops could use the two-million-dollar tax loss of PRI against their profits. About 1960 a group of investers took over and the company was soon bankrupt. The assets were sold to Pickwick.

For sure is that the CP models were published by SAMS Photofact in 1957. Depending on the month theses sets have been made in 1956 (or 1957).

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  48 6 "tube kit" 12SK7GT  The Radio Craftsmen, Inc. model 6 "tube kit" (C-6 or RC-6) is an AC-DC operated superheter... 
USA  48 RC-8 FM-AM Tuner 6BA6  The model 8 or correct RC-8 made by "The Radio Craftsmen" is an AC operated FM-AM Tuner. 
USA  49–53 RC-10 (not 10) AM-FM Tuner 6AB4  The Radio Craftsmen model RC-10 (is not model 10, which dates 1951) is an AC operated AM-F... 
USA  51 RC-10 Tuner 6AB4   
USA  49–52 RC-200 TV-FM Chassis with Audio   The Radio Craftsmen model RC200 (as written on the name plate) is mentioned by SAMS Photof... 
USA  47–51 Hi-Fi Amplifier RC-2 6J5  The RC-2 is the first Audio Amplifier made by "The Radio Craftsmen", together... 
USA  51/52 500 (not C500) 10 Watt Audio Amplifier 6SN7GTA  The Radio Craftsmen model 500 (number plate only 500 !) is an AC operated audio amplifier ... 
USA  52–54 Ultra-Fidelity Amplifier 500A 6SN7GT  The Radio Craftsmen model 500A (number plate only 500 !) is an AC operated audio amplifier... 
USA  51/52 C500 (RC-500) 10 Watt Audio Amplifier 6SN7GT  The Radio Craftsmen model 500A (number plate only 500 !) is an AC operated audio amplifier... 
USA  53/54 C500A (RC-500A) 15 Watt Audio Amplifier 6SN7GT  The Radio Craftsmen model 500A (number plate only 500 !) is an AC operated audio amplifier... 
USA  54 C-550 (RC-550) 30 Watt Audio Amplifier 6SN7GTA  The Radio Craftsmen model C550 (RC550) is an AC operated audio amplifier for mono input (M... 
USA  54 C550A (RC550A) 30 Watt Audio Amplifier   The Radio Craftsmen model C550A is an AC operated audio amplifier for mono input (Mono Tub... 


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

Address ~1952tbn_us_the_radio_craftsmen_inc._address.jpg