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Vintage Radio

This simple little receiver is an excellent example of a 3-valve TRF set from the mid-1920s and has quite reasonable performance. Its exact origin is somewhat obscure, however.

By Rodney Champness, VK3UG

In the early days of radio/wireless, many listeners used home-made receivers to pick up the broadcasts. Some early experimenters even made some of the components and only bought those parts they couldn’t make themselves, such as valves. Of course, this strictly wasn’t necessary as many companies supplied a variety of parts for radio constructors as well as making their own radios.

The set described here is owned by Mark and was restored by Marcus, both fellow club members. All of us are unsure as to whether it is a Kellogg receiver made by the Kellogg company, a home-made receiver made using Kellogg parts or a receiver built from a kit supplied by Kellogg.

In fact, it’s often not easy to be 100% sure as to whether receivers from the 1920s were home-made or built by a manufacturer. All used the ubiquitous breadboard construction style of the era, with the parts mounted on the top of the breadboard. As a result, it’s usually impossible to distinguish between home-made and commercial receivers on the basis of their construction.

Certainly, in those early days, there was no need to tip a chassis upside down to access components. In fact, there was no chassis – that innovation came towards the end of the 1920s.

The Kellogg company

In Australia, the name “Kellogg” is synonymous with cornflakes. However, the company we’re talking about here was started by Milo Kellogg of Chicago, who established the Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company in 1897. His factory concentrated mostly on telephones and telephone equipment and was quite a large concern.

Milo Kellogg was a prolific inventor and on one day in 1899 he was granted 125 patents for telephone-related equipment. Subsequently, when radio became the next technological advance, Kellogg began making components for receivers and other equipment. I am unsure as to whether they manufactured complete radios or not but they certainly made some high-quality components, as is evident from their 1923 catalog.

Kellogg remained an independent company until 1951 when ITT bought a controlling interest. The Kellogg name subsequently remained until 1962 when it became ITT Kellogg and then in 1965 it changed again to ITT Telecommunications. There were several other amalgamations into the 1980s and it is now a part of Cortelco.

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