Miniature Radio and TV Replicas
Have you run out of room to display your collection? Consider miniature
replicas of radios and TVs. This photo shows a number of my
Let's discuss some individuals, beginning with a ceramic replica bank.
A few years ago, I was contacted by public radio station
WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky
(89.3 FM). The station's 50th anniversary was approaching and they wanted
to offer something different as a premium. I loaned them my
to use as a model, and they produced a limited edition of 200 replica ceramic banks,
handmade by the Louisville Stoneware Company. This photo shows the replica atop
my restored radio.
I don't know who got the other 199 replicas, but mine is labeled #127 on the bottom.
Truly a one-of-a-kind keepsake for my collection!
WFPL had an interesting origin. The FPL stands for Free Public Library, the central
library in Louisville. The first library-owned radio station in the world, they
initiated FM broadcasts in 1950, as an extension of the library's mission to inform
and educate the public. Since FM broadcasting was still in its infancy, patrons were
able to borrow FM radios from the library to listen to the new-fangled broadcasts.
The next photo shows my ivory Zenith R-514W clock radio and a little ceramic planter.
The planter is a bit cheesy, and has a little nick on a front edge, but it
must have been modeled after this radio, or one very similar.
The following photo shows my Emerson 511 "Moderne" radio with a
plastic bank patterned after the similar model 561.
The bank was probably a dealer giveaway, which encouraged people to save
money for a new Emerson radio or TV. The box says, "Emersonize your home"
on the top and "Style, tone, performance, value you can bank on"
on the front.
Although the bank is in a flashy red plastic, the only examples of that radio
that I've seen are in brown bakelite with gold accents.
Here are front and back views of the bank and its box.
Here is another plastic Emerson bank, this one fashioned after a model
648 "Ultrawave" television (1950). The screen shows a clown smelling a flower.
Here is a group of my smallest replicas.
On the left, standing about three inches
tall, is a modern Hallmark Christmas ornament. It is patterned after a 1930s cathedral
style radio. When you turn the knob, the dial lights up and the "radio"
plays fanciful old-time radio ads.
Next to the Santa radio is a toy television. Inside the screen is a cardboard circle
showing circus pictures, which you could rotate with your thumb. In my set, the
cardboard circle has been pushed back into the case, so you can't actually rotate it.
Next in line is a piece of dollhouse furniture which replicates an old wooden console radio.
The little red and white TV is a Viewmaster-like toy. You can look through a tiny lens
in the back and view a series of pictures by pressing a button on the bottom. The
pictures show dogs doing things like taking photos and drinking champagne.
Last in line is a TV pencil sharpener. Its screen is one of those plastic-coated pictures
that flips from one scene to another as you change the viewing angle. The picture
shown here is a rocket blasting off. The alternate picture shows a
Sputnik-like satellite hurtling through outer space.
The following photos show two more TV dealer novelties. On the left is a pencil
box designed after a 1950s Westinghouse television. The reproduction is very
detailed and the pencil box even swivels on its metal stand, exactly like
the real TV.
Next to the pencil box is a metal "TV Bank." The television
looks much like the Admiral model 20X12 (1949). Housed in what
many people say was the largest Bakelite cabinet ever manufactured, that set
is sought after by TV collectors.
These banks would be
ordered with the dealer's business address printed in back, as you can see
in the second photo. This one was supplied to the Warrick TV & Appliance Co.,
a dealer in Admiral and RCA televisions, in Silsbee, Texas.
The final piece in my collection of miniatures is a "Tele-Vision"
brand clock, designed to look like a TV.
Clocks of this type were quite popular. An early
mechanical digital clock, the numerals are printed on plastic wheels
which are driven by gears to display the time. The little
button in the center turns on an internal light.