Admiral Model 6T06-4A1 Battery Radio (1946)


I own lots of battery-powered tube portables, and my TransOceanic radios are pretty hefty battery sets. But this was the first battery tabletop radio in my collection.

This is a large tabletop radio, measuring about fourteen inches high and a foot and a half wide. It uses four low-voltage tubes (1A7ST, 1N5ST, 1H5ST, and 3Q5ST) and requires a two-voltage A-B battery, supplying 90 volts in one section and 1.5 volts in the other.

Many people called these "farm radios." If you lived in an un-electrified rural area, as my Dad did during his childhood, a battery radio was the only alternative. This particular radio used dry cells. In my Dad's childhood home, their radio used a wet-cell battery, which periodically had to be taken to town for recharging.

In our Building section, you can read an article about powering battery radios like this one. The article includes instructions for building a "battery eliminator" that lets you operate a battery set from AC house current.

I got this set at the same sale where I rescued a forlorn little Majestic 5LA5 bakelite set. But there the family resemblance ends. While the Majestic showed evidence of years in the garage, this radio is almost like new, except for the usual finger grime on the front and one little water mark on the top.

Who knows, perhaps this more handsome Admiral was the family's favored living-room set, well cared-for but seldom used, while the humbler little Majestic was a kitchen radio, played for hours every day but taken for granted. In any case, these two radios, bought within five years of each other, and owned by the same family for about 50 years, could hardly be more different in condition. The Admiral obviously spent its life indoors, and it shows little evidence of use. The Majestic made at least one trip to the repair shop, judging by the number of replacement components inside, and it spent the last few years in a humid basement or garage.

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