Silvertone Model 6356 Tabletop Radio (1939)


Radio collectors dream of finding an old radio untouched in its original box, but such dreams rarely come true. The owner of this Silvertone 6536 tabletop had that lucky experience, however.

Here is the radio as found—untouched and never used, exactly as it left the factory.

Here is the box, with its postmark dated December, 1939.


The 6536 is a five-tube battery powered radio, as you can see from its schematic. These so-called "farm" radios were designed for un-electrified rural areas. My Admiral 6T06-4A1 was another such set.

Since you can't buy exact replacement batteries any more, collectors power these radios with homemade battery packs or AC adaptors. The owner of this radio happened upon another lucky find: a vintage "Powr Shiftr," also made by Silvertone.


As the name suggests, the Powr Shiftr is an AC adaptor, which plugs into a wall outlet and provides power to a battery radio. In our Building section is an article with more info about powering battery radios.

Finding a never-used radio is like finding a never-built electronic kit. Should you try to use it or leave it completely untouched?

Although the radio was new when it left the factory, its capacitors have degraded with age during the last seventy years. This happens whether or not you play the radio. The same is true of the Powr Shiftr, which also contains capacitors.

To make such a radio reliable for everyday use, you should replace the old capacitors and clean and lubricate parts such as the volume control and tuning capacitor. If you're finicky about originality, you can hide the new capacitors in their original cases, a procedure called "restuffing" and described in my capacitor replacement article. Using that procedure, you could have a radio that looks like new and plays that way, too.

This radio doesn't belong to me. The photos were contributed by a visitor to this website.

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