Telefunken "Gavotte" Model 9 Radio (1958)


I like everything about this handsome German tabletop. From the moment I brought it home, I knew it was destined to become one of my favorites.

The front of this sleek set is vaguely robot-like, with the speaker grille forming a high "forehead", the knobs serving as eyes, and the bank of lower switches resembling a giant, toothy mouth. With three speakers and four tone switches, the sound of this set is truly awesome. In addition to the center speaker, there are two smaller electrostatic speakers mounted behind small ivory grillpieces on each side of the cabinet.

This radio has two separate tuners controlled by the inner and outer knobs on the right. The knob at the left controls the power and volume.

Nine pushbuttons at the bottom select the tone, optional auxiliary input, and tuning bands. The four outermost switches are tone switches.

Four of the five center switches select tuning bands—LW (lange welle), MW (mittel welle), KW (kurz welle), and UKW (ultra kurz welle). The MW band corresponds to US AM, and UKW to FM (although it ends at about 100 on the US FM band). The leftmost switch of the central group, labeled Pickup, selects an external input if you have connected a phonograph or tape recorder.

As you can see from the rear view, this radio offers various external connectors, for tape recorder and phono inputs, external speaker, and antenna. The backplate also has a printed tube diagram, plus a little paper sleeve inside to hold the technical data.

Inside are five tubes (ECC 85, ECH 81, EF 89, EABC 80, EL 84) plus an EM 80 tube to serve as the green "magic tuning eye." Just for fun, I took a dial photo in a darkened room, using only the radio's own light. Although the photo doesn't truly capture the beauty of this radio in operation, it does let you see the tuning eye's green glow to the left of the dial.

This set has been well cared for. Apart from cleaning it up, all I had to do was tighten the setscrew on one tuning knob and lubricate the tuning mechanisms. The more I look at this radio's construction, the more admiration I have for the designers. There's even a separate access plate on the radio's bottom, which lets you clean things like the tuners and bandswitches without pulling out the entire chassis.

Telefunken favored musical names for its radios—Jubilate, Concertino, Largo, Sonata, Allegro, and so on. Most Telefunken tabletops of this type are worth something in the range $50-$100.

A few years after I originally wrote this web page, I received the following additional information from Stefan Rossbach, a German collector:

Your Gavotte 9 is a typical German lower-middle-class radio
of the late 1950s. Its price was 279 DM. It was sold during the
season of 1958-1959. By the way, in Telefunken model numbers of 
the 1950s, the 9 meant "Season 1958-1959". After 1959, the models
got a four-letter number. For example, the Gavotte following your 
model was the "Gavotte 1063." The 1 stands for table-top
monophonic set with tubes, the 0 for season 1959-1960, the
6 indicates the number of tubes and the 3 indicates number of 
speakers. This system was used until 1969.

Thanks for the information, Stefan.

This Telefunken was my first European radio. Since then, I have found several others, including a Blaupunkt Derby, a Nordmende Transita de Luxe, a Schaub-Lorenz Golf-Luxus, a Danish Arako SU 118, a Soviet Rekord-53, and Philips models B5-X-34-A, BD273U, and LX444AB/01.

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