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Crosley Radio models - sources for the beginning 1921-1930

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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » MANUFACTURERS and TRADE NAMES (present in the museum) » Crosley Radio models - sources for the beginning 1921-1930
           
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For dating radio models correctly, best is to use primary sources from the manufacturer or brand.
Crosley Radio Corporation
handed over fliers and folders, was present with ads in magazines but also on exhibitions - and soon also published "The Crosley Broadcaster". Unfortunately primary sources are scarse. Therefore we are bound to also use secondary sources like books about antique radios etc. We give here an overview and at the same time use this thread to gather information. Some questions will be pending. Thanks for the help of Alan Larsen, USA! He is really caring for the history, not only collecting boxes.

Here we start with some listings from "Radio Collector's Guide 1921-1932" (RCG) by Morgan E. McMahon, just to overlook different years:

The years covered up to 1930 are in the first part, page 51 through 54, including AMRAD in 1930. The two years 1931 and 1932 (not separated) are found on page 205 through 207 for 80 models with 38 chassis. Such books were very helpful - in the time before Internet - but can not be complete or accurate.

Besides original sources, I used these well researched books (references):
[1] = Crosley: two brothers and a business ... by Rusty McClure, David Stern, Michael A. Banks.
[2] = Radio Manufacturers for the 1920's, Vol. I - by Alan Douglas (RMorg member).
[3] = The golden age of Radio in the home - by John W. Stokes (late friend).
All others are named when used (like "Radio Retailing" etc.).

Pre 1921:

When his "radio story begins", Powel Crosley jr was already rich from selling accessories for the Ford Model T through his company "Americo" ("American Automobile Accessories Company" with partners Ira J. Cooper and Powel Crosley, 1916 but 1917 Crosley bought out Cooper). By 1918 a move had to be done to 1601 Blue Rock Street (six hundred square feet). The company grew to nearly 100 people. But when in 1919 cord tires came into use, he was in trouble and began to produce phonographs by buying Charles Kilgour's woodworking shop on Vanalia Avenue that made phonograph cabinets. The mechanisms were ordered by brother Lewis. January 1920, the first ads were published in "Talking Machine Dealer". Crosley's "Amerinola" were priced half of the usual cost and could even be bought on credit. He then bought National Label Company - to print his own catalogs, fliers etc. Because he managed to get a big Sears order, he hat do buy a two-story building at 365 Gulow Street.  [1]

Both pictures are from "Crosley: two brothers and a business ..." by Rusty McClure, David Stern, Michael A. Banks.

Someone who is interested in the whole history of Crosley Radio including environment, should have read the very intensively researched book.

Essential product of Crosley's "Americo" 1916 How "Americo" advertised in 1919

 

1921: Crosley Manufacturing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. (first name)

History for the year:

In the book "Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's", by Alan Douglas, you see in volume 1, page 110 the start of Powel Crosley who was first with automobiles etc. In 1921 (February 21 [1]) he wanted to buy a radio for his son Powel III and was shocked about the price (130 $ or 119 $ depending on source) he would have to pay. He made a detector and then an audion and heard Precision's (brand ACE) station 8XB. Then he designed a tube socket of porcelain ("Better - costs less" was born [1]) and a simple wooden variable condenser, which he patented December 7, 1921 (filed). Crosley made also radio cabinets for private set builders - and later in the year also for radio manufacturers, for instance for Grebe. [2] Crosley had Midwest Radio to build a 3 tube set and a woodworking shop to build a cabinet for it. [1]

In 1921, Americo retooled its production to produce the first Crosley radio - and changed the company’s name to Crosley Manufacturing Co.

About in June, Crosley set two students of the University of Cincinnati to a co-op program, Dorman Israel and Emer Hentz at work to build the first Crosley radio in a part time job until 1923 (Israel went much later to Emerson). In September, the Crosley Crystal Receiver went on sale. The old English word "hark" gave it the name Harko. In July 1921 Powel Jr added a transmitter to become a broadcaster and got the license on July 1st for station 8XAA. The transmitter was a 4-tube 20 watt model. End of 1921 Hoover banned the amateurs from broadcasting and also 8XAA had to stop. March 1922 received a limited commercial license (#62) for 50 watts from Hoover and the Department of Commerce - for broadcast on 360 meters with the call sign WLW - to be shared with Precision Audio license #29 (December 31, 1921), WMH. It started March 23rd. [1]

Radio models and radio parts:

Harko (Crystal set). We should know the date of the first ad for this model. On the ad from October 1921 of "Radio News", page 314, it was called "Crosley Crystal Receiver" - "No batteries, tubes etc. required". Still it was offered with a battery for the interrupter for crystal testing including this item - for $ 7. Phones extra. The same ad offers the "Crosley Variable Condenser". A month later it had its name: "Harko Radio Receiver".

Ace AVC (ACE Regenerative Receiver Type AVC) - see also "Precision Equipment". On page 137, RCG mentions "Precision Equipment Co." only with a note "SEE Crosley Radio Corp." - what is wrong at that time.

Crosley Magfon was advertised in June 1921 "Radio News", p. 886 for $ 10. Not listed in RCG.

There is an ad in "Radio News", October 1921, page 314 and in "QST" of the same month for the "Crosley Variable Condenser" and the "Crosley Crystal Receiver" for $ 7 - which are not listed in RCG. Those are Crosley's first advertisings for radio and in the next month he added "Harko" to the same model. But also in October, Crosley offered different cabinets. The V-T-Socket was patented in December but I found an ad in QST July 1921 on page 115 (Dept. Q.S.T. #2) with a price of 60 cents and a picture of the first version, still shown also in February 1922. In the July 1921 ad can be read: "Watch for our announcement of new $ 1.00 Variable Condenser. We are also manufacturers of cabinets, Crosley Magfon, and other radio apparatus." Each different Crosley ad shows also a different department like "Radio Dept No. R-4B" for "Crosley Cabinets".

The three advertisements from 1921 have been given by member Alan Larsen.

They proove that in October 1921 the Crosley Crystal Receiver had this name (above left) but in the ad of next month, November 1921, it was called "Harko Radio Receiver" (above).

The third picture (left) is not from the magazine "Radio News" but from the magazine "Wireless Age".

The slogan "Better - - Costs Less" can be seen on all three advertisements. The reason was that the Crosley V-T (porcelain tube) socket for 60 cents whas then not only cheaper tan other products but really better - for then used bright emitter tubes, which got very hot.

 

1922:

History for the year:

See also the article: "Crosley 1922: a problem year"

In March 1922, besides the Harko Senior, also a two stage audio amplifier was offered for it in a matching cabinet. Soon Crosley sold 250 units of Harko Senior sets. At the same time some radio magazines, like "Radio Broadcast" (May 1922) and "Popular Radio" began to enrich the radio industry. In 1922 often companies could not fulfill their orders due to the too big demand. In 1922, RCA had a market share of only 20% of which Westinghouse made 40% and GE 60%. In May 1922 Crosley could move into the new 3 story brick-and-stone building at the corner of Colerain Avenue and Alfred Street, two miles south of Blue Rock, a building with thirty thousand square feet of space. By June, 500 radios a day were made, offering Harko Senior Model V, model X and model XV.[1]

In Summer 1922 the sunspot interference peaked and sets without regeneration had poor and only local reception. Also the many stations on 360 m became a big problem. Many sets came back from customers and piled up. The missing regeneration, a patent from Armstrong, was badly missed. In December Powel entered into an agreement with Tri-City Manufacturing in Davenport, Iowa, to assemble sets for Crosley with parts crosley shipped to them - for the Crosley model V - which is a Harko Sr. with regeneration built in. A metal faceplate shows: "Crosley regenerative tuner manufactured exclusively for Crosley Manufacturing Co., Cincinnati by Tri-City Radio Electrical Supply Co., under license under Armstrong U.S. Patent No. 1,113,149, October 6, 1914, for use by Radio Amateur stations ...". Tri-City was also manufacturing receivers for the Montgomery Ward chain store, subcontracting Briggs and Stratton of Chicago. Crosley was then one of the largest radio manufacturers, producing in three Crosley factories. Crosley sent out the first "Crosley Radio Weekly". 20 Million $ was the turnover for 1922.[1]

Hoover set up another broadcast wavelenght, 400 meters and a Class "B" station with a minimum of 500 watts. Crosley applied for that license and set Dorman Israel to work for a new transmitter and antenna. By November WLW could be heard from coast to coast - because the station operated at times with up to a thousand watts.[1]

Crosley for a short time made also headphones. "For a short while during 1922 a wooden cabinet containing an enclosed horn was produced as "Magfone". A single headphone earpiece is the driver unit." [3] In fact, "Magfon" (without the e) was advertised in June 1921.

Radio models and radio parts:

C.R. No-1 "Radio News" September 1922 as Crystal Receiver No. 1 for $ 25.

RFTA Amp. "Radio News" September 1922 for $ 15.
This is worth an article by Konrad Birkner. See there why this was in fact a TRF Audion.

Audion Det "Radio News" Febraury 1922 with overhanging lid and September 1922 as Crosley Audion Detector Unit without overhanging lid (for $ 7.50 - or 7 ?).

Two-Step Amp (first version with front switch)
"QST" July 1922, featured on page 135 no price), together with Harko Sr. V.
Two-Stage A.F. Amplifier 2-Step A.F.Amp. (without front switch)

Harko Sr = Harko Senior Regenerative, made by Tri-City (Tresco, December 1922).

The first Harko Senior is most probably the one with only a 3 step switch and overhanging lid. See the ad February 1922 in "Radio News", page 725. In May, "Radio Broadcast", page 81 is shown the combination with 2-Step-Amp, the Harko Senior having a 5 step switch and overhanging lid. All other ads we know show a 7-step switch and we don't know of existing others.

Harko Sr, also called Harko Senior first is without regeneration. For some time it has an overhanging lid cabinet, then an integrated lid. We don't know yet if the different construction of the Rheostat fall into the same change and why the schematic shows only 6 positions, but the model shows seven - all with wire connections. In December a Crosley ad shows 3 different models without regeneration, V-A, V-B and V-C and with the same model name but made by Tri-City - with regeneraten: V-A, V-B and V-C. There are also Harko Senior combinations offered like the Harko Senior Audion Receiver + Two-Step Amplifier Combination and the Harko Sr. + RFTA + Two-Step Amplifier Combination.

Harko Sr Audio We believe that this is an error at RCG it
is probably the Harko Sr. Amp. or Harko Senior V. below. But we have to clear the pictures and dates of the Harko. We show 9 Harko models.

Harko Sr. V
(V = number 5) "Non-regenerative, which means easy to tune without distortion."
"QST" July 1922, featured on page 135 for $ 20, together with "2 Step Amplifier" (no price).
"Radio News" September 1922, as No. 5 for $ 20. See also the Harko Senior V + Two-Step Amplifier Combination

Crosley VI (VI = Receiver No. 6) We show also a Special VI for 1922/23.
Ace Tru Concert Receptor (see the notes on the model regarding ACE/Crosley).
Ace We have no evidence for 1922 and believe it is a 1923 model.
IV (IV = number 4). We have no evidence for 1922 and believe it is a 1923 model.

X (X = number 10 - with arrow knobs) We added "Type 1" - see the ad below with picture and "Radio Broadcast Magazine" May 1923 ($ 55).
There may also be this model X (10) as an other version (? I have to clear the versions ..) - also $ 55.


XV (XV = number 15) The XV is a X with speaker ($ 70) - early version.
XX  (XX = number 20). XX is a model X with console. We call this "Early" ($ 100).
"Radio News" September 1922 , full page ad (Alan Douglas I, page 116) shows the three X models plus Crystal No.1 (fro $ 25), Audion Detector Unit ($ 7.50), Harko Sr. 5 ($ 20), R.F.T.A. Unit ($ 15), Receiver 6 ($ 30) and Two-Stage Audio Freq.Amp. ($ 25).

In February 1922 Crosley Mfg. Co offered in "Radio News" The Variable Condensers (new model C), Cabinets, Vario Couplers, Variometer parts, Rheostats see separate the Vario-Coupler page and the V-T Socket - besides the following sets: "Two Step Amplifier" (RCG), "Harko Radio Receiver" (RCG = Crystal Receiver), "Harko Senior Radio Receiver" (RCG = Harko Sr, in Dec. made by Tri-City) and "Detector Units" (in RCG named "Audion Det." - see all above). We show a page with 8 different "Various Combinations" suggested by Crosley.

In 1922 Crosley offered also a Crystal Detector Stand Wireless Specialty App.Co. - a part for building an individual own Crystal Receiver. See also the "Early 1922 Crosley Radio Products Catalog". There you see that the Harko Radio Receiver was also offered inclusive antenna etc. to $ 15 - and other information. ou find the Harko Senior with 5 step switch on page 4 or the Crosley Sheltran Audio Frequency Amplifying Transformer, Switch Taps, Binding Posts, Rheostat A for 6 ohms and Rheostat B for 4 ohms, 3 Amp. etc. The peep holes have no metal rim but the V-T socket has already "hollow throats".

Late models 1922/23:
In January 1923 Crosley had 6 big ads, covering pages 82 through 87 for new products. They were likely done in October 1922 - for the Christmas business. Alan Larsen: "There are a couple glaring errors in these ads as well on page 83 the advertisement for the Model XII-S states it is a four tube model but pictures a three tube VIII chassis and on page 87 the XV is labeled as a VX. Since the XII-S was a new model the ad was probably hurriedly put together."

CONDENSO-UNIT (picture missing yet)
DE-AMPLO-UNIT (picture missing yet)
DETECTO-UNIT (picture missing yet)
DUO-AMPLO-UNIT (picture missing yet)

TUNO-UNIT (picture missing yet)

The featured models were X (p. 82), XII-S, VI-S and VIII-S (p. 83), VI-P, VIII-P, Condenso-Unit, Detecto-Unit, Tuno-Unit (p. 84), De-Amplo-Unit, Duo-Amplo-Unit, Socket Adapter, price reductions for Harko Sr. V and Tos Steo Autiod Amp. (p. 85), VI, RFTA, V-T Socket, Variometer, Vario-Coupler and Rheostat (p. 86), X in cabinet as XXV, XX and VX (p. 87).

We have to clear the following models: VIII VIII-S and XII-S if they are really for 1922. I think 1923.

Part of page 11 Crosley catalog late 1922. 6 different Harko Senior.
Most of the early Crosley Harko sets have a stamped front panel for the legends.
There was also a later Harko Senior made that shows an engraved front panel.
This set has the Crosley logo with the lightning bolt through it and below it it has
"Harko Senior" engraved in the front panel.
There is quite some work open to get the different variants with pictures.

 

Picture from member Alan Larsen. This here was written by him on his 3rd day as a new member!

Only with some tricks, Crosley could withstand the problem of the sunspot interference mentioned above. One was the RFTA: Konrad Birkner's summary: "The so called Radio Frequency Tuned Amplifier RFTA is in fact a tuned audion. To achieve amplification in combination with HARKO Senior it was named Amplifier, not to confuse customers. By swopping tubes and shortcutting a component the combination acted as a tuned audion with RF-stage." Different models can be detected as early and others as late by the construction of the Rheostat. First it was common, from about October 1922 it showed an interesting own construction. See below. The Audion "grid combination" is in one piece.

The RFTA with the new type Rheaostat. Picture Alan Larsen.

 

The next thread (also in work) covers "Crosley season 1931/1932 in primary sources: Radio Retailing" (which is not yet public), followed by "Crosley 1932" (not yet public) and "Crosley folder 1933/1934, comparisons with Radio Retailing".

Attachments:

This article was edited 15.Mar.12 19:47 by Ernst Erb .

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Still in work ! All posts below ...

 

1923: Crosley bought Precision Equipment (ACE) in January

History for the year:

In the first days of the year, Powel bought Precision including the station, store and remaining stock for 40 thousand dollars and then Lewis had to close that company, hiring some of the personnel. Sets that came back could now get the regenerative circuit, a nwe nameplate and could be sent out again. The name plate was similar of that for Tri-City sets but read "Precision Equipment Company, of Cincinnati Ohio, Powel Crosley, Jr., President". A full page appeared in Febraury 1923 "Radio Broadcast" about the acquisition.[1]

Models offered:

Ace TRU
3B Ace
3C Ace
V Ace
V Special
VC
VC and 2A Ace
VI
VI Portable
VIII
VIII Portable
XJ Puper, XL
XII
Harko Sr. Reg.
XXV

 

Crosley Mfg. Co., ad in "Popular Science", March 1923, page 96 - mentions:
Model X, four tubes for $ 55. One tube regenerative receiver for $ 16 (made for us).
Console XXV for $ 150.

 

Ad in "Radio Broadcast Advertiser" May 1923.
You can compare the Harko Senior with the ones from 1922.

We have yet to find any documentation from Crosley on what were the differences
in the Harko Senior V-A, V-B, V-C, Vc or V-D or ....

 

This article was edited 20.Feb.12 15:43 by Ernst Erb .

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1924:
Ace 3C
Super VI
Super XJ, XL
XL
50
50 and 50A amp.
50P
51
51 and 51A amp.
51P
51S
51SD Special DeLuxe
52
52P
52S
52SD Special DeLuxe
Trirdyn 3R3 Panel
Trirdyn 3R3 Stand.
Trirdyn 3R3 Special
Trirdyn 3R3 Panel
Trirdyn 3R3 Newport
Trirdyn 3R3 Biltmore
Trirdyne 3R3 Super $ 50
Trirdyne 3R3 Super $ 60

 

 

 

"Popular Science" May 1924 (3 parts).

 

 

"Popular Science" November 1924, page 1.

 

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1925:
Pup
Super-Trirdyn Regular
Super-Trirdyn Special
Super-Trirdyne DeLuxe

October 1925 in "Popular Science", page 1: "Crosley Super-Trirdyn Special" $ 60, Crosley Musicone $ 17.50 and the "Super-Trirdyn De Luxe Combination" = "Super Trirdyn De Luxe" $ 60, "Musicone De LuxeW $ 27.50 and "Console Table" $ 25, complete $ 112.50.

 

"Popular Science", March 1925, page 1.

 

"Popular Science" September 1925, page 1.

 

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1926:
4-29
4-29P
5-38
5-50
5-75
5-90
RFL60
RFL75
RFL90

December 1926: Ad in "Popular Mechanics", page 130: "Pup" $ 9.75, "4-29" 4-tube, Crescendon equipped $ 29, "4-29 Portable" (RCG = 4-29P) $ 33, "5-50" for $ 50, "RFL-75" with "true cascade amplification $ 65, "5-75 Console" (5-50-receiver, Musicone speaker) $ 75, "Musicones" 12" for $ 12.40, "Super Musicone" $ §4.75, "Musicone Deluxe" $ 23.50 and a "Musiconsole" with room for batteries and accessories $ 32. A small notice mentions: "Heade Phones" $ 3. The main offer is the 5-tube "5-38" for $ 38. Crosley features "Crescendon", a knob for distant (weak) reception, all-metal shielded chassis, singel-dial station selector (single drum control) and "The Acuminators", for tuning weak stations - one can wonder what is the difference to the "Crescendon".

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1927:
6-60
6-85
AC7 (Balanced Input)
AC7C (Balanced Input)
Bandbox 601
Bandbox 602

 

"Popular Science" October 1927.

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1928:
Bandbox Jr. 401
Bandbox Jr. 401A
Gembox 608
Gemchest 609
Gemchest 610
Jewelbox 704
Jewelbox 704A
Jewelbox 704B
Showbox 705
Showbox 706

August 1928 there is an ad in "Popular Mechanics" which shows the "8 Tube AC Electric Jewelbox" for $ 95, the "8 Tube AC Electric Showbox" $ 80, the "6 Tube Improved Battery type Bandbox" $ 55, the "5 Tube Dry Cell operated Bandbox Jr." $ 35, and the loudspeakers "Dynacone" $ 25 and "Musicone" $ 15.

 

"Popular Science" January 1928 - about  the "AC Bandbox" in different cabinets.

 

 

ith Radio Retailing".

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1929:
708 Showchest
804 Jewelbox
20
21
22
30
31
32
40
41
41A
42
60
61
62
82
83
30S Mnotrad
31S
33S
34S
408 Unitrad
41S
42S
45S
82S
60S
61S
62S
63S

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Magazine "Women's Home Companion", October 1930, page 143.
The same models are shown in "The Crosley Broadcaster" September 1930, page 16.
"The Pal", "The NEW Buddy" and "The Mate" share the same chassis.

 

1930:
Chum
Playmate
Comrade
Buddy
26H
Crony 26J
Partner 26K
Mate 53E
Pal 53F
Wood's Desk 53M
New Buddy 54G
Director 76A
Director 77A
Arbiter 77B
Rondeau 84C
Sondo 84D
Roamio 90 (Car Radio)
Buddy Boy
Classmate
Administrator

**************************************

The next thread (in work) covers "Crosley season 1931/1932 in primary sources: Radio Retailing" (which is not yet public), followed by "Crosley 1932" (not yet public) and "Crosley folder 1933/1934, comparisons with Radio Retailing".

  
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