Arvin Model 852P Tube Portable (1955)

Have you ever seen a plaid radio? When I spotted this jolly number on a trip to Tucson, I just had to have it!

The cabinet is fabric-covered wood with a hinged back. A dark red accent strip separates the front and back, and the flexible handle is covered in matching plaid material.

The on/volume knob sits in a little recess on the side. Flanked by diagonal louvers, the center-mounted dial features a reduction gear for precision tuning. The futuristic front panel is a single piece of thick plastic, painted gold on the back surface.

Inside are four tubes: 1R5, 1U5, 1T4, and 3V4. The internal construction is very sturdy, with a loop antenna and a chassis completely enclosed in metal.

This set shows very little wear. Inside the case was a complete set of recent batteries: two 45-volt "B" batteries and five 1.5-volt "A" cells. A line cord stows inside the bottom of the case, allowing you to run it from house current. An interesting feature is the "change over switch." To switch from line power to batteries, you stick the plug end of the cord into a plug in the bottom of the chassis.

Unlike some battery-powered sets, this one shows no evidence of battery leakage or corrosion. This might be the sign of a careful owner. Or, perhaps it simply spent a lot of time in the closet after its owner discovered how fast it could eat up batteries! In any case, it still makes excellent music. And its sporty appearance has moved it to center stage on my portable shelf.

©1995-2017 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved