Arvin Radio model 927 "Rhythm Queen"

(Noblitt-Sparks Industries)



The re-inauguration of a "Queen"
(restoration of the Arvin "Rhythm Queen")
the Arvin "Rhythm Queen" model 927 circa 1936

This rare beauty was given to me by my brother George about 15 years ago and I finally completed the restoration. While visiting my family & home town, George showed me his acquisition and  I immediately fell in love with the dial and style of this seldom seen set. George had given it his best effort in a cabinet refinish job and stored it in my mothers closet pending further tasks to complete the job. The speaker was missing, knobs long gone, the grill cloth was a piece of burlap and the chassis was quite crustily and rather" unwholesome to look at. When I told my brother I would like to restore it for my collection, he generously obliged with a gift to me of this fine radio. Below are some of the details behind this (one of my most ambitious) restorations.

Getting it home I then packed and shipped it from Kentucky to my home in Oregon, shipping the chassis & cabinet in separate boxes. It remained packed in those boxes for about 6 years before moving to Washington state and here it remained untouched for another 7 years. I wanted to restore it but every time I thought about how ugly & dirty the chassis was plus the fact that I did not have knobs & speaker just caused further procrastination.

the chassis before restoration, click any above image to enlarge

Missing parts At one of our local swap meets last year I found a speaker of the right size and type and it even had the "Arvin" name on it. I purchased it hoping it would have the correct specs to go with the chassis and I "lucked" out! With that, I decide to tackle the task of binging this baby (uh..."Queen") back to life. As for knobs I found a fellow that duplicated for me a nice original looking set made of hardwood and now have his services listed on the "resources" page of my site.

The chassis The physical construction of the chassis is quite unusual and in no way represents the typical inexpensive construction of most "Arvin's". A shallow design of two separate chassis's with the RF section floating in the middle of the main one. The main chassis is form pressed of 13 gage steel (not a budget minded process).

The challenge The capacitors used (and there are many) are all mounted above chassis in steel cans (and of course all leaky). With the shallow chassis this presented a bit of a problem of the normal practice of installing new ones on the underside while leaving the old cans in place. This was not possible (at least not in a neat manner). So I decided that I would remove all the cans and re-stuff them. Removing all the chassis components was necessary anyway in order to do a proper job of cleaning.

Cleaning the chassis All components were removed except the tube sockets in order to clean the caked on crud. First a drawing was in order to make it easier to re-install these parts. Then the RF sub-chassis was removed along with the dial mechanism and tuning condenser. The rusty and crusted areas were first scraped with a sharp putty knife, then wire brushed to remove the scale & built up stuff. I then cleaned the chassis with a product called "Flash" and industrial metal cleaner. This finalized the process and brought the chassis to nice clean metal finish. The tuning condenser was washed (first I removed the mica trimmer insulators) in a solution of ammonia and a product called "Oil Eater". After it was cleaned & thoroughly dried I checked it for shorts using my Heathkit IT-28 capacitor checker with 300 volts applied. By applying high voltage across the capacitor plates this will also burn away any of the crystalline "whiskers" that are sometime present in tuning condensers. The tuning condenser was remounted and the RF chassis reinstalled. Below is the chassis after restoration.

Arvin 927 "Rhythm Queen" Chassis after restoration

Rebuilding the "canned" capacitors As with all my restorations, I wanted to keep the above chassis looking 100% original. All the original capacitors were removed from the chassis and gutted This was done by carefully sawing off a small section of the bottom and removing the insides. New capacitors were then stuffed inside the original and filled with non viscous epoxy. After the epoxy cured, if the leads were not long enough, they were bent to form a small circular terminal connections. The large electrolytic capacitors were also done in the same manner except I did not fill them with epoxy, the modern replacements were just held in place inside the cans with a little RTV.

click on any above images to enlarge

After all was re-assembled, I performed a complete RF-IF alignment. All fell into place beautifully and this gorgeous radio now sets proudly in my little "museum as one of my favorite consoles. For those who like chassis images, here's some of the parts ready to assemble and finished images of the chassis.

Performance Over-all the set is an excellent performer with very good full range sound, very good selectivity & sensitivity. I might add that this model incorporates the hard to find, odd-ball 6N6G tubes in the push-pull output stage.

Final steps The chassis is suspended (front & back) in place with four rubber grommets, these two had to be replaced as the originals were badly deteriorated. New ones were fabricated by first creating a proper shaped mold and then making new mounting grommets from RTV.

 < beautiful reproduction dial available for the above
 < reproduction set of the above grommets
The Radio is no longer available
© C.E. Clutter


Member of:
Northwest Vintage Radio Society

Member of:
Antique Wireless Association