Crosley Model F5-TWE "Musical Chef" Radio (1954)


The quintessential kitchen radio, this bakelite set is painted a brilliant white and it features a wind-up timer. The timer knob is on the left and the tuner and power/volume controls are on the right. During a summertime visit to Minnesota, I found it playing merrily away at a garage sale. When I saw the price tag of $5, I scooped it up without a moment's hesitation.

This radio is in excellent shape. Apart from a tiny paint scratch on the top, it looks like it just came out of the box. Even the gold lettering on the knobs, often the first thing to wear away, still looks like new.

Inside is a conventional "All American Five" radio with 12BE6, 12BD6, 12AT6, 50C5, and 35W4 tubes. The construction is remarkably sturdy and the chassis is mounted vertically. Instead of facing upward, as in most tabletop radios, the tubes face the back of the set, quite convenient for repairs, come to think of it.

Someone told me that the Musical Chefs were given as premiums for buying a refrigerator. If anybody can confirm that theory, please send me some email.

Several years after I created this web page, a fellow collector sent me a still photo from the 1954 science fiction movie Killers From Space, which stars Peter Graves. At first glance, that looks like a Musical Chef on a workbench among the paint cans:

On closer examination, however, you'll see that that radio lacks the Musical Chef name below the Crosley medallion. Crosley used the same cabinet (minus the timer and Musical Chef name) for a couple of other models that are nearly identical. The one in the movie is probably a Model F-5RD, known as "The Graduate."

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