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Zenith Alphanumeric Numbering System 1935 to 1949

Jürgen Stichling Ernst Erb Vincent de Franco Bernhard Nagel Mark Hippenstiel Bernhard Nagel Eilert Menke Dietmar Rudolph 
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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » MANUFACTURERS and TRADE NAMES (present in the museum) » Zenith Alphanumeric Numbering System 1935 to 1949
Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014
Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014
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25.Jun.10 16:19

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Zenith's Alphanumeric Numbering System 1935 to 1949

You have to know that Zenith and some other manufacturers (depending on the yeaars) have dated their models with one year advanced! So they call it 1936 when it is in fact sold in 1935 and was outdated in 1936 ... regards a model year as a model season with a "first year of sales ("from-year") and the last year of sales ("to-year"). Radios come on the market for Autumn (when daytime is shorter and one would like to listen to a radio) and X-mas. Sometimes they are on the market from July to July of next year. This is the big difference with cars which have a correct model year because they are mainly sold in Spring time.

Sorry, because of not caring sufficiently we still have to change our models concerning the right season!

For example 6 D 219 W (it says here 1938, but in fact should be 1937/38):

there are 4 groups:
1) a number (6), denoting the number of tubes
2) a letter (D), indicating power type needed, wavebands, etc.
3) a three digit number group (exceptional 2 or 4 digits), starting with the first digit (2) for the model year followed by the cabinet code (19)
4) sometimes a letter suffix (W) for cabinet or chassis versions

the meanings:
1) tube count is self explanatory (here a 6 tube radio)

2) A = 110 V AC, all wave (LW through SW)
    B = Farm Radio, 6 V storage battery
    D = 110 V AC/DC
    F = Farm Radio 2 Volt using A-B-C batteries. Some have Duplex Power (2 V or 6 V selectable)
    G = 110 V AC/DC and A-B battery pack selectable
    H = 110 V AC, FM band (early or late or both) 
    J = 110 V AC or 6 V storage battery, BC and SW
    K = Farm or Portable, using A-B battery pack
    L = Long wave and BC
    M = Automobile radio, battery powered
    P = 110 V AC, BC and police band
    R = 110 V AC, BC only, OR 110 V AC/DC with phonograph for 60 cycle (in fact AC only if  phono used)
    S = 110 V AC, BC and SW
    T = 110 V AC, BC and police
    U = 110 V AC, BC through ultra-SW (ca 45 MHz)
    V = Farm Radio, 6 V storage battery, with or without SW 
    W = BC and bandspread SW
    X = Farm Radio, 32 V, BC and SW

3) two digits means no Year code = 1935/36
first of three digits:
   1 = 1936/37
   2 = 1937/38
   3 = 1938/39
   4 = 1939/40
   5 = 1940/41
   6 = 1941/42
   0 = 1945/46 (the zero is used, not to be confused with 1936 when no zero was used)
   7 = 1946/47
   8 = 1947/48
   9 = 1948/49 
four digits: some 1941/42 sets show a leading 2 ahead of the model year number.
That indicates a wooden replacement cabinet due to plastics shortage,
e.g. wooden 6D2614 to substitute the bakelite 6D614, or 6D2620 for the 6D620.

4) letter suffix:
    A = Export, 110 - 250 V, additional phono jack and switch
   AT = Export, 110 - 250 V, 25+ cycles, additional phono jack and switch 
     B = Export
   BT = Export, 110 - 240 V, 50/60+ cycles
   CT = Export
    D = gray finish or blue/gray or gray airplane fabric. Auto dashboard controls
    E = major modification (chassis, tubes, speaker) or Export
    F = Lizard grainindigo blue
    G = green case or finish 
    H = Honey-maple finish 
   JJ = Phonograph substitution 
    J = Phonograph substitution 
    L = long wave band or Cowhide leather case
  LP = Long play 33 phono installed along with 78 speed and stylus
    M = Marine version, brown airplane fabric, brown leatherette, or mahogany finish
  MH = Marine version, brown and ivory fabric
  ML = Marine version, synthetic brown Alligator fabric
    P = patriotic color harmony: red, white and blue
    R = chassis revision modification, or red case or finish or mahogany finish 
    S = synthetic rawhide, Steering column controls (auto)
    T = modification added to chassis
    Y = black case / fabric / finish
    W = white, ivory or bone white case or finish
     X = modified chassis or cabinet variation
    Z = major modification (chassis, tubes), no handle, or provision for handle, etc.

Our example  6 D 219 W = 6 tubes, 110 V AC/DC, 1938, cabinet 19, white

H.Cones, J.H.Bryant, and M.Blankinship: Zenith, The Glory Years, 1936-1945, Illustrated Catalog & Database.
Note: They did not consider the real manufacturing (state of technique) and sales year but have gone "the easy way" ... (blue is done by EE, June 27).

This article was edited 27.Jun.10 21:01 by Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014 .