The bakelite RCA

I don't know very much about this radio. From all I have been able to find out, it was made by RCA Victor in Chile approximately in 1948, based on a slightly older RCA design. It uses a standard all-american-five circuit, based on the following tubes: 12SA7GT converter, 12SK7GT IF amp, 12SQ7GT detector, AGC and audio preamp, 35L6GT power amp, 35Z5GT rectifier. Many millions of radios must have been made to this design, all over the Americas.

This radio used a resistive power cord. The tubes added up a voltage requirement of about 107V, and the excess from the 220V power line was burnt up in this resistive cord. Probably all older people living in 220V countries still remember these thick cords, that got warm in use, were not allowed to be coiled up or stored in close space, and that could suddenly burst up in flames! Well, the resistor in this radio's cord is bad, and so I had to install an internal dropping resistor for the filament string.

But this radio is small, and almost tightly closed on the back! So the inside gets too hot, and I can use this radio for no more than about 10 minutes at a stretch.

The cabinet is made from a single piece of bakelite, and fits tightly around the chassis. No space is left unused. The dial is on the top. The radio covers the broadcast band and the lower zone of short wave.

The cabinet was very dirty and scratched. I disassembled everything, and washed the cabinet in hot water, using strong soap, and also I used turpentine, lacquer thinner, and anything else I could find. Bakelite is nearly indestructible by chemistry! It cleaned up quite well. Then I used several layers of good paste wax to fill in the scratches, and the radio looks almost new!

The metal strip at the dial is gold-painted. It was heavily rusted, being cheap steel. I sanded away the rust, applied a primer, and then applied gold paint of the original type, which is still made here in Chile!

I could not get all the dirt out of the speaker cloth. It even has green paint speckles. Apparently painters loved to listen to radios while they worked!

The knobs are totally nonoriginal, and I don't know how the original knobs looked.

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