Console Radios


This month’s radio is a console radio so we are doing a blog post dedicated to console radios. Console radios were the TV before the TV; they were the “centerpiece of entertainment”. In the late 30’s these radios were costly costing “then-year” hundreds of dollars. Our radio of the month- the 1938 Philco- is a perfect example of what original console radios looked like. Original console radios were tall and slender in “physique” and progressively grew shorter and wider in accordance with Art Deco design that became trendy.


There were many brands that produced console radios. Some of the popularized brands are RCA, Philco, General Electric (GE), Montgomery Ward (Airline brand), Sears (Silvertone brand), Westinghouse, Motorola and Zenith to name a few. These brands worked to produce competitively priced radios that could be afforded by the general public. Although console radios were expensive they were made to appeal to the general public/middle-class rather than the wealthy. There were a few models manufactured such as the Zenith Stratosphere that catered to the very wealthy consumers. Brands such as E.H. Scott and Silver-Marshall only produced high-end console radios that were for the affluent demographic. Their radios would sometimes cost more than a luxury automobile in the 30’s and 40’s.

The Zenith Stratosphere: