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Vintage Radio

The rare Edison R6 console receiver

By Rodney Champness

Despite his well-known association with the cylinder phonograph, the name "Edison" is not usually associated with radio receivers. Indeed, most people are completely unaware that Edison was ever involved in the manufacture of radio equipment.

Click for larger image
The RF chassis (top) sits on a shelf, while the audio output/power supply chassis rests on the bottom of the cabinet. Note the retrofitted 240V-to-110V mains transformer at bottom right.

Edison’s association with radio manufacture came about when his company purchased the Splitdorf Radio Corporation of Newark in New Jersey, USA around 1928. Along with many other manufacturers in the 1920s, Splitdorf had been caught out producing too many radios for a contracting market at the beginning of the depression. As a result, the near-bankrupt company was taken over by Edison to become the Radio Division of Thomas A. Edison Inc.

Edison himself was not directly involved in the Radio Division, having apparently delegated that responsibility to his son Theodore. Their venture into radio manufacturing was to be short-lived however, with production ceasing by the end of 1930. Hence, only relatively few sets were produced by Edison and they are now quite rare.

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