Westinghouse Radio
model H-380TS




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Just another simple, plain-Jane cheap radio? hold on!

I became interested in radio about out the age of 12. More about my life and early years is available on the About Me page of my site.

Since the early 1950s I have been interested in, serviced, restored and owned most of the consumer electronic equipment. That included instruments that dated from the 'teens through present day. Such equipment include wireless gear, radio, television, stereo gear, electronic pianos and organs. During my early years it was quite common to find in the living rooms of most homes in my neighborhood, a radio made in the 1930s or '40s. Occasionally I would come across an early console radio made in the 1920s and was fascinated by the primitive technology of those early beasts. The massive coils, large tuning condensers, heavy transformers etc. The nearly indestructible build of many of those early console radios required two men to move 'em just intrigued me.

I have worked in the consumer electronics field all my life with the exception of my 4 year service in the USAF. There I served as a ground communications equipment technician. I'm experienced with every evolutionary stage of consumer electronic development from those early dinosaurs of the '20s, to the very sophisticated technology of the '90s.

After WWII many of the radios available in the late '40s were little different than what was available in the late '30s.

The '50s was real decade of change, thanks in part to the technology developed during and for the war effort, such as size reduction. The use of subminiature, miniature and multi-section tubes was on the rise. Then in the early '50s transistors were being incorporated in radio circuit design, Printed circuit boards, plug-in circuits (stage parts mounted in a self contained vessel that plug in like a tube). Other changes in electronic technology included; advancements with remote controls (mainly television), the introduction of 2 IF stages, in television (not really an improvement). Slim-line pictures tube with 90 degree deflection angle.  I'll stop here and address the radio pictured above.

Just when you thought you've seen it all!

Along comes the radio his article is about. I normally  (and I think most collectors) would not give such a radio a second look because of the simple, cheap & more modern, "boxie" look. It is plastic, quite small and as no real eye appeal. I purchased it at an antique shop in Multnomah village about 25 years ago because of its very low price and its "Like New" condition. It has sat as-found (until last week) in the laundry room of our home. I often looked at it and wondered why I still had such a simple looking, cheap radio sitting around.

Last week I removed it from the laundry room shelf to decide what to do with it. I must have peeked in the back at the time I bought it and felt there was something unusual about it because there is! It's from about 1953 based on SAMS index listings. Although its model number is not listed, indicating (to me) that not many of 'em were made or it may have been made in limited numbers for a special promotion or give-away. I state its from 1953 because the Westinghouse model numbers run in consecutive model & year numbers and that model puts it right during the 1953 time period.

Here's what's different and unusual; its quite tiny with the full miniature, AA-5 super-het tube line up. There is no metal chassis, no terminal trips. The chassis is of molded Bakelite with the tube sockets & IF transformer mounts molded in. Note the soldering posts, here are 10 of 'em, similar to the through-the-chassis dip-solder connections Zenith used in the '60s & '70s except these terminals are friction fitted on posts molded into the underside of the Bakelite chassis. The other connection points that are also molded into the chassis are simply the terminals of the tube sockets & IF transformers. Also note the molded cavity for the filter cap. I thought I had seem 'em all until this ... and not seen another radio chassis made like this one. Yes, I'm familiar with the Zenith 6D414 but its not quite the same idea.

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© C.E. Clutter


Member of:
Northwest Vintage Radio Society

Member of:
Antique Wireless Association