Farm Radios
of the 1930s



LINKS eBay Feedback/Auction INFORMATION CONTACT updated 8/04/2017

Atwater-Kent, a popular
1924 battery radio

typical mid '30s farm radio

a typical late 40s, small
battery operated portable

Few homes in rural areas of the country were wired with AC power during the 1920s - late '40s.

Farm radios were made to operate from a local type DC power line, a battery package, car battery or a windmill. The typical 1920’s battery radios do not fall into the category of a “Farm Radio”.

DC power line: The most common of DC power supplied to homes in some areas was 32 volts. Many companies made radios that would operated on 32 volts DC.

Battery Package: The most common type of Farm radio requires a battery package or battery-pac. These “battery-pacs” where so called because they contained all the voltages in one package needed to operate the radio. There are some exceptions where some radios may require two “pacs” (one for the “A” supply, another for the rest of the voltages).

These “battery pacs” were usually unique to the brand and model of the particular radio. Early on, they had to be purchased from the dealer that sold that model radio. As the popularity of these radios increased, most battery companies (Ray-O-Vac, Burgess, Eveready etc.) offered their version for a replacement battery package.

Windmill or Car battery: This type of radio usually had a “vibrator” type of power supply that converted  a 6 volt DC source to 110 volts pulsed DC which fed the radio’s primary of a power transformer.  The power transformer operated as if it were supplied with AC. Some of these type radios where universal and had a switch to also operate on 110 volts AC or DC. Some windmills would supply a charging voltage to keep a 6 volt car battery or a radio’s battery charged. Rural folks would usually have more than one battery (depending on their financial situation), one set for their vehicle (if they had one) another for the radio.

Information about 1920's battery radio speakers

Information about 1920's battery powered radios


© C.E. Clutter


Member of:
Northwest Vintage Radio Society

Member of:
Antique Wireless Association