Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dancing the Charleston to heavy metal

When this radio was new, Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States.

The Jazz Age was in full swing.

Flappers were flapping in speakeasies, and everybody was swilling bathtub gin. Wall Street was still flying high, and brother most certainly could spare a dime.

Not that you'd need him to.

This is an RCA Radiola 18, most likely in a custom cabinet. This is what you call heavy metal.

If you love vacuum tubes, this is your radio. See the big tube in the back? That's the rectifier, and it appears to be original to the set, manufactured sometime between summer 1927 and 1929. It's one of the earliest radio sets to run on "lamp current" --
that's 120 volts AC to you and me.

IN 1927, the norm was for your home radio (assuming you could afford one) to operate off of a couple of batteries -- one of them a big wet-cell not so different from what's under the hood of your car. That changed with the Radiola 17 and Radiola 18.

In 2011, this Radiola 18 still works just fine. A little arthritic, maybe . . . but aren't we all?

If you're not duly impressed
(and I add that, as far as I know, this old girl has never been restored), let me ask you something.

Do you think your iPod will still be functional in 2095?

Do you think you will?

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