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Showers Consola Radio
by Showers Brothers Furniture Co.

 

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Showers Consola model 20, ca: 1926
Click/Tap any image for enlarged view.
 

The images above are of the restored radio which I found more than 30 years earlier. When found it was missing the cabinet. The three Binocular style RF coils were crushed and damaged beyond repair. I acquired it as a naked chassis because of its beautiful front panel which was in perfect condition and complete with its original knobs and pointers.

About the Restoration

The images below show the radio before it was restored. For years I was on the hunt for a suitable cabinet to fit the radio, to find a set of replacement coils and learn something about its history.


NOS Bodine Coils

Unusual Audio transformer

above view B4 restoration

under chassis B4 restoration

The first binocular coil set I found were "Benjamin Lekeless Transformers" although a beautiful set of coils, they were not quite the same as the originals. I purchased them figuring I could make 'em work. Then at a Seattle swap meet some years later an NOS set of "Bodine" binocular coils showed up. I wasn't quite sure at the time they were the same as needed but made the purchase anyway and "Voila"; they were identical to those needed. Afterwards the coils and radio sat on my project shelf for many years in search of a suitable cabinet.

Last year during the initial "Covid" lock down, I dug a cabinet from my attic and worked to make it fit the subject radio chassis. After a bit of cutting, sawing and making some trim pieces, I had a fit.

The restoration went fairly well, removing the front panel was a quite an ordeal and a story in itself. When I saw the audio transformers, I figured I was in trouble. As most of you who restore radios of this era know, often  the "audio's" are found open. Those used in this radio, I had never seen before and there are 3 of 'em. The small size (only 1-7/16" dia.) and unique design did not appear they could easily be simply stuffed with transformers of modern design (as is usually the fix for open audios). The outer shell is made of solid iron or steel about 3/8" thick with an open slit about 3/8" wide its entire length. A threaded hole on the opposite end of the wiring terminals allow it to be secured to the chassis with a single screw. To my surprise and delight, all three transformers checked perfectly good! I stuffed the only foil capacitor used in the radio with a new 1 Uf in the original can. Did the same for the 3 meg grid-leak resistor. Then replaced the two open wire-wound rheostats.  The radio is an excellent performer, surpassing the performance of most 3 dialers.

I had gotten shed of my lacquers, toners and other refinishing supplies a couple of years earlier. So I ask my good friend Mike McCrow if he would do the refinish work needed on the cabinet that I had altered and made to fit the radio. He obliged and did an excellent job.

The following was gleaned from the August 1998 issue of Radio Age, a publication of MAARC (Mid Atlantic Antique Radio Club)

From Robert Goad's article (who also found and restored one of the subject radio's), Robert indicated; the radio was built by the Showers Furniture Company, Bloomington, IL. According to a 1928 ad in "Women's Home Companion", the company was the largest furniture company in the world. Showers Furniture Co. also made cabinets for other radio companies, including Crosley.

The radio was unique because as they (Showers) didn't want to have just have some radio company build them a radio with the "Showers" brand name on it. The Showers company hired their own engineers who designed the radio which was built in their own factory.

The radio was originally designated as model 20 and sold in large desk style console cabinets as models 448 & 556. Both models included a unique built-in speaker enclosure called the Puretone" which was designed by a college professor.
The radio was only made for only one year as they needed more space to build more cabinets for Crosley.

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