Trophy Baseball Radio (1941)

     

One of the more unusual radios in my collection, the Trophy Baseball radio always draws attention.

This prewar novelty radio is fashioned as a baseball, with realistic printed markings. A plated medallion over the top vent identifies Trophy as the manufacturer. The power/volume control is on the left and the tuning knob is on the right. A second round vent is located in the bottom rear. The round speaker vent is located in the bottom front.

The case for this radio is made of cardboard, of all things. A printed paper cover is glued atop the cardboard to make the baseball pattern and lettering.

Trophy made another novelty radio using the same design, decorated as a bowling ball. It's a little hard to tell the scale in these photos. The ball is about nine inches in diameter and the radio stands about ten inches high including the base.

Inside the case is a conventional "All American Five" five-tube superheterodyne radio. As the next photo shows, it's a very tight fit!

Here is a view of the chassis after I restored the electronics. The tiny circular loop antenna mounts with a bracket on the back of the chassis. The quarters are so snug that you must loosen the antenna in order to remove the chassis from the case.

The performance of this simple radio is nothing to write home about. After recapping and alignment, the reception is only average, and the radio lacks automatic gain control (AGC), a modern feature that allows you to tune in both strong and weak stations with approximately equal volume.

In the previous photo, you can see a little "pigtail" wire attached to the loop antenna. This can be snaked down through the base and attached to a long wire antenna to improve reception somewhat.

Fortunately for me, our local baseball team broadcasts their games on one of the strongest local stations, so I'm able to enjoy listening to baseball on a baseball!

Every baseball radio that I've seen has wear similar to this one, with worn-away paint on the areas that were handled, and light brown stains near the bottom. I believe that a coat of shellac was used to provide some protection to the painted paper, but it melted over the years from the heat of operation and oozed down the outside, leaving amber stains.

I was able to remove some of the worst staining by rubbing very gently with a soft cloth and denatured alcohol. This tends to also remove the pattern from the paper, however, so if you have one of these radios, I would suggest simply leaving it alone. Restoring one of these to a "museum quality" level requires artistic skills far beyond anything that I've ever been able to achieve.

If anyone has a schematic for this radio, please contact me. I was able to restore it without a schematic, but like to have one for every radio in my collection.

Visitors to this website often ask questions about value. For what it's worth, the Slusser collector guide values this radio at $690-$800, depending on condition.

Spherical radios are not common. The construction is difficult, they tend to overheat, and they are also quite pesky to service. Other globe-shaped radios in my collection are the Colonial Globe, the Vista Globe, and the Weltron 2001 "space ball."

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